Florida’s $18,000 cap on sales tax for yacht purchases was a boon to buyers and the South Florida marine industry, but there were unintended consequences. The cap made yachts hailing from Florida targets in the eyes of state tax authorities elsewhere on the East Coast.
To educate the yachting community about this and other “fine print” threats to the enjoyment of their vessels, Yachts International is sponsoring twin seminars by veteran maritime lawyer Todd Lochner during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November.
Under the heading “Boat Show Briefing,” owners and buyers are invited on Nov. 6 to attend “Staying Two Steps Ahead of the Taxman” at 1 p.m. and “How to Hire Captains & Crew” at 3 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina Hotel. A free shuttle will take attendees to and from the boat show.
The taxation seminar is designed for any owner who has a yacht registered in a low-tax state and wants to cruise the East Coast. The hiring seminar is for owners who need crew to operate their boats or intend to place them in charter. Using examples from case files, Lochner details ways to avoid falling victim to ruthless enforcement policies in high-tax states and the potentially damaging peculiarities of maritime employment law.
“Failure to heed tax laws, which are complicated and vary from state to state, can cost yacht owners hundreds of thousands of dollars and sloppy employment practices can result in expensive litigation,” Lochner said in a statement.