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Old 11-24-2017, 11:21 AM   #1
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Any Charleston SC folks that declare boat as their primary residence?

We just sold our home and plan on making our trawler our primary residence. We'd keep it at a Charleston Marine for > 180 days per annum. Have not identified which marina yet.
How do I determine my tax district when calculating the property tax for the boat,when the boat itself is our primary residence?
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:14 PM   #2
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We just sold our home and plan on making our trawler our primary residence. We'd keep it at a Charleston Marine for > 180 days per annum. Have not identified which marina yet.
How do I determine my tax district when calculating the property tax for the boat,when the boat itself is our primary residence?
Principal marina.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:15 PM   #3
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The tax district will usually be where the boat is docked on the first day of each year. That is the general principle for personal property in all states.

Some even try to move their boat out of state on that date and then move it back.

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Old 11-24-2017, 12:28 PM   #4
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The tax district will usually be where the boat is docked on the first day of each year. That is the general principle for personal property in all states.

Some even try to move their boat out of state on that date and then move it back.

David
Not the case for all states at all. Many use it as a convenience, but moving out of state on that date does not relieve one of property tax liability. Most have some form of principal place of use that override where it physically was on the first.
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Old 11-24-2017, 03:45 PM   #5
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Indeed in SC, if you are a state resident then you get taxed on all your personal property whether that property spends any time in the state or not (or as the tax assessor's office says- " Do we ever ask you where your car is?"). The 180 day rule is for non-residents.

The boat qualifies as a primary residence so the rate drops markedly. However even in Chas County there are many districts and the rate varies substantially.

SO the question is - does anyone know how they determine the tax district of a boat? What if you don't even keep it at a marina? Or if you change marinas throughout the year. Mt. Pleasant taxes are substantially less than City of Charleston- so do I keep it at Patriots Point on 1 Jan, then can move it anywhere else throughout the year?
The County website doesn't seem to have this info for boats. Only that it can qualify as a primary or secondary residence, and thus drop from 10.5 to 4% rate.

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:33 PM   #6
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Indeed in SC, if you are a state resident then you get taxed on all your personal property whether that property spends any time in the state or not (or as the tax assessor's office says- " Do we ever ask you where your car is?"). The 180 day rule is for non-residents.

The boat qualifies as a primary residence so the rate drops markedly. However even in Chas County there are many districts and the rate varies substantially.

SO the question is - does anyone know how they determine the tax district of a boat? What if you don't even keep it at a marina? Or if you change marinas throughout the year. Mt. Pleasant taxes are substantially less than City of Charleston- so do I keep it at Patriots Point on 1 Jan, then can move it anywhere else throughout the year?
The County website doesn't seem to have this info for boats. Only that it can qualify as a primary or secondary residence, and thus drop from 10.5 to 4% rate.

Thanks in advance for any input.
Call the tax assessor's office in the county where you live and ask them. In the end, they will be the ones to determine your tax liability, not strangers on the Internet.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:55 PM   #7
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Call the tax assessor's office in the county where you live and ask them. In the end, they will be the ones to determine your tax liability, not strangers on the Internet.
And two assessor's in two different areas may not agree. They will use your legal address as evidence, the address on your driver's license, which is supposed to be where you live. The January 1 one place and then somewhere else for the majority of the year is very dangerous. Assessor's don't do all their checking on January 1. It's physically impossible. They may ask to see nights by marina. Be careful or two jurisdictions may decide based on different aspects that they have the right to tax you.
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:09 AM   #8
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I did call them- they are closed the friday after Thanksgiving (unlike my business ).
I've already had the experience of different advice from multiple people in the same office.
So casted a net into the forum in case someone had been down this tack before.

Gonna have to change my driver's license also- since that house sold. That's another issue- if my primary residence is a boat, What IS that DL address?
Mail can go to a POB.
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:20 AM   #9
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I did call them- they are closed the friday after Thanksgiving (unlike my business ).
I've already had the experience of different advice from multiple people in the same office.
So casted a net into the forum in case someone had been down this tack before.

Gonna have to change my driver's license also- since that house sold. That's another issue- if my primary residence is a boat, What IS that DL address?
Mail can go to a POB.
Typical driver's license would be the marina location. Now, some places have difficulty with that. The other option is a private mail box location and, again, that's a bit of a state by state thing.

