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Visiting Yacht Owners Balk at Maine's Use Taxes

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 15, 2010 09:50 AM

Published: 2010-01-15 09:50:36
Countries: USA

As reported in Cruising Compass

Some out-of-state boaters are steering clear of Maine's rocky coast and picturesque harbors, which in turn hurts local grocery stores, restaurants, repair yards and other businesses that benefit from boaters, said Micah Peabody, general manager of Dysart's Great Harbor Marina in Southwest Harbor.

This is a result of new crackdowns on boat owners by the Maine Revenue Service. Maine Revenue Services says boat owners must pay a use tax of up to 5 percent if they bought their boat in another state that doesn't require sales taxes for boats, brought it into Maine within the first year of ownership, and had it available to use for at least 30 days.

About three or four years ago, the state began cracking down on boat owners. Tax officials examined marina records, talked to harbormasters and dispatched agents to harbors to take notes and photographs of out-of-state boats, said Errol Dearborn, director of compliance for Maine Revenue Services.

"Word is starting to spread that Maine is unfriendly to yachtsmen," Peabody said.

Other states that have sales taxes also impose use taxes. But laws and enforcement vary on boat purchases, said Margaret Podlich of the Boat Owners Association of the Unites States, a 500,000 member organization based in Alexandria, Va. BOATU.S. has heard members complain recently about increased collection efforts on all types of taxes in New York, Maryland and North Carolina, she said.

From: AP/