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Old 21-06-2021, 11:09   #1
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Sales Tax in Florida

I couldn't find any info by using the CF Search bar so I'll have to ask.

Scott at Brendan's Isle told me that I'd have to pay a 6% sales tax on my federally documented boat when I register it in Florida. He also said that I'd have to have the registration in hand before booking a flight to Florida to get a drivers license.

I called the County Tax Collector (they don't use a DMV in FL). The woman that spoke to told me that I'd only have to pay the sales tax if I had owned the boat for 6 months or less. Since I've owned the boat for 26 years, they wouldn't require a sales receipt with proof of taxes, just a copy of the Federal Documentation.

Can anyone verify this?

I re-read the text regarding this on the Tax Collectors site and could see how it can be interpreted several ways.

The Tax woman also told me that I could do all of this in person in one session. She advised me to schedule an appointment for a "Combo" where they do the boat registration and drivers license in one sitting.

Another piece of info that I didn't know is that the Boat Hull number is appended to your name along with the St. Brendan Isle address. If you live in an RV it is either the RV license tag or VIN of the RV. This signifies that your residence is the vehicle that you are living in.

On their schedule of registration fees, there is a column for a reduced rate for vessels which have PLB and EPIRB's that are registered. The reduced rate is about $20 cheaper. You do need to bring your EPIRB registration paperwork with you to get the discount.

So I'm asking a question here about the sales tax but also trying to memorialize the process in case others are going down the same path.
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Old 21-06-2021, 13:29   #2
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

In Florida you pay your local tax office every year for a sticker ...the cost depends on the length of your boat ...even if...you are documented.
Boat and car tag and drivers license are all at the local tax office who are very nice and not nickpickers. Pays for the police and fire and even helps the manatees if you buy a manatee car plate. The local County Marine police are pretty low key. Never had an issue. The State guys are a bit more tense in south Florida but then look at the drunks, drugs and loonies they have to deal with ever day.
When I was alone on my boat at 3:00 am and was so ill, I could not get into my dinghy, the local county marine officer came with help and they got me to the hospital. He knew our boat and exactly where we were anchored.
I think its well...well, worth the money. Be professional and you will be treated ok. Its not a huge fee. It ends up local. Someday, you might need their help.
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Old 21-06-2021, 13:41   #3
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Here's a discussion which may or may not offer useful info for you...

Establishing Residency via St Brendans Isle
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...tc-208306.html

Fair winds,
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Old 21-06-2021, 13:47   #4
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

I agree that paying for Registration is reasonable given that it funds the services which support maritime safety.

To put a finer point on my question, I am asking whether they actually require documentation of a sales tax that would have been paid 26 years ago to another State.

or if they are willing to give me a pass given the length of time I've owned the boat, and given that records aren't normally kept for more than 7 years.

They readily admit that they don't require tax receipts for older cars, but depending on who you talk to, they do for documented boats. I've gotten both answers.

Scott at SBI told me that I'd need the tax receipt. When I called the Tax Collector in the morning they told me that due to the age, I didn't need anything other than my current documentation paper. The tax receipt's only applied for recent purchases.

I called back after not being able to schedule an appointment. I ran through the list of things needed and the afternoon agent told me that without a tax receipt I'd have to pay a tax based on present value.

This I find unreasonable.
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Old 21-06-2021, 14:03   #5
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

You will have to document the 26 year old purchase. They don’t simply accept your word for that. If you can’t, you will be required to pay the tax here.
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Old 22-06-2021, 05:38   #6
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCrab View Post
To put a finer point on my question, I am asking whether they actually require documentation of a sales tax that would have been paid 26 years ago to another State.
What they need is either proof that you already paid sales tax, or proof that you have owned and used the boat outside of Florida (but still in the US) for more than 6 months.

So, pumpout receipts, dockage receipts, fuel receipts, that sort of thing going back at least 6 months should be enough. I say "should be" only because not everyone in every county office knows everything about all of the laws. It is possible that you will run into someone who thinks that only a sales tax receipt is acceptable. In that case you may need to pursue the matter to a higher authority.

