In what amounts to a major victory for Florida’s struggling marine industry, a measure limiting the sales-use tax on boat purchases now is poised to become law. Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed the larger Jobs for Florida Bill, CS/SB-1752, which contains the Florida Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap legislation on May 28, 2010. The $18,000 Boat Sales and Use Tax Cap will take effect on July 1, 2010, effectively bringing Florida’s boat dealers and brokers into parity with their competitors in other states and nearby countries, where sales taxes on boats have been far lower.
“Thanks to an intense lobbying effort sponsored jointly by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), the Florida Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap has been approved and is about to become law,” said Jeff Erdmann, President of Bollman Yachts of Fort Lauderdale and a member of the FYBA Legislative Committee, which along with MIASF’s Government Relations Committee has spearheaded efforts to pass this landmark legislation. “We want to thank Governor Crist for signing the bill into law, as well as the bold leadership of Representative Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, Senator Don Gaetz, Representative Tom Grady, Representative Will W. Weatherford, and all of the State Legislators who supported our cause.”
The Boat Sales-Use Tax Cap limits the 6-percent Florida state sales tax on a boat purchase or the use tax for currently owned vessels to $18,000, helping Florida save marine industry jobs and, ultimately, increase sales tax revenue. Florida has been losing boat sales and service business and revenue to other states and countries that offered more favorable sales tax treatment. Passage of the cap is expected almost immediately to begin invigorating Florida’s vital marine industry by helping to stimulate boat sales and encourage boat buyers and current owners to register, keep and use their watercraft in the state.
“Florida’s marine industry badly needed this legislation to pass,” said Bob Saxon, FYBA Chief Executive Officer. “We want to thank all our members who heeded our calls to action and wrote their State Legislators urging them to support this important measure. Their efforts have paid off and demonstrate once again that an effective, consistent and well-coordinated grassroots effort can reap positive results.”
MIASF Executive Director Frank Herhold agreed, adding: “Our members spoke loud and clear and, thankfully, our Legislators and Governor Crist responded to the call. Florida offers some of America’s most inviting boating destinations and most experienced marine sales and service professionals. With the passage of this bill, it once again will become a popular place to purchase a vessel, especially for those contemplating purchases over $300,000. Consequently, Florida’s important and vibrant marine industry faces a stronger and brighter future.”