A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Unfair tax

A circuitous route home from last weeks antique and classic boat show at Tavares/Mt.Dora, Fla., finds the April print edition of Soundings Trade Only in my mail box. (The front page story carried the headline The state tax some call ‘extortion’)

While at Mt. Dora this year a friend and I were swapping old tales, one of which was about a boat on which he crewed that had been restored by Camper & Nicholson’s in England. The boat was shipped to its New York owner via Miami. The owner wanted to show it off at an earlier Mt. Dora show for three days before the boat then went directly home to Clayton, N.Y.

The Florida Department of Revenue said if the boat stops in Florida we will tax it. The owner called me, here, in Tallahassee and asked me to intervene. I wrote a couple of letters and visited the Revenue Director, explaining that if Florida taxed this boat the state would deprive a lot of interested Floridians from seeing this most unusual craft and cited some law on nexus, etc.

Ultimately Florida waived the tax, but the fact that the state, which was not the boat’s home and never would be, wanted to tax the boat in the first place shows just how aggressive states can be in taxing transient boats.

Wilson Wright
Executive Director
Chris Craft Antique Boat Club


5 comments on “Unfair tax

  1. Randy Wattenbarger

    Just curious where the concept of “no taxation without representation” got thrown out with the bilge water??

  2. John Todd

    Florida is actually pretty lenient about transient boats both US and foreign flagged, entering its waters. A US Flagged vessel can remain in Florida for 90 days before a Use Tax may be assessed. A foreign flagged vessel, entering through US Customs on a Cruising Permit is not subject to Sales or Use Tax as long as the Cruising Permit is in force. It should also be noted that one of the caveats of the Cruising Permit is that the vessel is not going to be offered for sale.

    Both of the above assume the critical fact that the actual owner of the vessel is not a Florida Resident in which case there may be other ramifications.

    This is my interpretation of the Florida Sales and Use Tax Statute. For further clarification please contact your favorite Admiralty Attorney.

  3. dreamline

    And what did they do for the tax….?
    What bothers me is that a boat with a galley & head is considered a second home by the Feds. People who buy beachhouses or mountain cabins as 2nd homes don’t pay “use” or “sales” tax – so why should a boater who chooses a second home that just happens to float?

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