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Old 11-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #1
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The downside of sailing in company with 25 other yachts is you start comparing living space and cruising comfort. Don't get us wrong, we love our 33' Alajuela cutter but we're starting to find it a bit small for longer term cruising. With almost two circumnavigations under her belt and our recent cruising in Vanuatu, New Cal and more recently the Louisiades, Mico has proven her passage making agility time and time again - but showering in a bucket is starting to get a little tiring and the V berth is taking its toll on our ageing limbs

So imagine our delight upon our return to find the Aussie dollar just topping the US and yes - you know what's coming...we've been surfing the US yacht brokerages and seriously doing the sums about flying across and sailing something back. We're narrowing the field down but its looking like a cutter/ketch around the 40 - 45' range although we are rather taken by the Hans Christian 38 which seems to pack a lot in for its size.

So, while we are quizzing Australian customs about import duties and just what we can offset in relation to expenses incurred in both preparing and bringing a vessel back, can anyone tell us if there are any hidden traps to avoid at the US end? I'm sure there must be a few as we've learnt over the years that life is never simple.

Fair winds,

Mico
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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Hidden traps...well...

Administratively/tax-wise and so forth it is straight forward: You buy a boat in a particular state and you pay that state's sales tax. If you are from the USA, your "home state" that you register the boat in may levy an additional tax if the rate you paid for the boat wasn't as high as your home state rate. Straightforward. If you are a US citizen and try to avoid paying state sales tax, it is usually not worth the effort. Property and use taxes are another matter which you won't be subject to unless you keep the boat in a particular US state over what period of time that particular state says is the toggle for paying such taxes. Assume you'll register/flag your vessel with your home county and pay the appropriate fees there rather than here. A good and honest broker should be able to assist you in this sales, property, and use tax information for the state the boat is located in.

I dunno if it is this way overseas, but it is very hard to find the real scoop on a boat from a broker here and I'll go as far to say that some owners are not honest with the brokers and some brokers are less than ethical. You're much better off finding a boat through a personal contact/yacht club member et al OR getting one very cheap so you know you've got enough cushion for the unknowns of the particular boat.

If it is a production boat you're after, life will be easier since the owners' groups may be familiar with the particular vessel you're looking into the purchase of.

Hire a good surveyor and just assume the cost of the survey(s) for the boats you're interested in will be money well spent.

I'd suggest you look in Hawaii since it is still a place that many people take off sailing to (easy to get to downwind from the US) and then decide they don't want to keep the boat and make the trip back. Same goes for Mexico/Sea of Cortez, La Paz, and all places "downwind." I've heard the same of New Zealand but I don't know if it is true there as well.

Boats are a good deal in the USA right now. We'll look forward to hearing about what you plan and which boats you're particularly interested in.

Fair winds,
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:26 AM   #3
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With regard to sales tax, for both boats we bought in the US we did not pay sales tax to the state in which we purchased the boat. I believe, for MV Watermelon purchased in Maryland, that the exemption stated that the boat had to be removed from the state in 30 days, but I'm not sure. It is my understanding that a boat that will be flagged outside the US will not have sales tax levied on it, but you would have to provide the correct info. at the time of the sale. You do need to verify the information with the broker and possibly a lawyer or the tax department of the state before you close on the boat.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:11 AM   #4
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A lot of things have changed and tightened up in terms of sales and use tax. Typically the use tax can be avoided by leaving the state quickly enough but the sales tax usually must be paid to either the state you bought the boat in or your home state or both...or another state if that state is so lucky to learn that you have not paid sales tax on your boat yet but you've moved the boat there.

I know this strange fact because our home state doesn't require us to pay sales tax on the boat until we've moved the boat into the home state (which will be years from now since we're on the wrong coast for that). And, if we've paid sales tax in the state we purchased the boat, the home state just charges the percentage additional it would have been if in the home state--so for example if we pay 6% where we bought the boat but our home state sales tax is 8% then we'd have to pay the 2% difference once we show up in our home state (years later). As it so happens, we didn't pay sales tax where we purchased the boat since we weren't from that state and the seller was also from a different state--we decided we'd pay sales tax to our home state.

There are other "crafty" states that will ask you to prove that you've paid sales tax to another state if you happen to use your boat in their state--one of these "crafty" states is Washington which does this if you're there for 30 days. We learned this from a fellow who had to pay Washington sales tax on a boat he'd bought in Florida and his home state was Arizona. He advised us to send a check to our home state for the purchase price of our boat to avoid having to pay the "pass through" sales tax in Washington state. We contacted our home state and did so even though we won't be passing through our home state with the boat for years. We are much more likely to be in Washington state for more than 30 days before then!
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mico View Post

The downside of sailing in company with 25 other yachts is you start comparing living space and cruising comfort. Don't get us wrong, we love our 33' Alajuela cutter but we're starting to find it a bit small for longer term cruising. With almost two circumnavigations under her belt and our recent cruising in Vanuatu, New Cal and more recently the Louisiades, Mico has proven her passage making agility time and time again - but showering in a bucket is starting to get a little tiring and the V berth is taking its toll on our ageing limbs

So imagine our delight upon our return to find the Aussie dollar just topping the US and yes - you know what's coming...we've been surfing the US yacht brokerages and seriously doing the sums about flying across and sailing something back. We're narrowing the field down but its looking like a cutter/ketch around the 40 - 45' range although we are rather taken by the Hans Christian 38 which seems to pack a lot in for its size.

