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atavist 02-03-2007 05:00 AM

I was just down at the county clerks office paying the taxes on my truck for this year. There was a guy at the counter beside me paying the taxes on his boat.

This is something I seriously never even contimplated... how much are annual taxes on boats? Or a better question is, can a person title their boat in a different country? What countries don't tax boats?

I honestly see no good reason to pay an annual tax on a boat that I pay cash for, live on, and which spends the majority of its time in foreign waters. Cars and trucks I can see... it's in the country, it's on the roads, etc... but a boat???

Gallivanters 02-03-2007 06:33 AM


Death & Taxes

Where are you located?

In the US Territory of Guam boat registration renewal cost us $15 per year.

In the US Territory of the Virgin Islands we pay $150 per year.

But this is a MUCH nicer cruising ground and worth every cent.

There were no other taxes levied upon us.



PS - we are also Federally Documented but that doesn't (generally) excuse one from having to register locally.

JeanneP 02-03-2007 07:38 AM

Our sailboat was federally documented with our home port being Boston, MA. However, we were outside the US for all but one year that we owned the boat, and never paid any state tax for it. Renewal of federal documentation is free.

Most states have a personal property tax on boats (I'm not sure what it's called in the various states, and not all states impose such a tax). If you lived in a house in the US you would have to pay property taxes. No property tax for a boat, but do you think that you shouldn't pay some sort of tax for your abode if you lived in the US somewhere on a boat? If you live outside the US on your boat, the only state that I know of that still charges a tax for the boat is California.

Can you title the boat in a different country? Yes, I believe you can. We know Americans who have their boat titled in Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, or American Samoa. And as Kirk said, Guam and the USVI. So, you do have options.

atavist 02-03-2007 07:47 AM

Thanks for the replies... the question now is. How do you prove when you are outside the US so that you don't accrue back taxes?

Oh and I can definetly see taxing boats that are purely inland but not ones that are at sea.

captjohn360 02-03-2007 08:15 AM

us customs

JeanneP 02-03-2007 01:01 PM

If you are out of the country, your passport will show your entries and exits from countries. A very accurate record of your comings and goings.

I think this is more an academic question on your part. The first thing you should do is find out just how much the tax for a boat would be. Secondly, if the boat is out of the country, or even out of the state, for that matter, you probably won't have to pay the tax. The tax men don't always find the boats. I wrote a tax assessment program for a town in Massachusetts, and they weren't interested in collecting taxes on the boats owned by their residents. I think that is relatively common in many states.

Spike_dawg 02-03-2007 04:03 PM

Here's a nice California trick....If your boat is in California on Jan 1 you pay tax on it for the entire year...doesn't matter if you move the boat to Mexico or Hawai'i on Jan 2. I was a transient boat in San Diego and got hit with $1500 tax bill. This I paid. California then tried to hit me up for sales tax...I had bought my boat 2 years earlier, not in the state of California, and I am not a resident of California. They claimed I bought it for use inside California so they were entitled to the sales tax. In the two years since the boat purchase I had spent 2 months in California, and at the time of this incident (and the tax bill) I was back in Hawai'i.

I was hoping they would file a lien or something against my boat so I could sue them, but they just killed it after I told them to ---- off.

It's a bunch of nazi's running the tax department. JMO

atavist 02-04-2007 06:09 AM

Great info guys I appreciate it... especially the California piece... that is definitely important to know.

rwthomas1 02-05-2007 10:22 AM

No property or sales tax on boats here in Rhode Island, USA. They get you on registration even if Federally documented. $250 for a two year registration on a 38footer but I think you only need that if you are here for 90days or more. Its been that way for a long while I think in an effort to promote marine industry, and rightfully so. That and every state politician has a large yacht..... RT

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