Boaters fear state tax is scaring large yachts away

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 9 at 11:41 AM

With two of the world's largest yachts now docked in Seattle, Serene and Vibrant Curiosity, boating officials are speaking out about a little known tax that they say is scaring away large yachts.

In the state of Washington, a 10 percent tax is imposed on the value of the boat if an out of town yacht is docked in state waters for more than 60 days. The boat must be registered as an LLC, which most super yachts are.

The Department of Revenue says the tax is a way to prevent wealthy people from avoiding taxes. There is a similar tax on RV's, but the tax is not imposed until after 6 months.

"We are seeing a lot of boats not stopping in Seattle," said Peter Schrappen with the Northwest Marine Trade Association. The association estimates $30 million is lost each year in the local economy due to the tax.

The association is gaining support for a 'marine tourism bill' that would increase the stay time for a out of town yacht to 180 days. The bill didn't make it through the last legislative session.

"We don't have a tourism office, we are not doing a great job competing with our neighbors up north, but we do have a solution in Marine tourism bill," said Schrappen.

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