So, while we are quizzing Australian customs about import duties and just what we can offset in relation to expenses incurred in both preparing and bringing a vessel back, can anyone tell us if there are any hidden traps to avoid at the US end? I'm sure there must be a few as we've learnt over the years that life is never simple.

Fair winds,

Mico
Hi Mico,

I'd be keen to hear what you have found out about charges payable for yacht sailed back from the US. The offsets n'all

Lots of bargains seem to be available. Sure beats buying a house here in OZ.

Cheers,

Steve
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:56 AM   #6
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Hi Mico,

I'd be keen to hear what you have found out about charges payable for yacht sailed back from the US. The offsets n'all

Lots of bargains seem to be available. Sure beats buying a house here in OZ.

Cheers,

Steve
We are now informed that we can claim any expenses incurred in bringing a vessel back from the US to Oz against the import duty. Apparently that includes air fares and any additional costs incurred in making the vessel seaworthy for the ocean passage. Being a bit of a sceptic I'm trying to get this in writing but you never know your luck in a big city as we say down here in Oz
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:22 PM   #7
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We are now informed that we can claim any expenses incurred in bringing a vessel back from the US to Oz against the import duty. Apparently that includes air fares and any additional costs incurred in making the vessel seaworthy for the ocean passage. Being a bit of a sceptic I'm trying to get this in writing but you never know your luck in a big city as we say down here in Oz
I don't know who gave you that information but it is not correct (see Oz customs web site). Having done this ourselves I can attest to the following. If you sail it back yourselves you have the choice of either getting a valuation done on arrival (at your cost) OR adding your purchase price (conversion to Oz dollars is based on date of departure from US, not the purchase date), then ADD airfares for crew, provisioning costs, Panama Canal fees if applicable etc. You then add 5% duty (if not a US manufactured boat) then the 10% GST is applied. Plus import brokerage costs if you decide the paperwork is too much of a hassle. If you have it shipped back the freight costs are added to the purchase costs. Btw, speaking for Maryland, if you get Oz registration (needed to leave the US for a foreign port, non-US citizens cannot own a US documented boat) then sales tax is not applicable on your purchase provided you leave the state within 30 days. Contact whichever state you are buying in, they are usually pretty open about their requirements and it is becoming more common for Oz buyers taking advantage of the Oz dollar being above the US dollar so you probably won't be the first.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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Also see the Australia page on the World Cruising Wiki - HERE
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mico View Post

The downside of sailing in company with 25 other yachts is you start comparing living space and cruising comfort. Don't get us wrong, we love our 33' Alajuela cutter but we're starting to find it a bit small for longer term cruising. With almost two circumnavigations under her belt and our recent cruising in Vanuatu, New Cal and more recently the Louisiades, Mico has proven her passage making agility time and time again - but showering in a bucket is starting to get a little tiring and the V berth is taking its toll on our ageing limbs

So imagine our delight upon our return to find the Aussie dollar just topping the US and yes - you know what's coming...we've been surfing the US yacht brokerages and seriously doing the sums about flying across and sailing something back. We're narrowing the field down but its looking like a cutter/ketch around the 40 - 45' range although we are rather taken by the Hans Christian 38 which seems to pack a lot in for its size.

So, while we are quizzing Australian customs about import duties and just what we can offset in relation to expenses incurred in both preparing and bringing a vessel back, can anyone tell us if there are any hidden traps to avoid at the US end? I'm sure there must be a few as we've learnt over the years that life is never simple. Fair winds, Mico
Mico, crew & yacht. Silver Raven here. I'm 'just up the hill from you - 7 ks west of Kuranda if you wish to come up, have dinner, lunch or whatever & we'll have a talk about your requirements - which I intend to be doing also - this year.

As an ex-pat Canuck with 'relies' - state-side I might be able to assist with some facts not 'hear-say'. Do be very careful & read every word that 'SV Kedada' has said. 2nd; I'm looking at buying a yacht from the 'sales people' or 'auction houses' that deal in 'IRS' or other US government agencies which CAN be at a very reduced price. However - 'the buyer beware' & 'what you see is what you get'. Am sure after a whole life-time working in the Yachting Industry I can pick-up a good buy but even I will have to be very cautious. Like you I will want to sail back to Australia but for the life of me I can't see why I'd pay all the 'gvnmnt' charges to register the yacht in Australia instead of Phuket, Thailand or (anywhere up there that is safe) & just sail down to Australia from time to time for a year or so at a time. At least for me I see that as 'the-way-to-go' - - to sail - cruise - travel & enjoy my yachting without the 'gvnmnt' taking my hard earned money out of my pocket just to feed some petty official. We sure do wish you - good luck & Gawd speed.

Ciao, james - the 'geri-hat-trick' Watch out for all 'crocodiles' in you soup with this project. I'll sure be watching mine!!
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:08 AM   #10
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Just a short note. Make sure you get the AMSA Bill of sale. I purchased a foreign registered boat in Oz a few years ago. On the brokers Bill Of Sale. Had hell on wheels tracking down the vendor to get the AMSA form signed. Basically, no form -- no rego.
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