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Old 29-11-2021, 09:02   #1
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Florida

As a British passport holder, if I go to buy a 40ft boat in Florida, what taxes MUST I pay and what taxes/costs can I avoid? Is there a way to register in Delaware and pay no tax?

I plan to stay in FLorida area for 6 months - 1 year.
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Old 29-11-2021, 18:44   #2
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Re: Florida

Florida allows an out of state boat buyer to keep the boat in state waters for 90 days without paying sales tax. An additional 90 days can be purchased, not sure the cost.

That said, especially since you are not a US citizen or Florida resident, it would be frowned upon to freeload.
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Old 29-11-2021, 19:01   #3
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Re: Florida

About 7-8 percent sales tax. Plus another $150 or so to register the boat in Florida.



If you don't pay, your title is not legally registered, so your ownership of the boat is in question. Not having a title also means you can't make claims on your insurance.


And yes, you will need insurance, too. Many marinas will not allow you to dock without a policy. And the days of anchoring out everywhere in Florida are long gone.



Registering the boat in Delaware to avoid the sales tax is a tactic most states figured out how to thwart a long time ago.The old tricks of dodging government rules don't work well in the computer age.



That said, Florida is a great place to sail, although, with 40,000-some boats, it can get a bit crowded and expensive when you hang around the large cities.
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Old 29-11-2021, 19:02   #4
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Re: Florida

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Originally Posted by cooper1991 View Post
As a British passport holder, if I go to buy a 40ft boat in Florida, what taxes MUST I pay and what taxes/costs can I avoid? Is there a way to register in Delaware and pay no tax?

I plan to stay in FLorida area for 6 months - 1 year.
Beyond 90 days you pay sales tax, 6%, then you are home free.
A 40ft boat can be had for between $10,000 to $1 million.
If you can't afford the tax, get a smaller boat.
Them are the rules..
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Old 29-11-2021, 19:11   #5
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Re: Florida

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Originally Posted by Shanachie View Post
About 7-8 percent sales tax. Plus another $150 or so to register the boat in Florida.



If you don't pay, your title is not legally registered, so your ownership of the boat is in question. Not having a title also means you can't make claims on your insurance.


And yes, you will need insurance, too. Many marinas will not allow you to dock without a policy. And the days of anchoring out everywhere in Florida are long gone.



Registering the boat in Delaware to avoid the sales tax is a tactic most states figured out how to thwart a long time ago.The old tricks of dodging government rules don't work well in the computer age.



That said, Florida is a great place to sail, although, with 40,000-some boats, it can get a bit crowded and expensive when you hang around the large cities.

You keep the boat in Florida, you pay sales tax in Florida, and a annual registration fee. Remember the coast guard and state troopers are pretty active down here and looking for those registration stickers.



https://www.flhsmv.gov/motor-vehicle...registrations/


The law is pretty clear, if you as a foreign citizen choose to break it with a expensive toy in foreign waters that is your choice to make!
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Old 29-11-2021, 19:30   #6
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Re: Florida

Another issue you may not be aware of is that Florida waters are shallow, shallow, shallow.


People in Europe and the Northeast often like those high-pointing boats with huge keels and tall rigs. But many of the most interesting places to sail in Florida have depths of six to 10 feet.


The general rule is no more than five feet of depth on the keel. And no more than 61 feet or so on the mast. Most Intracoastal bridges are 65 feet, and some are 55 feet.


A deep-keel boat will limit you to major ports in many areas. So be aware before you buy.


You'll have a lot of fun if you go through with it and buy the right boat. Avoid fixer-uppers. A well-kept boat is usually less expensive than one you have to refit. Walk away from "deals."
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Old 29-11-2021, 20:12   #7
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Re: Florida

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You'll have a lot of fun if you go through with it and buy the right boat. Avoid fixer-uppers. A well-kept boat is usually less expensive than one you have to refit. Walk away from "deals."
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Old 29-11-2021, 20:30   #8
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Re: Florida

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Beyond 90 days you pay sales tax, 6%, then you are home free.
A 40ft boat can be had for between $10,000 to $1 million.
If you can't afford the tax, get a smaller boat.
Them are the rules..
I believe the tax is capped at $18k in FL.
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Old 29-11-2021, 23:57   #9
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Re: Florida

Sounds like I'm better going elsewhere as most countries don't charge sales tax on used boats where tax was paid as new. 7-8% is a significant cost. As you say, Florida may be very nice. Insurance to get into marinas is almost a global thing now.
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Old 30-11-2021, 00:00   #10
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Re: Florida

So if I buy the boat and sail to say Bahamas immediately, I can avoid tax?
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Old 30-11-2021, 00:11   #11
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Re: Florida

Sounds good. I've got 3 months to fix up and push off. So if I sail to Texas or Carolinas I'm clear of taxes?
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Old 30-11-2021, 04:54   #12
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Re: Florida

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I believe the tax is capped at $18k in FL.
Yup:

Maximum Tax
The maximum tax on the sale of a boat or vessel is $18,000.

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...t/gt800005.pdf
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Old 30-11-2021, 08:05   #13
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Re: Florida

Yup sales tax is only collected on the first $300K which is a gift to the uber rich. But sales tax is only collected the one time and after that it's just annual registration which is affordable. You can cruise to another state but you have to register the boat somewhere beforehand. Some states will try to collect sales tax which is also called use tax if you stay there too long and/or it wasn't collected in another state beforehand. You could try foreign registration but then you need a cruising permit to be in the US. Also you would have to leave after a time but you can come back.
FWIW Federal registration is called documentation but it's for citizens only.
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Old 30-11-2021, 08:17   #14
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Re: Florida

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So if I buy the boat and sail to say Bahamas immediately, I can avoid tax?
You can avoid Florida's taxes. You will very likely have to pay taxes to The Bahamas.
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Sounds good. I've got 3 months to fix up and push off. So if I sail to Texas or Carolinas I'm clear of taxes?
No, again, you're clear of Florida taxes. You will very likely have to pay taxes to Texas or South Carolina.

In this day and age, completely avoiding any taxes is not really easy. If you want to keep the boat in Florida, and use it there, then you are probably best off just paying the tax and enjoying the use of the boat. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that much money.
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Old 30-11-2021, 08:21   #15
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Re: Florida

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Sounds good. I've got 3 months to fix up and push off. So if I sail to Texas or Carolinas I'm clear of taxes?

sure but how long can you keep moving like that? as soon as you get to TX or SC .. they will want you to register the boat there and pay taxes. eventually you need to figure on getting a registration sticker on the boat if in the US .. just like everybody else did. by the way .. excise tax on boats is fairly reasonable in SC. but then again you did not purchase the boat in SC. good luck.
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