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Old 31-08-2017, 10:25   #1
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Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

We just had an unpleasant surprise. I work abroad on boats for a living, and when I'm away working I keep my boat in New Bern, NC. Cheap marinas and fairly protected. Just got a notice from the State of NC, they decided my boat is worth 100k (laughable, it's a beat up cruiser we bought for a quarter of that), and i need to pay 5% property tax on that value immediately plus late fees, and the same amount every year. Burden of proof is on me to show the boat is worth less than they arbitrarily decided, and the tax adds up to more than our slip fee by a good margin. Apparently the marinas here send the tax office everyone's information? So now I pay 5k/year on a boat worth maybe 25k? Anyone else have experience with this?
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:42   #2
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Quite frankly I'm sorry for you.

By the way where are those who recently criticized here the boat's taxes in France ? Deafening silence ?
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:50   #3
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

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Originally Posted by jcb47769 View Post
We just had an unpleasant surprise. I work abroad on boats for a living, and when I'm away working I keep my boat in New Bern, NC. Cheap marinas and fairly protected. Just got a notice from the State of NC, they decided my boat is worth 100k (laughable, it's a beat up cruiser we bought for a quarter of that), and i need to pay 5% property tax on that value immediately plus late fees, and the same amount every year. Burden of proof is on me to show the boat is worth less than they arbitrarily decided, and the tax adds up to more than our slip fee by a good margin. Apparently the marinas here send the tax office everyone's information? So now I pay 5k/year on a boat worth maybe 25k? Anyone else have experience with this?
Thousands of people keep their boats in NC and are happy with that arrangement so I think your warning is a bit much.

Almost every state taxes boats either with a one time sales tax or with an annual personal property tax. NC is no different and they are not singling you out. Also, it's more likely that the state sent representatives to the marina to see what boats are there permanently or long term than the marina sending them information.

Before you get too excited, check with the NC laws. Usually the law is something like if a boat is kept in the state for more than "X" number of days per year, it is subject to taxation. This number is usually 60, 90 or 180 days per year.

Personal property tax is usually the percentage of the appraised value multiplied by a "millage rate" so a 5% personal property tax rate on a $100K boat is not $5K but $5K multiplied by the millage rate which is usually a negative number. If the millage rate is .200, your actual tax would be $1K, not $5K.

In many states, the tax rate is lower if the boat qualifies as a second home. In my state, the tax rate on boats is 10.5% but it is lowered to 6% on a second home. That requires sleeping quarters (not a sleeping bag), cooking facilities and a head.

As to the value of your boat, if you paid $25K for the boat, that should be proof of the value. If not, have it appraised.

In my case in SC with previous boats, cars, trucks, etc. I have found the tax assessor's office to be very helpful and not at all interested in squeezing the last dime out of my pocket. I suggest calling or visiting them and asking them how to minimize your obligation. Be nice. They don't get to keep the money or even a commission. They are there to help. You may even find that you don't owe any taxes because your boat hasn't been kept in NC long enough.

I once got a bill from another county in SC claiming I owed taxes there. I called and told them it was the wrong boat and that was the end of it. They were polite about it and apologized.

BTW: Your tax bill will go down as the boat depreciates unless the millage rate goes up. And they are not arbitrarily assigning your boat a value, they use books and recent sale prices.
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:54   #4
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

I recently had the same experience in ventura county, california.

They assessed my boat for 50 % more than what it was assessed for 10 years ago.

This is for a 40 year old boat kept on the hard for last 12 years and not used.

Needs new everything , new engine, wet deck core.

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Old 31-08-2017, 11:05   #5
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Was one of the primary considerations when bought my boat. I avoid state's with a "property tax". Why I sold my house and land. I documented in Florida and paid the one time sales tax. When stop for summer to work I do not stop in a state that uses property tax to gain a yearly profit. To each his own if have to be in a particular spot then pay pay pay.
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Old 31-08-2017, 11:12   #6
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Y'all only have one problem. You didn't do your homework.

NC is well known for having a personal property tax, several states do that. You should have learned the rules before you moved your boat into NC.

As to the value of your boat, that's not unique to NC. The tax and vehicle registration folks everywhere will look for a sales receipt to establish value. If there's no sales receipt involved in their matters, they'll use the BUC book or NADA book value of the vessel, without attempting any adjustment.