Now some states are easy. Texas, Florida and South Dakota are the popular ones. That's why people go with St. Brendan's and other similar services. iPostal has SC locations.

https://ipostal1.com/

Now if you're no longer a homeowner in SC, it might be time to consider relocating. Florida has no property tax on boats and no state income tax and that attracts many. St. Brendan's can guide you through the entire process. Still not something I'd jump into without lots of consideration.
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:38 PM   #10
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Are you sure you would pay property tax on your boat just because it is your primary residence? You can have a residence and not pay property tax. If you rented an apartment you would be a resident and not responsible for the taxes of the property.

The state collects taxes on the boat in the form of registration and taxes at time of registration (if any). I can't state how SC does it specifically. I'll fully admit, just because it is foreign to my experience doesn't make it so in your jurisdiction. I simply find it very odd.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:22 PM   #11
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Are you sure you would pay property tax on your boat just because it is your primary residence? You can have a residence and not pay property tax. If you rented an apartment you would be a resident and not responsible for the taxes of the property.

The state collects taxes on the boat in the form of registration and taxes at time of registration (if any). I can't state how SC does it specifically. I'll fully admit, just because it is foreign to my experience doesn't make it so in your jurisdiction. I simply find it very odd.
You pay property tax on your boat because you own it, not because you live on it. If you live in an apartment, you pay rent to the owner who pays tax on the property.

Now the fact that you live in/on the property often changes the tax rate. The tax rate is often lower if you live in/on the property. And there may be another tax rate for a "second home". Most trawlers would be second homes under the law but of course you can have only one primary residence and one second home.

Registration fees may be seen by some folks as "taxes" but they are not the same as sales or property tax.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:52 PM   #12
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Shrew can correct me if I'm wrong but i see you're in Rhode Island where I believe you have neither a boat sales tax nor a property tax, correct? There's not many states like that.
This is an interesting topic as we also are considering a live-aboard situation someday in the future. I wonder if its true many live-aboards end up using their marina address for their drivers license...?
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:17 PM   #13
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A landlord paying property taxes on real estate is not the same thing. Whether he calculates taxes as part of his overhead, then sets rent based on operating costs is not the same thing. The state isn't levying taxes on the renter directly.

However, I did find info on it. South Carolina has a Personal Property Tax on boats. Which is why I was asking to begin with, and wasn't initially aware of. I was thinking real estate.

Admittedly, the three states I've registered boats in don't have a personal property tax on boats. CT has a Sales Tax which is a one-time fee. NH and RI have registration fees and a very small tax (more like registering your car).

Yuck.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:22 PM   #14
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I also found out that in SC it is only taxed on 10.5% of the total value:

Primary Residence: 4%
Secondary Residence: 6%

So a boat valued at $100,00 as a primary residence would be taxed 4% on $10,500.00 per year.

10,500 x .04 = $420.00/year

As long as the registration fees aren't horrible, that's not as bad as I thought.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:39 PM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. ST. "...different advice from multiple people in the same office." Ahhhh government. Whatever advice you get from any county/state/municipal etc. office that you choose to act on, GET IT IN WRITING!!!!!
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:09 AM   #16
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I am not a CPA nor tax attorney do take my advice with a big bowl of popcorn.
My boat is documented so therefore no hull numbers. I do have a hailing port of Atlanta, GA. To the best of my knowledge, GA doesn't have any information on my boat. My boat has never been in nor been in GA waters.
I am real tempted to move my legal residence to FL. I do own the land under the boat and I do pay a hefty property tax on it.
There is a tax proposal to eliminate the state income tax deduction from the federal income tax.
FL and a few other states do not have state income taxes. It may be to my advantage to move my legal residence from GA to FL. I guess I just need to inform my CPA. The only down side is, I lose my homestead exemption in GA.
There is also discussing of eliminating the interest deduction on a second home. My condo in GA is paid for but the boat, my second home. If I declare my boat as my primary home, I can continue to write off the loan interest on my primary home, the boat. Considering I will continue to own my GA condo, I can keep my hailing port as Atlanta.
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:40 AM   #17
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I am not a CPA nor tax attorney do take my advice with a big bowl of popcorn.
My boat is documented so therefore no hull numbers. I do have a hailing port of Atlanta, GA. To the best of my knowledge, GA doesn't have any information on my boat. My boat has never been in nor been in GA waters.
I am real tempted to move my legal residence to FL. I do own the land under the boat and I do pay a hefty property tax on it.
There is a tax proposal to eliminate the state income tax deduction from the federal income tax.
FL and a few other states do not have state income taxes. It may be to my advantage to move my legal residence from GA to FL. I guess I just need to inform my CPA. The only down side is, I lose my homestead exemption in GA.
There is also discussing of eliminating the interest deduction on a second home. My condo in GA is paid for but the boat, my second home. If I declare my boat as my primary home, I can continue to write off the loan interest on my primary home, the boat. Considering I will continue to own my GA condo, I can keep my hailing port as Atlanta.
Definitely get with your CPA and be very careful. It's not as simple as just saying I hereby declare FL to be my state of residence. Here are some of the aspects of the change that tax authorities would look at.

