Florida yacht tax exemption moves forward in House

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's House Finance and Tax Committee unanimously approved a bill on Monday that would exempt buyers of yachts and private planes from paying the full 6 percent sales tax on their purchase, according to a story in the Miami Herald.

The measure, called the Aviation and Maritime Full Employment Act, would cap the sales tax on boats and planes that cost more than $300,000 at $18,000, the paper reports.

Lawmakers reasoned that Florida residents are currently avoiding sales taxes by buying their planes and boats out of state and storing them elsewhere or registering them in a tax-friendly location such as the Cayman Islands until the tax no longer applies after six months.

Since most boat and plane owners pay substantial amounts on repairs and maintenance in the first six months of ownership, the state is losing out on those expenditures, according to the bill's sponsor Rep. Tom Grady, R-Naples.

"I don't feel like we're giving a tax break to anybody because the people who we're targeting aren't paying the tax anyway," said Rep. John Wood, R-Bartow, according to the report, "so what we're doing is a revenue generator.''

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