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-   -   Advice needed for place of registration (https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s62/advice-needed-place-registration-60980.html)

Kevin R 11-20-2021 11:03 PM

Advice needed for place of registration
 
Hello all, Iím looking for advice on what would be the best place for me to register a boat. Since I currently have no boat ownership experience, Iím trying to figure out some of the plans far in advance of the actual purchase. Iím also having trouble expressing my questions, because I donít know what I donít know, if you know what I mean. Apologies if my post rambles a little.

As I mentioned in the ĒWelcome MatĒ Iím Canadian but currently living in Singapore (permanent resident here, pay taxes here etc). My wife (Singaporean citizen) and I are looking at buying a boat perhaps 5-8 years from now, when we are both retired.

For tax and residency reasons we would prefer to remain domiciled in Singapore and keep a permanent address at our home here, even though we would be cruising in the PNW most of the time. We would plan to spend less than 6 months in each the US or Canada while also making holiday trips (leaving the boat behind) to other countries, also back to Singapore. We would also be using medical/travel insurance to cover any medical bills in whatever country we happen to be in.

So my question is, if we are not residents of the place where we would keep the boat, where should we register the boat? We would likely buy a used boat somewhere in the PNW. First off, is changing the registration even necessary, or can we transfer ownership but keep the exisiting registration?

If new registration is required or more practical then I guess the registration options would be something like this:

Singapore. They only allow registration of pleasure craft less than 17 years old and we are looking at older boats. Also, they require a 3-yearly haul-out and inspection at one of 6 licensed boatyards, all of which are located in Singapore, which would mean getting the boat back into Singapore waters every 3 years. Not really feasible.

US. I know nothing about this, and would appreciate any info you have. I heard that US-registered boats get hit with some kind of Washington State excise tax if they remain in Washington waters for more than 60 days. Not sure if there is something similar for other states. Costs like this are not an outright deal-killer, but I would like to know about them beforehand.

Canada. I also know nothing about this, and would appreciate any info. I am a little concerned that, being Canadian, if I have a boat registered there the tax authorities would try to declare me a resident and liable for income tax. This would be a big problem.

A third country, like the Cayman Islands. I also know nothing about this. It seems relatively straightforward to get the boat registered, but Iím not sure if this would complicate the insurance? Can I go to an insurance broker in say Vancouver or Seattle and get insurance for a foreign-registered boat? Is it any more difficult for a CI-registered boat to get cruising permits?

One other salient point is that we would likely be wanting to hire a captain for the first little while, until we (and probably the insurance company) are more comfortable in our handling of the boat. I believe that the country of registration may also dictate who you can hire as crew, although I don't see this as a big problem.

If anyone has any information, or advice, or opinions about any of these options, please let me know. Thanks very much and have a nice day.

Regards,
Kevin

O C Diver 11-20-2021 11:22 PM

I'm not well versed in Canadian boat registration laws, but if you are a Canadian citizen and plan to be in Canada for months each year, I'm guessing there may be laws requiring you to register it in Canada or atleast pay fees. I think I would investigate those laws first or decide not to bring it to Canada.

Ted

Comodave 11-20-2021 11:34 PM

Generally in the States, if you use and/or store a boat in a state then you need to register it in the state of principal use. Each state may be a little different. You will likely have to pay sales tax and maybe a personal property tax. So you should check with Washington and Oregon as to their specific regulations.

kthoennes 11-20-2021 11:46 PM

South Dakota.

Scooby5959 11-21-2021 12:06 AM

Rent a slip in Oregon ,Portland or have nice covered Slips no sales tax and cheap registration fees ,you could do your cruising from there .I don’t think there will be many problems unless you plan on leaving your boat For extended periods of time in Washington state then you would have to pay about a 9% sales tax and steep registration fees otherwise go to Alaska It is as cheap as Oregon

2savage 11-23-2021 09:21 PM

Well, the OP is in Singapore so renting a slip in Oregon may not work for him :(

Martin J 12-03-2021 09:15 AM

You have a real minefield with this question. As a resident of Singapore and a non US Citizen you cannot document in the US. Your personal time would also be limited decreasing annual below the rolling average. You could register as a local boat after paying the purchase tax in whatever state you could find a residential address. The cheapest way possibly is to register in one of the red flag states BVI, Caymans etc. Then you could obtain a cruising license when entering the U.S. Not Sure what you would do alternating into Canada and how much time they would allow. I used to travel a lot and ski in the US in the winter using all my allowed time. My country of residence had reciprocal privilege's etc. but slipped over by a few days one year. The fine was impressive the next time I entered the US with my American wife. Make sure you do lots of research, and beware the rules are not the same at every port of entry.

