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Advice Please - MA Use Tax

Old 04-03-2019, 06:32 PM
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Default Advice Please - MA Use Tax

I purchased a new 21 foot boat in NH over 6 months ago and have not brought it back on trailer to MA where I am a resident. It is currently in storage at the marina i bought it at. I am looking into getting it registered in NH or MA and leaning towards MA. I am thinking about applying for an exemption for paying the use tax but have read the DOR is fairly aggressive at collecting.The Use tax would be about $2500 so not crazy but not chump change either.

From the MA Personal Use tax website:.
"If you purchase these items outside of Massachusetts and bring them into Massachusetts within 6 months for permanent use, a use tax is due by the 20th day of the following month when it entered Massachusetts.
For example, if you purchased a motor vehicle in New Hampshire on January 1st and brought it into Massachusetts on June 30, a use tax would be due by July 20th.
After 6 months, the Department of Revenue may assert that a purchase is subject to use tax if it was always intended for use, storage or consumption in Massachusetts."

Looking for some advice on some options:I

1.) I plan on using in it NH and MA with probably slightly more days in the water in NH but no where near over 30 days in either (have to work so mostly limited to long weekend use)
2.) How do i show my intention was not always to bring it back to MA? Could I rent dock space for a year register it in NH and then bring it to MA the following year without paying use tax? Based on some of the other forum posts it seems like no.
3.) Pay the use tax and be done with it.

Thanks All!







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Old 04-03-2019, 07:35 PM
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From a legal stand point its my understanding that as soon as a Mass resident crosses the border with an out of state purchased you're legally obligated to pay sales tax (Within a certain amount of days). Now... if its not registered in Mass and its "Stored" in NH then you are not required to pay sales tax. If your trailering, you pretty much have to throw Mass plates on the trailer, pay sales on the trailer and you will pay excise on the trailer as well. but you can still "Store" the boat in tax free NH. Also Mass charges an excise tax on registered boats. At one point I did do some research as far as out of state boaters in Mass water, it was something like the majority (51% ) of the time your vessel needed to stay in the other state and not be in Mass for more than 60 consecutive days or you would be required to register in Mass. Again whos checking... I don't know?

My personal concern is if I ever had a run in with someone knowledgeable what would be the outcome of a Mass resident with a boat registered in NH with Mass plates on the trailer.... in Massachusetts (I think it would be expensive!)

Basically if it enters Mass ever and you're a Mass resident and you want to be in the right... cough it up.

For what its worth we're on our 3rd NH boat as Mass residents (2 that have stayed full time in NH)
1 from FL .
1 from CT.

I know this isn't super clear cut but its my experiences.
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:53 AM
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You can also call the MA DoR directly I did this last week, and their is a guy in the office that specializes in these boat questions. The biggest sticking point is if the transaction and exchange of goods occurred in NH.

I do know of some ambiguity with the interpretation of the 60 consecutive days. In one case, use was defined as actually using the boat, not where it is kept on the trailer.

At the end of the day, MA will collect (with interest) if they are aware. But I can also tell you the there are more boats than imaginable slipped all summer all over the state with registrations from NH, FL, etc..
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:29 AM
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I can't imagine why you would even consider paying mass since you have no reason to do so. Keep it registered in NH.
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:37 AM
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These threads come up almost once a month on here. You need to pay tax wherever the boat is going to get used/stored. If it's going to be at a marina/slip in Mass, you'll need to pay the tax. If it's in NH, you'd be subject to whatever their tax law is. If it's on a trailer, you will like need to follow the rule of whatever state the trailer is registered in
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:21 AM
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if it were me I would wait as long as possible before bringing it to MA, and then when finally brought to MA in some sort of an 'official' manner (e.g. renting a slip, registering, etc) file a MA ST-6E online first. it will ask when you bought it, where you live, when you first brought it to MA, etc. this will determine whether or not you have to pay the MA use tax. I have done this successfully (brought a boat from a non-tax state to MA after 6 months and filed a ST-6E without having to pay use tax). just my opinion. what I would not do is bring it to MA and cross my fingers. that may very well end up with penalties & interest.
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nrwparadise View Post
I purchased a new 21 foot boat in NH over 6 months ago and have not brought it back on trailer to MA where I am a resident. It is currently in storage at the marina i bought it at. I am looking into getting it registered in NH or MA and leaning towards MA. I am thinking about applying for an exemption for paying the use tax but have read the DOR is fairly aggressive at collecting.The Use tax would be about $2500 so not crazy but not chump change either.

From the MA Personal Use tax website:.
"If you purchase these items outside of Massachusetts and bring them into Massachusetts within 6 months for permanent use, a use tax is due by the 20th day of the following month when it entered Massachusetts.
For example, if you purchased a motor vehicle in New Hampshire on January 1st and brought it into Massachusetts on June 30, a use tax would be due by July 20th.
After 6 months, the Department of Revenue may assert that a purchase is subject to use tax if it was always intended for use, storage or consumption in Massachusetts."

Looking for some advice on some options:I

1.) I plan on using in it NH and MA with probably slightly more days in the water in NH but no where near over 30 days in either (have to work so mostly limited to long weekend use)
2.) How do i show my intention was not always to bring it back to MA? Could I rent dock space for a year register it in NH and then bring it to MA the following year without paying use tax? Based on some of the other forum posts it seems like no.
3.) Pay the use tax and be done with it.

