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Old 08-05-2019, 11:23 AM   #21
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Camasonian ó Iím in your exact same shoes, and came to the same conclusions you did after researching. Although Iím sure there are many trying to get around paying the WA taxes, I didnít like the idea of always being on the dodge. And the potential of cruising up in the Puget Sound made it even more convincing that I should just pay it and keep the peace of mind like a good citizen.
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:07 PM   #22
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Twisted Tree - Thanks very much for that detailed explanation as to the interpretations of Washington’s visiting boater requirement. Extremely helpful.

Are you 100% confident in your assertion that the first 60 days are non-contiguous? This has been on my mind quite a bit. I live in New Mexico, and I’m in the process of buying a boat currently moored in Washington. I plan to register the boat in NM which is a no-tax state, and keep it moored in Sidney, BC.

I don’t plan to use the boat for more than 60 days in WA waters each year, but I was somehow under the impression that I have to (a) leave, (b) obtain a permit, or (c) pay tax on the 61st calendar day after the first entry, regardless of how many days I actually spend in WA.

I’d be extremely relieved to know that I was incorrect about this since it solves a couple of logistical issues for me. Have you seen this interpretation incorporated into any written document?

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:17 PM   #23
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All excellent points, and I discovered a few other ambiguities and differences of interpretation even within the same agency. For example:


- Most seem to agree that the first 60 days are days in WA waters, not calendar days running from first entry. In other words, if you are in WA for 3 days, then are in Canada for 4 days, you have use 3 of you 60 days, not 7. So the 60 day clock stops when you are not in WA waters.


- But the 60 day add-on time is interpreted differently, even within the same agency. The registration people who administer it (issue the license/permit) have paperwork and applications that all assume the extension is 60 consecutive calendar days. This directly contradicts the wording in the actual law which is identical to the wording for the first 60 days, and clearly states days of "use in WA waters". A state DOW person who was hounding me interpreted it the same way as the registration people, but a friend got a binding determination from DOR saying the opposite, i.e. it's treated like the first 60 days.


- I also got into a debate with the DOR about whether your 60 visitor days stop accumulating when you file a repair affidavit, or if they keep running. And the same question applies to the add-on 60 day permits. Does that clock stop when you file a repair affidavit, or not? It's unclear.


I finally left WA, even though I was spending good money (and sales tax) in the state. Being a visitor in a state with a nearly 10% boat tax went from a high-stakes, low-risk endeavor because the rules seemed clear, to a high-stakes, high-risk endeavor when I realized I could get snagged by any one of these different interpretations. So like many, many WA boaters, off I went to Canada where the rules are clear and they welcome visitors. The net for WA was 1) they lost the business revenue and the associated sales tax revenue that I was providing, and 2) they didn't get the use tax either. And I didn't get to spend more time in WA, which I wanted to do. It was a loose, loose, loose. Simply brilliant.
This is the consequence of one state relying on sales tax and the neighboring states (and provinces) relying on income tax. I'd venture to say that most Oregonians with enough wealth to own a cruising boat pay more in income tax than the equivalent Washingtonian pays in sales tax for the boat and everything else.

In any event, the taxing agencies probably do their best to write clear regulations but then circumstances and loopholes always emerge that don't meet the clear letter of the law and we have to either rely on courts to make the determinations and/or go through the process of updating laws and regulations to close every loophole and ambiguity when they come up. People are infinitely clever. But then the state department of revenue has been dealing with tax arbitrage across the border for probably 100 years and probably know every trick including hundreds you haven't even thought of.

My wife and I live in WA and the amount of income tax we save compared to living across the river in Portland is about equal to our daughter's college tuition. So I just suck it up and figure I'm going to be paying some kind of tax anyway. I expect on balance, wealthy Canadians pay even more in taxes than either WA or OR residents.

For those from out of state I can understand the hassle. If tax laws were uniform across the states then none of this would be relevant. But then we wouldn't be the United STATES of America but just the State of America.
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Old 08-05-2019, 01:29 PM   #24
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I live in New Mexico, and Iím in the process of buying a boat currently moored in Washington. I plan to register the boat in NM which is a no-tax state, and keep it moored in Sidney, BC.