BandB 12-03-2021 11:52 AM

Ok, to clarify terms, when the OP says "Register" he's using the international term for what we call "Document" and is not talking our "register" which is state registration.

Now, to the OP, I think document anywhere like Cayman Islands, Marshall Islands, etc. There are plenty of international documentation agencies that can advise you. Then you'll need cruising permits and they only require you to leave with certain frequency (US is one year). However, another issue is potential state issues and you need to look at those more carefully.

I do think there's another issue to look at first though. As a Canadian Citizen I imagine you're an ex-patriate and that is excusing you from Canadian Income Taxes. I know there's also a big difference between expat and emigrant so need to be very careful. I don't know how much time you could spend in Canada before being taxed as a resident, since you're a citizen. So you need to look at any impact living on your boat in Canada might have on you from an income tax perspective.

kthoennes 12-03-2021 12:46 PM

Well, I'm not sure what the OP actually means by "register." He can register it in South Dakota as SD doesn't care where you live or how much time you spend here or anywhere else, or if you ever set foot in the state. We let RV'ers declare residency here and register their RV's and get addresses here whether or not they ever spend time here. And Canada doesn't require a recreational U.S.-registered boat to be federally documented either, although as we've discussed in so many threads on this topic, the state (province?) where you keep it might care very much about local registration for tax/revenue purposes. Given the opening post to this thread though, that's such a complex scenario I continue to be really surprised that somebody lobs a multi-national legal question like that to an online boating forum and would then rely on any answer(s) as reliable or determinative.

The members here might be highly knowledgeable in lots of ways, but I can see it now -- when the customs officer or revenue agent or border patrol guy or coast guard officer challenges your boat paperwork, just tell them you relied on an internet boating forum for your multinational legal decisions. I'm sure that'll go well.

Bob M 12-03-2021 03:17 PM

A company can own a boat and the legalities of ownership could be tied to the company as opposed to an individual, who may own all or part of the company.

Search for "LLC boat ownership" to see the pros and cons.

twistedtree 12-03-2021 07:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob M (Post 1057608)
A company can own a boat and the legalities of ownership could be tied to the company as opposed to an individual, who may own all or part of the company.

Search for "LLC boat ownership" to see the pros and cons.


A number of states look past that to the LLC ownership.

twistedtree 12-03-2021 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BandB (Post 1057559)
Ok, to clarify terms, when the OP says "Register" he's using the international term for what we call "Document" and is not talking our "register" which is state registration.

Now, to the OP, I think document anywhere like Cayman Islands, Marshall Islands, etc. There are plenty of international documentation agencies that can advise you. Then you'll need cruising permits and they only require you to leave with certain frequency (US is one year). However, another issue is potential state issues and you need to look at those more carefully.

I do think there's another issue to look at first though. As a Canadian Citizen I imagine you're an ex-patriate and that is excusing you from Canadian Income Taxes. I know there's also a big difference between expat and emigrant so need to be very careful. I don't know how much time you could spend in Canada before being taxed as a resident, since you're a citizen. So you need to look at any impact living on your boat in Canada might have on you from an income tax perspective.


I also think that as a Canadian citizen, if you bring a boat into Canada it immediately triggers duty, GST, and PST.

Shrew 12-06-2021 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin R (Post 1054528)
.....we would be cruising in the PNW most of the time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scooby5959 (Post 1054542)
Rent a slip in Oregon ,Portland ........

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2savage (Post 1055292)
Well, the OP is in Singapore so renting a slip in Oregon may not work for him :(



It looks like someone didn't read the original post in its entirety. ;)


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