Thanks All!
if you are even thinking about trying to get an exemption, i sure hope you have had the boat registered the past 6 months and it hasnt been sitting unregistered

it is much easier to get exemptions when you can say hey i already own the boat, here is the registration from another state, and keep the bill of sale to yourself

MA is one of the most aggressive states when it comes to this stuff
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Old 04-05-2019, 05:55 AM
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Thanks again to everyone for chiming in. I agree with mystery that without having the boat registered in NH already, the exemption is likely to be challenged and unfortunately, I would expect to lose. I decided that for my situation, I am just going to pay the use tax so i can bring the boat back to MA and move on. Hurts me a little due to the 6 month interpretation but for me to be comfortable, i would need to keep the boat out of MA for 12 months and definitely have it registered in another state.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by nrwparadise View Post
Thanks again to everyone for chiming in. I agree with mystery that without having the boat registered in NH already, the exemption is likely to be challenged and unfortunately, I would expect to lose. I decided that for my situation, I am just going to pay the use tax so i can bring the boat back to MA and move on. Hurts me a little due to the 6 month interpretation but for me to be comfortable, i would need to keep the boat out of MA for 12 months and definitely have it registered in another state.
not a crazy idea...but why not just try for the st-6e exemption. don't lie, don't hide anything, just fill out the form honestly and see what happens. what do you have to lose?
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:33 AM
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I think the risk would be additional penalties/interest and loss of registration until i paid the use tax.

If i was to fill out the ST6-E form, what would my explanation under the other category ( it just says explain here)?
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by CCBayFisher View Post
You can also call the MA DoR directly I did this last week, and their is a guy in the office that specializes in these boat questions. The biggest sticking point is if the transaction and exchange of goods occurred in NH.

I do know of some ambiguity with the interpretation of the 60 consecutive days. In one case, use was defined as actually using the boat, not where it is kept on the trailer.

At the end of the day, MA will collect (with interest) if they are aware. But I can also tell you the there are more boats than imaginable slipped all summer all over the state with registrations from NH, FL, etc..
Do you know/remember the name of the gentleman that answers these types of questions? I have some questions about this sort of situation myself and want to be compliant.
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chainsaw42 View Post
not a crazy idea...but why not just try for the st-6e exemption. don't lie, don't hide anything, just fill out the form honestly and see what happens. what do you have to lose?
agree, worth a shot!
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Old 04-05-2019, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BOSBoatMan View Post
Do you know/remember the name of the gentleman that answers these types of questions? I have some questions about this sort of situation myself and want to be compliant.
I think it is on my notes at work. I do know he leaves by 330/4 according to the other person I spoke with. Definitely call the DOR though---they were extremely helpful about other tax questions I had, and it was a positive experience.

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Old 04-05-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nrwparadise View Post
I think the risk would be additional penalties/interest and loss of registration until i paid the use tax.

If i was to fill out the ST6-E form, what would my explanation under the other category ( it just says explain here)?
If you really want to pay Assachusetts the taxes then by all means do so. The rule for boats is you can register it where you use it the most. Unless you have it slipped somewhere, no one has any say in it but you.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
If you really want to pay Assachusetts the taxes then by all means do so. The rule for boats is you can register it where you use it the most. Unless you have it slipped somewhere, no one has any say in it but you.
Not accurate

You register a boat where it needs to be registered based on the state's requirements

That can very well mean registering in MULTIPLE states
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:35 PM
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If you boat mostly in NH I fail to see why you would register it in Mass. I registered my trailer in Mass because you can't register a trailer in NH without residency and I registered the boat in NH where we use it at our family cottage. We will occasionally put in the charles or take it to my brother in laws down the cape, I am not registering it in Mass for those uses. My parents did this for the 15 years they had a boat and I have done it for the past 3 I have had mine and never had a single issue. I think you are over thinking this....
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Juiced06GTO View Post
If you boat mostly in NH I fail to see why you would register it in Mass. I registered my trailer in Mass because you can't register a trailer in NH without residency and I registered the boat in NH where we use it at our family cottage. We will occasionally put in the charles or take it to my brother in laws down the cape, I am not registering it in Mass for those uses. My parents did this for the 15 years they had a boat and I have done it for the past 3 I have had mine and never had a single issue. I think you are over thinking this....
legally you need to register in mass too if you are in the water for a certain number of days

again, for some its necessary to register in multiple states. some get away with not doing that but some states do keep a close eye. mass is one of those states that keeps a close eye.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:13 AM
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Just ask John Kerry

Last edited by casco_schooner; 04-12-2019 at 06:14 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
legally you need to register in mass too if you are in the water for a certain number of days

again, for some its necessary to register in multiple states. some get away with not doing that but some states do keep a close eye. mass is one of those states that keeps a close eye.

The rule is you are supposed to register in the state where the boat will be used the majority of the the time. How the hell can you use a boat the majority of the time in multiple states?
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
The rule is you are supposed to register in the state where the boat will be used the majority of the the time. How the hell can you use a boat the majority of the time in multiple states?
no its not, you are misinformed

each state sets its own rules

plenty of states say things like use the boat in our state for 60-90+ days and it needs to be registered here. some will even tax you on top of registration with use tax. i sure think some people use their boats in multiple states for 60 days. that is probably why i see some boats with state decals for multiple states.

again, you might be able to get away with it but some states are very strict, walk the docks, etc
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