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Buying in MA, registering in ME (MA resident)

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Buying in MA, registering in ME (MA resident)

Old 02-26-2020, 12:55 PM
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Question Buying in MA, registering in ME (MA resident)

I've found threads relating to parts of my situation but none that cover all aspects. Feel free to link me to a similar thread of I missed it!

Just the facts:
  1. I am a MA resident but own a property in ME.
  2. I am buying a boat from a friend (private sale). All paperwork/title should be in order.
  3. The boat/trailer is currently registered/titled in MA.
  4. The boat/trailer will be moored and stored primarily/exclusively in ME
I am curious how you guys would handle registration in this case. I know that the trailer and boat need to be handled separately, but I plan to register both in the same state (be it ME or MA). I am not looking to skirt any laws. I'd like to do this in the most efficient, cost effective, and 100% legal way possible.

Questions:
  1. Should I register them in MA first and then transfer the reg/titles to ME? ...or...
  2. Should I only register them in ME from the start? ...or...
  3. Do I keep the boat registered to MA and just pay the excise tax to ME for being there over 60 days (or is this basically the same scenario as question #1)
  4. If I register it only in ME from the start, do I owe sales tax to MA or ME (or both)?
I am a very confused newbie.

Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-26-2020, 01:30 PM
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IF the boat stays out of Mass and you can say the transfer or the boat / title happened in ME, you dont have to pay mass tax and can register it in ME. Same for the trailer. Although if you are driving the trailer through mass you best have proof of ME residency.
If the boat will spend time in MA and ME then MA will want their money. Does ME have sales tax on a boat?
Old 02-26-2020, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by OneMoreDay View Post
IF the boat stays out of Mass and you can say the transfer or the boat / title happened in ME, you dont have to pay mass tax and can register it in ME. Same for the trailer. Although if you are driving the trailer through mass you best have proof of ME residency.
If the boat will spend time in MA and ME then MA will want their money. Does ME have sales tax on a boat?
  • The transfer could definitely be done in ME if needed (if it matters)
  • I believe there were recent sales tax law changes for non-residents buying boats in maine paying lower rates. The quote I find most interesting:
    "Non-residents who purchase a boat elsewhere and bring it to Maine within the first year of ownership and who have not paid sales tax elsewhere may be subject to use tax - but at 2 percent - effective if vessel is found to be in Maine on or after Aug. 1, 2010."
  • I believe I am technically considered a non-resident since I do not reside in ME for 180+ days per year. Or is owning a property (having a physical address) enough for registration purposes?
So my current thinking/theory is that I would only register it in ME and in the town where it will be moored/stored (and where I own my property). I believe I would then be on the hook to pay the taxes at that time directly to the town.
Old 02-26-2020, 02:05 PM
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A friend owns a house at the lake in NH, full time mass resident but registered one of his cars and boat in NH. IF you own property you should be counted as a resident ( not 100% sure). In chatham where we have our summer home it says property owner and or resident.
Call your town office and find out. Use tax and sales tax are differnet becuse they can not charge sales tax for things bought out of state. Paying 2% is better than 6.25% plus all the savings on the trailers registration, fees, tax etc..
Old 02-26-2020, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by chrismar View Post
I've found threads relating to parts of my situation but none that cover all aspects. Feel free to link me to a similar thread of I missed it!

Just the facts:
  1. I am a MA resident but own a property in ME.
  2. I am buying a boat from a friend (private sale). All paperwork/title should be in order.
  3. The boat/trailer is currently registered/titled in MA.
  4. The boat/trailer will be moored and stored primarily/exclusively in ME
I am curious how you guys would handle registration in this case. I know that the trailer and boat need to be handled separately, but I plan to register both in the same state (be it ME or MA). I am not looking to skirt any laws. I'd like to do this in the most efficient, cost effective, and 100% legal way possible.

Questions:
  1. Should I register them in MA first and then transfer the reg/titles to ME? ...or...
  2. Should I only register them in ME from the start? ...or...
  3. Do I keep the boat registered to MA and just pay the excise tax to ME for being there over 60 days (or is this basically the same scenario as question #1)
  4. If I register it only in ME from the start, do I owe sales tax to MA or ME (or both)?
I am a very confused newbie.

Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated!
your residency doesnt really matter

the boat's residency does

i would take delivery outside of MA, in ME, register and ME, and be done with it

make sure to get a doc from the seller attesting to the location they delivered it to you in
Old 02-26-2020, 02:30 PM
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Thanks guys... this is very helpful!

I will call the relevant town clerk in ME and get their feedback/requirements as well.
Old 02-26-2020, 03:39 PM
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Sell your property in Maine, problem solved.
Old 02-26-2020, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PMaine View Post
Sell your property in Maine, problem solved.
No so much solved, as no longer being able to justify buying the boat... and no one wants that.
Old 02-26-2020, 05:24 PM
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In Maine you WILL pay sales tax and excise tax on both boat and trailer.
Old 02-27-2020, 05:12 AM
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if the sale happens in MA then you owe MA sales tax (residency doesn't matter)--I'm sure of this, although for private sales where the boat immediately leaves the state it is very hard if not impossible for MA to collect this

if the sale happens in ME then you owe ME sales tax (residency doesn't matter)--I'm almost sure of this

if the sale happens outside of ME then you owe any applicable sales tax to the state where the sale occurred and then 2% use tax to ME with credit given for sales tax paid to another state (as long as you're not a ME resident)--this is based on what you said

so, if you take delivery and pass the title in ME you owe ME sales tax (5.5% I think)
if you take delivery and pass title in MA, you owe MA sales tax (6.25%)
but, I think, if you take delivery and pass title in a no-tax state (e.g. NH) then bring the boat to ME, you only owe the special ME use tax of (2%)

that's not advice, just me thinking out loud. make sure the bill of sale details where the boat was delivered and where the title was passed. I would think a notary stamp from a NH notary would be a good idea (some states require a notary on the bill of sale, not sure about ME).
Old 02-27-2020, 06:33 AM
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how big is the boat? If you can document it you can avoid the registration nightmare. You'd still need to figure out your sales tax and trailer info.
Old 02-27-2020, 08:41 AM
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Maine and don't look back.

Personally I've never heard of sales tax dictated by the location of the sale, always collected at the time of registration... I registered a 17' Whaler in Maine as a non- resident- it stays up there, used in the summer, stored in the winter and no one from MA knows or would care.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:53 AM
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We all know about it now!!

the boat is less of an issue than the trailer when it comes to registration. Definitely do that in me
Old 02-28-2020, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tomharty View Post
Maine and don't look back.

Personally I've never heard of sales tax dictated by the location of the sale, always collected at the time of registration... I registered a 17' Whaler in Maine as a non- resident- it stays up there, used in the summer, stored in the winter and no one from MA knows or would care.
If you buy from a broker - they collect the tax. If you are documenting the boat you're not registering it anyway in most states. Technically you need to pay the tax in advance of registering by the 20th of the month after purchase - Proof of sales tax paid (Sales tax form Form ST-6 or Form ST-6E). You can pay this 6.25% tax online at https://mtc.dor.state.ma.us/mtc/_/#2 and print out your receipt.
Old 02-28-2020, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mmerriman View Post
how big is the boat? If you can document it you can avoid the registration nightmare. You'd still need to figure out your sales tax and trailer info.
It's a 17' Bayliner.
Old 02-28-2020, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tomharty View Post
Personally I've never heard of sales tax dictated by the location of the sale,
some states want their cut if the sale takes place in their state or you take delivery in their state, even if used/private party, and sometimes even if you immediately remove. important to always read and understand each state where you buy/take delivery/use boats. they all have different rules and exemptions.

there was a story years and years ago, someone on THT or one of the other forums, got hit with tax bills from several states as they bought in one state, did the Great Loop, and stayed in various states along the way.

Last edited by mystery; 02-28-2020 at 07:21 AM.
Old 02-28-2020, 07:17 AM
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17' - no luck there - you need need to register. good luck.
Old 02-29-2020, 01:32 PM
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Call the town hall of the town you own property in in Maine, they should be able to tell you how to handle it. I have a boat I only use in Maine and I have the boat and trailer both registered in Maine, I bought it from a my neighbor in Maine. It is a very simple in Maine compared to Mass.
Old 04-27-2020, 07:24 PM
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I live in mass also have a place in Maine if you want to save some money and make it easy register the boat in New Hampshire and register the trailer in Maine

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