The Rhode Island Advantage: No Sales Tax on Boats

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Author Michael Tougias Comes to Providence Boat Show to Recount a Riveting Sea Story
January 10, 2017
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The Rhode Island Advantage: No Sales Tax on Boats

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Every boater has a budget—whether it’s in the hundreds, or thousands, or millions. Regardless of that figure, we all want to stretch our dollars as far as they will go. One way you can do that is to come to the Providence Boat Show and learn about the Ocean State’s no-sales-tax policy on boats and boating services.  

Save in the Ocean State

Rhode Island has a no-sales-tax policy on boats and boating services. The policy was put into effect in 1993, thanks to the efforts of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, the trade association for the state’s marine industry.  There is also no property tax on boats in Rhode Island.

Boating is important to the economic life of the state, and policy makers have long recognized the benefits of fostering the health of Rhode Island’s marine trades while also attracting more boaters to its shores.

As you search for new or brokerage boats at the boat show, ask dealers and brokers how the no-sales-tax policy can apply to your situation. The rule can apply to boats that are purchased in Rhode Island and registered in the state.

Boating Services are Included

The no-sales-tax policy also applies to boating services. That means repairs, refits, storage, dockage and mooring fees. You won’t pay sales tax on these services—except for the parts and products used in any work you have done to your boat.

The Providence show is a great place to research Ocean State marinas as a potential for winter storage and refit and repair work. You’ll meet the owners and managers of excellent outfits located in the state.

And don’t overlook the fact that Rhode Island’s high concentration of boat builders, marinas, and service providers brings with it a highly trained and technical workforce.

No Property Tax on Boats

If you live in a state that neighbors Rhode Island, you can also use the Providence Boat Show as a way to research the marinas you can call home for the boating season. Since Rhode Island does not charge property tax on boats, those who make the Ocean State their boating home don’t pay those taxes year after year.

When you talk to marinas exhibiting at the show, ask them about their local waters as well. You may just discover that their local fishing and cruising grounds are ones you and your family and friends will enjoy exploring together.

According to the latest statistics, approximately half of the registered boaters in Rhode Island live in other states—so if you are not a resident of Rhode Island, you will be joining many others who have decided that an Ocean State berth is the way to go.

All these policies benefit the boating industry in Rhode Island as well as the consumers who choose to take advantage of the state’s policies. “These policies are such a strong incentive to buy your boat in Rhode Island and to keep it here!” says Wendy Mackie, CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.