1. Driver's license
2. Voter's registration
3. Bank accounts
4. Titling and insuring of any autos
5. Time spent in both locations. Especially time in your condo.
6. When did move occur? What changed?
7. Sources of income

With us it was easy. Buy house. Sell house. Load up furniture, move. However, you can face a challenge with Georgia in proving to them you're no longer a resident. It's just a matter of crossing all T's and dotting all i's. We involved our CPA's in both states and lawyer from the outset. We did get audited by NC for the year of the move. They were not happy to lose taxable income. We had no problems with the audit, although the auditor himself still didn't like it as we moved midyear but the greatest part of our income for the year was as a Florida resident.

Still owning your GA home is the part making yours more challenging. However, when it comes to income tax, it's very beneficial. Right now you'd save 6% GA tax less the deduction you get for it of roughly 2-2.4% so you'd save about 3.6-4% of your income in taxes. Under new tax laws that savings could even increase.

There are other issues. For instance, you may have a homestead exemption on your condo now which you would lose and increase your property taxes on it. Health insurance plans will need to be changed. A lot of considerations.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:24 PM   #18
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#1 - Documentation vs. registration has zero effect on taxes. Zero. You own it, you pay taxes on it.

That said, taxes are very complicated and you need professional help, not advice from well meaning boat owners on the Internet.

Lowering one's tax liability is generally a desirable thing, but to me, living where I want to spend the rest of my years is more important to me than having a few more dollars in the bank for my children to inherit.
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:16 PM   #19
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Definitely get with your CPA and be very careful. It's not as simple as just saying I hereby declare FL to be my state of residence. Here are some of the aspects of the change that tax authorities would look at.

1. Driver's license
2. Voter's registration
3. Bank accounts
4. Titling and insuring of any autos
5. Time spent in both locations. Especially time in your condo.
6. When did move occur? What changed?
7. Sources of income

With us it was easy. Buy house. Sell house. Load up furniture, move. However, you can face a challenge with Georgia in proving to them you're no longer a resident. It's just a matter of crossing all T's and dotting all i's. We involved our CPA's in both states and lawyer from the outset. We did get audited by NC for the year of the move. They were not happy to lose taxable income. We had no problems with the audit, although the auditor himself still didn't like it as we moved midyear but the greatest part of our income for the year was as a Florida resident.

Still owning your GA home is the part making yours more challenging. However, when it comes to income tax, it's very beneficial. Right now you'd save 6% GA tax less the deduction you get for it of roughly 2-2.4% so you'd save about 3.6-4% of your income in taxes. Under new tax laws that savings could even increase.

There are other issues. For instance, you may have a homestead exemption on your condo now which you would lose and increase your property taxes on it. Health insurance plans will need to be changed. A lot of considerations.
10 months/year on the boat.
I jointly own another condo in FL -paid for
I haven't voted in more years than I care to admit but, moving a voter's reg is no problem
I have a car reg and insured in GA and one in FL -- common
Driver's license.... easy to change.
My health insurance is aware.
Yup, lose homestead exemption Not that much. I guess I could apply for homestead exemption on my boat.
Sources of income, gun running, smuggling people, 2 massage parlors with self employed workers. I used to be a sex worker but my g/f made me give it up last year, she is jealous plus I am 74 .....SS and small pension from GA, I do pay taxes on all that. Ummm, maybe some of the sources of income are correct. CHUCKLE
I just have to sit down and figure or if I win or lose on this deal. If I dont win big, it just aint worth the hassle.
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Old 11-29-2017, 01:54 PM   #20
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I just have to sit down and figure or if I win or lose on this deal. If I dont win big, it just aint worth the hassle.
And you have to make the move very clear and definitive. As it is now, both states probably have arguments toward taxing your income, just FL has no income tax so doesn't care about you in that regard. Long ago I did the taxes of several split state residents and they could be very complicated because the states often did not take the same approaches. The amounts of credit your state of residence will give on taxes paid in other states varies widely. Fortunately Florida doesn't present a problem.
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