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Registering a Yacht

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by retiredguy, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. retiredguy

    retiredguy Member

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    The barge I am buying was a USCG registered boat. I am simply going to transfer ownership, retain the boats name, etc. If I understand correctly (always questionable) I have to change the "port of call" on the boat. Not a problem but my question is, do I then need to "register" the boat in the state where the port of call is?

    I see there is no license decal currently on the boats bow.

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    First of all just to be clear there is no such thing as USCG registration. It s USCG documentation and state registration

    you don’t have to change the homeport, in fact it can pretty much be anything you want in the US.

    where is current homeport?

    As to state registration, the requirements vary by state. In many cases, states will keep track of USCG documentation transfer, or new documentation, and contact the new owner to collect sales and use tax.

    Many states incl Florida require boats to be registered after they spend more than 3 to 6 months in state waters. If you are not a Florida resident you should be able to get registration without paying sales tax. States can use marina and bridge records to track time spent in state

    I strongly suggest you use a documentation agent or a maritime attorney familiar with all the details and options which a general attorney will not know.
  3. ranger58sb

    ranger58sb Senior member

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    What Pascal said, ref "documentation" versus "registration."

    State registration for documented boats varies. In Maryland, for example, we pay a "Documented Use" fee and apply a "Documented Vessel" sticker to our documented vessel; cheap actually, every two years.

    I think I remember Florida is similar, and then they also have cruising permits ($) for out-of-state boats that stay in Florida longer than XXX days.

    But you'd want to check with wherever you intend to stay for any length of time.

    And state sales and use taxes are a separate issue. You can buy a boat somewhere and either pay sales taxes there or elsewhere if you pick a long-term cruising ground (jurisdiction) that collects sales taxes.

    None of that has to do with documented home port. There's a registry of legitimate place names you can use (USCG website will point to it somewhere) and it even includes historic places without an actual post office, etc... but in any case there's a lot of freedom for picking your home port and it doesn't impact State taxes.

    The actual DIY documentation/tax/etc. process isn't difficult or expensive; knowing what the process actually IS for your particular situation is why documentation agents can be a good thing.

    -Chris
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You really need to use a documentation service at this point as between the incorporation in Delaware you're planning and your lack of experience on Documentation and registration, you're at risk of making costly mistakes.

    You have not disclosed what state you live in or where you intend to dock the boat initially. That information is vital to answering your questions as is knowing what state you are purchasing the boat in.

    Home port has no relevance to anything. It's simply part of the boat's name. You use port of call which I don't know where you came up with that. Doesn't matter that there's no license decal as it would be for old owner anyway.
  5. retiredguy

    retiredguy Member

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    Thanks guys, found an attorney that does this on a daily basis an he is getting it all done for me for a very reasonable fee. The boat will be "owned" by my Delaware corporation. Has LOTS of advantages.
  6. Riknpat

    Riknpat Senior Member

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    That's why the Ford Motor Company is incorporated in Delaware. They don't make a lot of cars there.:)
  7. retiredguy

    retiredguy Member

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    Truth, I hate playing these games but" when in Rome"...
  8. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    There’s a big difference between playing games versus using established lawful procedures that stand up if challenged.
    Adopo likes this.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    There are many reasons to incorporate in many different places. Some of the reasons for Delaware will apply to him and some will not. Businesses generally have to register as foreign corporations in all the states they operate. One of the biggest advantages of Delaware is they don't use juries and so court cases are fast. However, you generally get sued in the state you're operating. So for most, the reasons are what we call the list of "no's." They don't require names and addresses of officers or directors. No income tax on business done elsewhere. No sales tax on royalties and such. No inheritance tax on businesses. Cheap to start. Easy to do online. All the major incorporators and agents have online access to the state.

    Reasons to incorporate elsewhere. Let's say you only do business in one state. Then why set up in Delaware plus as foreign corporation in that state, why not just incorporate there. Why a state like Nevada? Well, they protect the directors with very limited liability. Also enhanced privacy. Nevada copied Delaware and raised them one. lol. Delaware has low franchise taxes at $100 per year. Nevada has $0.

    Glad you got an attorney involved. Now get a documentation agent involved with the boat.
  10. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I see mostly DE, NV, and WA, entities for single asset LLC title. Usually due to vessel owner’s particularly situation when established, then inherited by subsequent owners.

    My only point was to do it right, which I would not characterize as playing games.
  11. retiredguy

    retiredguy Member

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    Guys, I will avoid taxation any time I "legally" can. Using Delaware corporate status provides tax advantages, simple as that. Not to get on a rant but taxation in the US has gotten out of hand, most people have no clue how much they actually pay. One of the most insidious is sales/use tax.
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Rhode Island is frequently used as well as a home port using Delaware based LLC as owner

    Remember the infamous incident of hypocrite John Kerry registering his 80’ foreign built sloop in Newport but keeping it the whole summer in nantucket?
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  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I don't think that's true at all in terms of having no idea what we pay. Sales and Use tax is actually very modest compared to VAT in most other countries. As to sales tax on a boat, I think Florida is quite fair and am fine paying the maximum of $18,000 along with no property tax on a boat. That's not to criticize someone incorporating in Delaware. The company I spent my career with was incorporated there. Now our businesses are incorporated in FL, GA, SC and NC. Plan was to only do business in FL so it was simple but then I strayed from the plan.

    I laugh as I'm sure people in every country throughout history have said taxation was out of hand. As to the US, our total taxation is relatively moderate compared to other similar countries.
    d_meister likes this.
  14. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    Boat ownership in OR is working well. No sales tax, no property tax, no excise/use tax. Just state registration and USCG documentation if desired.

    My port name is not on a navigable water way, you can use Timbuktu if you like.

    I like when folks put their hometown on the stern, more interesting than say Seattle or Portland or San Fran. I would rather strike up a conversation about Wenatchee than Seattle. Better apples, better skiing, just more interesting, Wenatchee that is.
  15. retiredguy

    retiredguy Member

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    Like I said, most really don't understand how much tax they pay.

    A quote from Ronald Regan: "If people need any more concrete explanation of this, start with the staff of life, a loaf of bread. The simplest thing; the poorest man must have it. Well, there are 151 taxes now in the price of a loaf of bread — it accounts for more than half the cost of a loaf of bread. It begins with the first tax, on the farmer that raised the wheat. Any simpleton can understand that if that farmer cannot get enough money for his wheat, to pay the property tax on his farm, he can’t be a farmer. He loses his farm. And so it is with the fellow who pays a driver’s license and a gasoline tax to drive the truckload of wheat to the mill, the miller who has to pay everything from social security tax, business license, everything else. He has to make his living over and above those costs. So they all wind up in that loaf of bread. Now an egg isn’t far behind and nobody had to make that. There’s a hundred taxes in an egg by the time it gets to market and you know the chicken didn’t put them there! "

    Experts that have studied "consumption tax" say half the price of almost any consumable is hidden taxes. As to sales tax, I could sort of, on a good day agree with it ONCE. Something new is purchased and the government gets a slice. But every time its resold is way over the line to me. Assuming a tax of 6% average on say a car that is sold 5 or 6 times in its life and you realize your state government has made around 1/3 the cost of the car when new. Of course that's passed on to each buyer and/or is a factor in depreciating the cars value.

    So, if there is a legal way to avoid these taxes I'll opt to do it every time.
    Adopo likes this.