Thanks!
Iím interested how you are able to do this? In Nevada they want to physically inspect the Hull Iíd number, length and so on to verify documents match the vessel on out of state purchases. And since Nevada doesnít collect sales tax on an asset bought out of state by private party this is what they require in order to issue a Nevada Title. Since moving 65,000 +/- a few pounds boat just to verify was not economically sound, we had to look at alternatives. Since the boat was already registered in Portland and CC Documented kinda made since to go that route.
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Old 08-05-2019, 01:44 PM   #25
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The boat will not be titled in New Mexico; it will be USCG documented with a New Mexico home port. A wrinkle that is particular to New Mexico is that USCG documented vessels need not be registered - even to operate in the state. Nonetheless, since I will be operating entirely out of New Mexico (principally BC and AK) I don’t feel comfortable without a registration. New Mexico will allow me to register the boat for a nominal fee, but I need to have the HIN reported to the state registration board by a Certified HIN reader since the boat is not physically present.

This is all very state specific I believe.

If there are any other New Mexicans out there with PNW boats, I’d love to communicate with you about this.
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:29 PM   #26
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Because no way is WA going to exempt things like new electronics from sales tax just because you bought them attached to a boat instead of in a box from West Marine.
When I bought our boat I went to the WA Dept of Revenue with my sales invoice for the boat. I explained that the invoice price included about $50K of work and new merchandise that I bought in OR and was being installed on the boat by an OR marina.

They deducted that amount from the invoice price and charged my sales tax on the balance.
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Old 08-05-2019, 04:37 PM   #27
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Wa has a use tax that is applied to items bought outside the state in places with no sales tax or a lower tax than Wa. Usually the sale price, but allowance for depreciation if used for a long period before coming to Wa. So it would be worthwhile to keep the boat outside Wa for a period of time.
https://dor.wa.gov/find-taxes-rates/use-tax
I'm glad I left that state 30 years ago.



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Old 08-05-2019, 07:38 PM   #28
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Twisted Tree - Thanks very much for that detailed explanation as to the interpretations of Washingtonís visiting boater requirement. Extremely helpful.

Are you 100% confident in your assertion that the first 60 days are non-contiguous? This has been on my mind quite a bit. I live in New Mexico, and Iím in the process of buying a boat currently moored in Washington. I plan to register the boat in NM which is a no-tax state, and keep it moored in Sidney, BC.

I donít plan to use the boat for more than 60 days in WA waters each year, but I was somehow under the impression that I have to (a) leave, (b) obtain a permit, or (c) pay tax on the 61st calendar day after the first entry, regardless of how many days I actually spend in WA.

Iíd be extremely relieved to know that I was incorrect about this since it solves a couple of logistical issues for me. Have you seen this interpretation incorporated into any written document?

Thanks!

I can't say 100%, which is the problem in a nut shell. But it was my experience. When I was "invited to pay use tax" on my boat, I explained that I kept careful rack of the days spend in WA that are allowed over the 365 calendar days after first entry. On that one year anniversary, the clock resets and you get another 60 days. My days of use in WA were definitely not contiguous over the 365 day window, but I always kept it under 60. Other time was under a repair affidavit, without me using the boat. At that point they stopped hassling me. BTW, they will never tell you that you are compliant. Nor will they ever tell you that your repair affidavit has been "accepted". They will stamp it received, but will never say you are "OK", instead always leaving the door open to claim you are out of compliance.


What I would suggest is that you send them a request for a binding determination. It can be done through their web site. You pose your question, and they will give you a binding answer within something like 30 days.


For what it's worth, the actual statute is quite clear that it's "days of use in WA". Not days since first use, or anything else that can be interpreted as consecutive calendar days after some event. But of course in practice all that matters is their interpretation, and then you need to go to court to challenge it. Since that doesn't look like cruising to me, I prefer just to avoid it.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:41 PM   #29
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BTW, I have no problem with WA or any other state having use taxes that are applicable to visiting boats after some period of time. My gripe is that the rules are unclear. Make them clear, and I'll decide whether to visit, and how long to stay. But if they are unclear, and I'm essentially gambling 10% of the value of my boat, well, forgettaboutit. I'll go elsewhere.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:30 PM   #30
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Kawini, when you buy a boat in WA you have only 45 days to leave before sales tax is due. You can buy a cruising permit from your broker for a year ($800 depending on boat size) but then you cannot come back into WA for 2 years. This would include the Columbia River or any of the West Coast ports. Hard to do for an Oregonian that wants to go north.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:54 PM   #31
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I called the WA Dept. of Licensing today to see what information I'd receive. The customer service person (who was very friendly) first told me that I could spend as many days as I please in WA each year without triggering a use tax obligation so long as no individual visit is more than 60 days. When I expressed some skepticism at that response, she put me on hold to speak with her "help desk."

