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Old 05-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #1
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Boston, Taxes, Slips, etc.

Hello all,

I've been a longtime reader of these forums and decided to hop in and join the fun, prompted by some questions for the knowledgable people here on TrawlerForum.

A bit of background: I'm in the early stages of getting transferred to Boston and would love to liveaboard year round rather than spend money on an apartment or commute from RI. Timeframe is end of summer, possibly later depending on how work schedule goes. I'm quite partial to the late 80's Albin 43 trawlers, so all my following questions assume this boat or something fairly similar.

Most of the research I've done says that the Constitution Marina is a great place to berth, but I'm completely open to staying somewhere else provided it doesn't require me to have a car (so close to downtown or near a T). Is the general consensus that this is the place to be? How hard is getting a slip for a 43 foot boat? Should I hop on a waiting list now?

Next we have the question of registering the boat. I currently live in RI and own some property there. It is also my legal state of residence. Owning a boat and registering it in RI is exceptionally easy, you fill out some forms and send them along to the DEM. There's also no sales tax for boats sold in RI (a huge plus). Is it feasible to register a boat in RI then live on it in Boston? I have a riparian mooring in RI that I'll spend lots of time on during the summer months.

Next we come to the "Mooring Permit". Is it true that Boston requires a mooring permit to berth at a marina in the city? The City of Boston website mentions such and also claims an excise tax of 1% ($10 per $1000). Is this excise tax yearly (I assume it is) and what is the valuation based on? Finally, can I keep the boat registered in RI but also get a Boston mooring permit? Here is the link to the City of Boston site: Boat Excise | City of Boston

Thanks all,
Austin
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:45 PM   #2
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Just a thought. keep your live aboard in Wickford, ride the T and "visit" Boston when you like. Bill Jamestown
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:22 PM   #3
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Where you keep your boat is the only thing that matters, not where you live. In many states marinas are required to report to the state all boats docked there on Jan 1 of each year. Even if you have a federally documented boat, you get a tax bill.

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Old 05-21-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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Boston officials will walk the docks the 1st of July and send excise tax bill. I was billed by both my home Mass town and Boston. Because I was docked in Boston 7/1.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:46 PM   #6
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Can't comment on your marina questions, only been there to visit. However on the tax and fee side I did basically what you did. Registered in RI as we summered in the area and many members of wife's family lived there. During the prime summer months we kept the boat in Westport Harbor, MA, right across the line from RI. The town of Westport gave me a prorated property tax bill, nominal I'd say. This was in addition to harbor fees; we were on a mooring and there was also a town fee that covered the mandatory pump out boat and harbor patrol. The mooring rental was paid to Tripp's marina and boatyard, who maintained and managed the moorings and provided the launch and dinghy dock. Everyone, RI, MA, NC, FL (we spent a fair amount of time each year in the latter two) seemed happy with this, and most importantly, monetarily, MD, where I bought the boat and never got dunned for sales tax.

Though it has been a few years now, Westport still faithfully sends me a tax bill each year and I faithfully send them a copy of my slip rentals elsewhere and a note from Tripp's.
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:28 PM   #7
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Thanks George (and everyone else),

Any idea what the valuation for the purposes of taxes is based on? The NADA bluebook for a late 80's Albin 43 is $182,000, substantially higher than the ~$100K average asking price.
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Old 05-23-2014, 07:49 PM   #8
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I don't remember the number, but there is a value cap for the excise tax on boats. I paid $315 last year for my Grand Banks based on the capped value.

I never realized Boston had a mooring permit system that includes marina slips. It appears to be nothing more than a convenient mechanism to enforce collection of excise and use taxes. They just walk the dock and look for boats without a permit sticker.

But.....the Constitution Marina is in Charlestown, not Boston, so the permitting might not apply.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #9
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Lived on my boat in Boston, 1994 through 1997. Kept the boat there in the winters moved her back to Westport for summer. My legal residence was still S. Dartmouth, thus never got a bill/tax from Boston.

Rented a berth at Shipyard Quarters just north of the CG . Very nice spot, well maintained. Constitution is as well. Good spot for the mass transited hook uppity has been 20 years, wow.



Good luck.

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Old 01-09-2018, 09:19 PM   #10
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I don't remember the number, but there is a value cap for the excise tax on boats. I paid $315 last year for my Grand Banks based on the capped value.

