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Trouble in Paradise

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Loren Schweizer, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    This just in off The Coconut Telegraph in Fort Lauderdale: the Feds are confiscating Ship's Papers off various large yachts--foreign-built, likely, not foreign-flagged--for a non-payment of duty issue.
    Our local customs guy has allegedly said that there is some new wrinkle involved.
    In any case, yachts at Bahia Mar marina have been affected, and the rumor is that the authorities are starting to canvass the local yards.

    Oh oh.

    To the uninitiated, this means they (the Yachts) are going nowhere soon.
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Swimming in a school of seals to film great whites feeding. Sounds like fun.:eek: Was that film posted by the videographer's heirs? :rolleyes:
    As to the OP, at least the boats are where they'll want to be for the winter.:rolleyes: Wonder if that will have an effect on those planning to come in November.
  4. Hattsoff

    Hattsoff New Member

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    Is this tax something the yacht manufacturer was supposed to pay before being brought to the states or is this something the owners of these yachts have been navigating around (pun intended) to avoid paying?

    I'm looking forward to this story as we get more detail.
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    custom duties is paid when a foreign built vessel is imported in the US to be sold. it's not paid by the foreign manufacturer but either by the importer (whether the imported is the dealer or the buyer)

    will be interesting to know the details behind that story. I dont' think you can document a foreign built vessel unless proof of proper importation is supplied...
  6. Pascal,
    I have been told, but I have not personally confirmed, that a US citizen living outside of the US can document a yacht with the US Coast Guard without bringing the yacht to the US or paying the import duty.
  7. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Is there any confirmation of why this is happening and which flag boats are so under the microscope?

    Maybe it's a special way of reducing the number of yachts at FLIBS?
  8. MYCaptainChris

    MYCaptainChris Senior Member

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    Is this a result of the new Florida (and very good) tax cap on yachts? I wonder?
  9. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Not much more in the way of new news, but rather a finer point of what the Feds/Customs is up to. *

    The issue is duty due on foreign-built vessels being offered for sale in the U.S.. Seems the disclaimer for brokerage vessels (for which the duty was not paid) "Not for sale to U.S. residents in U.S. waters" has all the boilerplate strength of wet cardboard.

    One can ostensibly bring a yacht into the U.S., pay the duty, and get a bond specifically for, say, the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show...the yacht is there for "display purposes only". After the show, the boat leaves U.S waters, and the duty paid is refunded (mostly) to the tune of 90 cents or so on the dollar. Duty is around 1% +.

    My sources tell me that Customs will be all over the Boat Show like a cheap suit.

    As The Mad Dog likes to say, "Tails are twitchin' ".


    *To the best of my understanding
  10. cabobo09

    cabobo09 New Member

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    Just one of the many changes coming to pay the bill in Washington. We'll find the Feds digging deeper into our daily lives scraping together whatever they can find.

    Time to cut the dock lines my friends......
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Didn't we go through this about 10 or so years ago? "Not for sale to U.S. residents in U.S. waters" has to be more than just words. Showing the boat in the U.S., cruising 3 miles off shore to sign the papers and then coming back in to deposit the check doesn't cut it. Sounds like nothing more than stepped up enforcement. Like my departed mother used to say "If you didn't make the money you wouldn't owe the tax." Put another way, buy an American built boat or pay the duty on an imported one or accept the consequences. Sounds like the only ones this will affect are those trying not to pay their fare share.
    Cabobo09, I'll be happy to help with those dock lines. Same with anyone else who wants me to pay their share.
  12. Mike448

    Mike448 Member

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    Just when the local marine industry semed to doing a great job marketing south Florida as a great yachting destination, it seems the Feds are making a great effort to scare us all away again. :mad: Maybe we should just stay in the Med for the winter, better than getting your yacht chained to the dock in Fort Lauderdale over a legislative "wrinkle" :rolleyes:
  13. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    I spoke with Steele Reeder (Howard S. Reeder, Inc.), a well respected customs broker, and he explained the problem is occurring because of fine print on the cruising permit. Rather than paraphrasing, I have asked Steele to give us his professional assessment of the current situation.

    Judy Waldman
  14. MYCaptainChris

    MYCaptainChris Senior Member

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    Imagine the joys of being chained to a dock in Fort Lauderdale in Sept, Oct. I wonder who would be liable in the event of a hurricane?

    This is getting very interesting.
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The one who caused it (violated the law).
  16. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Good move, I look forward to getting the facts as seen from one who is involved in the "unsealed" section of the industry highway.
  17. MYCaptainChris

    MYCaptainChris Senior Member

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    Don't forget that most of us come to your country in good faith and spend million of $$$$ while here, which I notice Florida is needing right now. I for one certainly would pay the new tax cap for piece of mind while within US waters, but there are many that are here and feel they shouldn't have to pay.
    Those coming to sell their boats, I believe should without a doubt pay but if the yacht goes offshore to hand over, how can you police that?
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I once had a Canadian who didn't feel he should pay sales tax on a small item (he was arguing to save about $0.50). I told him that if he wants to buy things here he pays what it costs same as the rest of us. He could have bought the item in Canada, but it was more expensive there even with our sales tax. As for:
    I remember them figuring that one out back in the '90's much to the unhappy surprise of some. By now I think they have tracking big deals and following money trails down pretty good.
    __________________
  19. JB1150

    JB1150 New Member

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    MCC, those owners are not the target of such an operation. However, the law breakers, tax dodgers or misinformed, do not automatically jump out to those doing the scrutinizing so everyone gets looked at. It's easy to tell people that if their documents are in order everything will be fine but no one likes to go through the process.
  20. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    Loren Schweizer wrote:

    If you're refunded 90 cents on the dollar, that would mean the duties are equivalent to 10%?! I imagine that what you're really saying is that the initial levy (or bond) by US customs for these yachts "Not for sale to U.S. residents in U.S. waters" but available for inspection in U.S. waters is based on approx. 10% of their estimated sale price. 90% of which is refunded by US customs if the yacht remains unsold when leaving US jurisdiction...?! That would be about 1% of the sale value of the yacht...?! :confused:

    Please clarify...?!

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