There is ALWAYS a procedure for formal appeal and correction of valuation. In every state.

The burden of proof is indeed on you. That's also the accepted standard and rule in every tax court in every state, including your own California. The tax courts (all of them) are quite infamous for being able to say "you are guilty until proven innocent" and operating contrary to the normal terms of all other courts in the US.

If you're going to globetrot...y'all gotta do your homework.

And if you hop on a bus in Sophia, Bulgaria? You may be arrested by the Militia. You can't buy your fare on the bus, you're required to stamp the fare card you bought BEFORE you boarded. You won't see that one posted, either.

The world is quirky that way.
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Old 31-08-2017, 11:35   #7
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

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.......... I do not stop in a state that uses property tax to gain a yearly profit. .........
It's not really a "profit". Tax proceeds go to pay for things like fire and police protection, roads, etc.
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Old 31-08-2017, 13:49   #8
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

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It's not really a "profit". Tax proceeds go to pay for things like fire and police protection, roads, etc.
Exactly.
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Old 31-08-2017, 14:38   #9
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

I appreciate that we should have "done our homework", although even now I'm having trouble finding this law spelled out clearly. We paid our taxes in .CA on the same boat, and it was around $200/year in San Diego. If someone else is out there doing homework, here's what happened to us. Hope others can learn from our mistakes.
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Old 31-08-2017, 14:47   #10
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

i found telephone calls with email followups inclusive of receipts and pix was most helpful.
keep copies of everything.
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Old 31-08-2017, 15:04   #11
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

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Originally Posted by jcb47769 View Post
I appreciate that we should have "done our homework", although even now I'm having trouble finding this law spelled out clearly. We paid our taxes in .CA on the same boat, and it was around $200/year in San Diego. If someone else is out there doing homework, here's what happened to us. Hope others can learn from our mistakes.
Are they trying to tax you a one time assessment or for the yearly tax? If you paid tax elsewhere show them that. Most states accept boats without re taxing for the sale.
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Old 31-08-2017, 15:07   #12
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb47769 View Post
I appreciate that we should have "done our homework", although even now I'm having trouble finding this law spelled out clearly. We paid our taxes in .CA on the same boat, and it was around $200/year in San Diego. If someone else is out there doing homework, here's what happened to us. Hope others can learn from our mistakes.
Have you been in touch with the tax assessor like I suggested? If not, do so. Be nice and they will answer all your questions.
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Old 31-08-2017, 15:13   #13
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb47769 View Post
We just had an unpleasant surprise. I work abroad on boats for a living, and when I'm away working I keep my boat in New Bern, NC. Cheap marinas and fairly protected. Just got a notice from the State of NC, they decided my boat is worth 100k (laughable, it's a beat up cruiser we bought for a quarter of that), and i need to pay 5% property tax on that value immediately plus late fees, and the same amount every year. Burden of proof is on me to show the boat is worth less than they arbitrarily decided, and the tax adds up to more than our slip fee by a good margin. Apparently the marinas here send the tax office everyone's information? So now I pay 5k/year on a boat worth maybe 25k? Anyone else have experience with this?
What you need to do is immediately file whatever they call their request for amendment form. Include a copy of the bill of sale, so you can show the value, at the time of purchase; ask them to consider the depreciation since that time; and request a new valuation. Or provide one through the use of a surveyor.

States vary considerably in how and even, if, they tax boats.



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Old 31-08-2017, 15:16   #14
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

Call the town of New Bern's tax office, and speak with them. They will tell you what you need to do to get the value lowered. Don't assume, just give them a call!

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Old 31-08-2017, 15:28   #15
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Re: Do NOT keep your boat in North Carolina

5% annual personal property tax on a boat is confiscatory. You are paying the marina's property tax, don't have any kids living on the boat, or any of the other things people should be taxed to support. Hope the politicians appreciate you for paying for their junkets and catered food.

If you go to the Assessor and file a valid appeal with proof of value, you should be able to get the assessment lowered. Did that when I got a high assessment on my boat in Alameda. Sent them a copy of Sales Tax value from when I bought the boat and a description of why I paid what I did for the boat. They lowered the assessed value to what I paid for it and didn't change it for the 4 years the boat was there.
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