After about 10 minutes, she came back on and explained that the situation is exactly as Twisted Tree describes it: The first 60 days of use are not counted continuously from the first entry into WA. Only days actually spent in WA count towards the 60 days. Before that 60 day threshold is reached, a non-resident boater needs to apply in person for a permit which is good for 60 additional days counted continuously from the date of the issuance of the permit. In other words, the permit expires in 60 days no matter how many days are spent in WA during that 60 day period. The 60 day permit can be renewed for another 60 days - again in person and again the permit will expire 60 days from issuance.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:00 PM   #32
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For those of you who are interested in this matter, I have had a couple of other conversations with employees of the WA Dept. of Revenue and the WA Dept. of Licensing.

It is true that there is confusion amongst the agencies as to how to count the first 60 days in WA waters -- that is, whether or not they are counted consecutively from the date of the first entry regardless of use in WA, or whether only days in WA are counted against the 60 days. This person was able to provide me with internal written guidance at WA DOL which states as follows:

***

Nonresident Vessel Permit

Vessels qualify for issuance of a nonresident vessel permit (Out-of-State permit) when both of the following apply:
• The vessel is currently registered and primarily used in another state.
• The vessel owner is using it on Washington waters for more than 60 days.
A vessel registered in another state may operate on Washington waters for up to 60 days. However, on or before the 61st day of use, the vessel owner must obtain a nonresident vessel permit to continue operating on Washington waters without registration. The vessel owner may obtain a second permit. Vessels with a nonresident permit may operate on Washington waters for up to six months in any continuous twelve-month period. After that, the vessel owner must register the vessel in Washington.

The first 60 days of use on Washington waters do not need to be consecutive. However, when issuing the permit, always use the vessel's original entry date into Washington in the "Date Entered WA Waters" field, regardless of how many days of actual use have elapsed.

DRIVES generates a registration certificate and 60-day temporary permit. The vessel owner must keep both on the vessel at all times. The vessel owner must display the temporary permit so it is visible to law enforcement from either the dock or the water, and must protect it from the weather.

RCW 88.02.620

***

So, there you have it from the horse's mouth.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:17 PM   #33
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The boat will not be titled in New Mexico; it will be USCG documented with a New Mexico home port. A wrinkle that is particular to New Mexico is that USCG documented vessels need not be registered - even to operate in the state. Nonetheless, since I will be operating entirely out of New Mexico (principally BC and AK) I donít feel comfortable without a registration. New Mexico will allow me to register the boat for a nominal fee, but I need to have the HIN reported to the state registration board by a Certified HIN reader since the boat is not physically present.

This is all very state specific I believe.

If there are any other New Mexicans out there with PNW boats, Iíd love to communicate with you about this.

Kawini:


Check with Washington on the types of permits they have for non-resident individuals. We had our boat in WA in 2017, and, if I recall correctly, we paid $500 for a 1 year permit. They have different restrictions for different permits. They also have different permit types for corporate and LLC owned boats. Our boat was USCG documented, and not registered in a state. We registered the dinghy in WA. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:54 PM   #34
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It is perfectly legal for a Washington resident to buy a boat in Oregon, lic/reg in Oregon, keep it in Oregon and not pay sales tax. Once the boat enters into Washington you will owe Use Tax, not Sales Tax. The difference is Use Tax will be figured on the current value of the boat at the time it enters Washington. ĎWashington is lazy, they will take your purchase price and deprecate it to come up with current value. Now comes the grey area. The law doesnít talk about the Columbia River. The state would have to prove you crossed a state line. Pretty hard for them but they could make your life uncomfortable. Most likely you will never have an issue until you tie to a Washington Dock.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:30 AM   #35
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Sales tax

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So is it 60, 90 days or 6 months in the state before tax is due.

I have friends that store vintage and collector cars in Oregon in order to avoid Washington State sales tax. They will occasionally bring one to Washington and keep it here for a while. They use the storage facility address for any correspondence regarding the cars.
When we were stationed in Whidbey Island I had a boat registered in Fl. I was able to obtain ďtemporary registrationĒ which I had to display. I was allowed to keep the boat in the water and use it for 6 months from that date. The authorities checked this periodically. After that it had to be on the trailer and out of use till the next year. If you are a Washington State resident and keep and use the boat in Oregon you donít have to pay sales tax. The minute you enter Wa State waters, as a resident, you owe sales tax.
Sadly, Iím the PNW, they are going to tax you pretty heavily one way or the other. If you live in Wa State and want to own and use a boat, you are better off in the long run to just pay the necessary taxes up front, then keep and use your boat where you live. The tax is just going to have to be part of the overall figure of the boat you are looking to buy.
One thing to consider is that if you make an offer on a boat in Oregon you can always reduce the offer by the tax bill you will get in Wa. The argument ďIím here now with an offer and funds to buyĒ is a pretty strong one. Particularly if the boat has been on the market for awhile.
Just thoughts.
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