Good luck.
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Old 22-06-2021, 11:41   #7
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

We just did this in 2019. Bought the boat in Wisconsin and paid all sales taxes. Coast guard documented boat. Registered in FL and paid no taxes, however, you will need your bill of sale as well as proof you paid your sales taxes at purchase. Now, since you've owned the boat for that long, I think that you won't be required to pay taxes.
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Old 22-06-2021, 12:37   #8
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Lived in Florida never paid any tax on my coast guard registered vessel.
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Old 22-06-2021, 15:27   #9
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

I completed this process a couple of years ago. As mentioned earlier, as long as you have owned and used your boat outside Florida for 6 months or more, Florida will ask no questions about previous taxes paid. I had a registration from another state and that was all that was needed in my case. The woman who processed my registration was actually from the state and was training the local clerks in the proper process. She made it clear to me and to the clerks that whether I previously paid any taxes or not was not an issue in the registration process.
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Old 22-06-2021, 21:09   #10
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Your answers are encouraging.
It does seem unreasonable that they would ask for a sales tax receipt for a boat purchased in the 90's. The standard for keeping records is only 7 years.
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Old 23-06-2021, 15:59   #11
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

There are two types of this privilege taxation in Florida - Sales & Use.


When did you purchase the boat? If the purchase was more than 6 months before it enters Florida then the boat is exempt from sales / use taxation.

When is Tax Due?
Unless exempt, a boat must be licensed, titled, or registered in Florida with any county tax collector, licensed private tag agency, or the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:
Within 30 days of the purchase date or the date the boat entered Florida; or
Within 90 days after the boat enters Florida, when the boat is documented, licensed, titled, or registered in another state.
Florida use tax, plus any applicable discretionary sales surtax, due on a boat purchased in Florida or brought into Florida within six (6) months of the date of purchase, is paid at the time of licensing, titling, or registering the boat in Florida

Reference:

https://floridarevenue.com/Forms_lib...0or%20delivery.

Where did you purchase the boat?

Did you pay sales tax in the State of purchase?

Have you paid use taxation, in lieu of sale tax in another State?

Florida will credit you for sale or use tax that has been paid in another State.
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Old 23-06-2021, 18:19   #12
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
There are two types of this privilege taxation in Florida - Sales & Use.


When did you purchase the boat? If the purchase was more than 6 months before it enters Florida then the boat is exempt from sales / use taxation.

Where did you purchase the boat?

Did you pay sales tax in the State of purchase?

Have you paid use taxation, in lieu of sale tax in another State?

Florida will credit you for sale or use tax that has been paid in another State.
I bought the boat in Florida in 1995. I documented it and shipped it to Chicago. The boat was in Illinois for a few years, then Indiana and Michigan.

I have copies of old letters that describe the Illinois registration but no official paperwork or stickers. So I believe that 26 years ago, we did register the boat with Illinois for the time we based it out of Chicago.

Since I don't have any documentation beyond the Bill of Sale and COD, I can't prove that I paid sales tax to Illinois at this point.

When I spoke to Florida's County Tax Collector one woman told me basically what you wrote here; that they wouldn't pursue the sales tax on a boat that one person owned for so long. On the second call a different woman insisted that if I couldn't prove that I paid tax to another State, they would charge me a sales tax based on the current value no matter the time period that has passed.

Since I got two different answers, I thought I'd ask the CF community what's what.

I've dealt with bureaucrats that are fair minded and helpful and I've dealt with ones who enjoy the feeling of power and seeing people suffer. I was wondering if it would come down to which person was working the window, or if there was something definitive in writing that I could bring with me to avoid paying another tax, just because I can't find a receipt from 26 years ago.
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Old 24-06-2021, 07:11   #13
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Interesting thread....

I bought a boat in NY a few weeks ago and plan to have it shipped to FL in July. The boat is CG Registered (which I applied to transfer) and has a valid 2021 NY sticker on it. I was actually wondering if there is a way to avoid the sales tax in this situation??
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Old 24-06-2021, 08:13   #14
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Does any of this apply if you are just passing through Florida on the way to Bahamas? My boat is Documented, and thus does not require State registration in Arkansas.
Heading out this November!
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Old 24-06-2021, 08:42   #15
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Re: Sales Tax in Florida

Lot of semi accurate info on this thread. The best was the one that quoted the statute. I would suggest you take a copy of that quote with you. There are three exceptions to the sales collection in Florida.



1. Remove the boat from Florida within 60 or 90 days from purchase date (don;t remember which - think 90 but not sure). They put a nasty sticker with your deadline date on both sides of the boat and if they "catch" you there after that date they will assess sales tax. (Probably then have to keep out, and use, for 6 months before bringing it back into Florida.


2.
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