Report takes in-depth look at Mass. boat taxes

BOSTON — An in-depth report in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle examines Massachusetts boating tax code, which is often avoided by keeping boats in neighboring states, and how it could be revised to encourage boaters to stay in the state. Excise tax on boats is also capped at $500 per vessel, regardless of size and value.

There is legislation in the state government to reform the laws, but similar efforts have failed to pass. Currently, boats are taxed based on their length and age, but the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers bill would require that the tax be based on the boat’s retail value.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Pembroke. The key recommended change would raise the tax rate to $25 per $1,000

Not everyone agrees.

“It doesn’t work to have a tax system that is based on manufacturer’s list price. The property just isn’t there,” Jamy Majeda, legal counsel for the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, told the Sun Chronicle.

He argues most Massachusetts boat owners have small pleasure craft, not yachts, and need the $500 cap.

To read the full report, go to: A sinking system

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