I never realized Boston had a mooring permit system that includes marina slips. It appears to be nothing more than a convenient mechanism to enforce collection of excise and use taxes. They just walk the dock and look for boats without a permit sticker.

But.....the Constitution Marina is in Charlestown, not Boston, so the permitting might not apply.
Charlestown IS Boston. Just like J.P, Roslindale or Southie etc.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:23 PM   #11
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Austin: Did you end up living aboard in Boston? I'm gonna be living aboard full time starting in early 2019. Doing my research now.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:14 AM   #12
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I'm a year-round at Charlestown marina - used to be Shipyard Quarters until 2-3 years ago when the city shut them down, requiring them to repair their broken down docks. Has been under new management (same as provincetown marina and boston yacht haven). What are you looking to find out?
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I'm a year-round at Charlestown marina - used to be Shipyard Quarters until 2-3 years ago when the city shut them down, requiring them to repair their broken down docks. Has been under new management (same as provincetown marina and boston yacht haven). What are you looking to find out?
How is Charlestown during the winter? I'm already paid in full at Marina Bay/Quincy for the upcoming season but not for the 2018/2019 winter months.

Is the water still on the docks?

How much is it per foot for the winter months?

What's the electric deal? Approx monthly??

Is there a good vibe there for the liveaboards or does the marina staff just "tolerate" you guys?

Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:24 AM   #14
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The marina staff is great here. Far better than 'just tolerating'. Two docks have water on all year, and that's enough for all liveaboard boats to be hooked up - we have about 30 occupied boats during the winter. Price per foot is $50-$60 I think depending on the type of slip. Liveaboard fee of $750. Electric is a killer, $40 per month plus $.31 per kwh. Best to have diesel heat. Our November bill without our diesel running yet was $385, but we do stay warm. Diesel gets delivered by harbor fuels once per month.
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:20 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Westiculo View Post
The marina staff is great here. Far better than 'just tolerating'. Two docks have water on all year, and that's enough for all liveaboard boats to be hooked up - we have about 30 occupied boats during the winter. Price per foot is $50-$60 I think depending on the type of slip. Liveaboard fee of $750. Electric is a killer, $40 per month plus $.31 per kwh. Best to have diesel heat. Our November bill without our diesel running yet was $385, but we do stay warm. Diesel gets delivered by harbor fuels once per month.

Price per foot $50-60? Is this for off season only or a monthly cost?
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:24 AM   #16
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Sorry, $50-60 for the winter season, $185-200+ for summer. Crazy difference. Our summer slip has a sweet view of boston
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:33 AM   #17
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Yes, I thought it must only be for the winter season. Boston prices are very high but so are the expenses that a marina has to put up with.
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Old 01-30-2018, 04:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by AustinR View Post
Thanks George (and everyone else),

Any idea what the valuation for the purposes of taxes is based on? The NADA bluebook for a late 80's Albin 43 is $182,000, substantially higher than the ~$100K average asking price.
The tax bill for my 1987 Albin 43 is about $150 a year. There is a table that they use for tax purposes. Its a very simple table and is a lot less than what a typical boat of the various years and sizes would be worth. In my case they value the boat at something like $15,000.

However, there is a HUGE gotcha in Mass. If you buy a boat elsewhere and bring it into Mass within 6 months and leave it there, you owe USE TAX which is 6.25% of the purchase price. Its a one time thing, but as you can imagine it can be huge.

The below link is not the exact law, but it will get you started.

Directive 86-31: Boats Purchased By Non-Residents

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Old 01-30-2018, 05:51 PM   #19
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Massachusetts and Boston in particular use the "low handing fruit" and "scattershot" methods of raising revenue. I would start by documenting the boat and registering at your marina under an assumed name and RI address. You know, like Obama did to become president.
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Old 01-30-2018, 06:01 PM   #20
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Senator Kerry bought a yacht, registered it in RI but kept it in Nantucket. He coughed up the MA sales tax when caught.

Boston Harbormaster only comes around once to leave reminders on boats without Boston permit. Too many transients for them to figure out who is here permanently.

Most Boston marinas have summer waiting lists. There is some turnover but it's done in Jan/Feb. Summer rates are 150 up. Winter dry rates are 60 up. Winter wet would add elec and LA fee.
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