Kerry avoids Mass. yacht tax

Boston Herald:

Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.

...

Kerry maybe a liberal hypocrite, but he is not stupid. Paying a half a million in state taxes could take a lot of fun out of owning a nice boat. Texas would also charge the sales tax, but it does not have an excise tax. Harris County, at one point tried to levy a property tax against boats, but the rebellion quickly killed that idea.

Boats are a depreciating asset that require a lot of maintenance. Some are more expensive than others. Owning a racing sailboat has been described as the functional equivalent of standing in a cold shower tearing up $100 bills.

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