Superyachts may soon be allowed to stay in Washington waters tax-free

The U.S Washington maritime industry is celebrating the passage of the Marine Tourism Bill, which passed the state House of Representatives after more than four years in a session held late Tuesday night. The Bill has now been sent on to Governor Jay Inslee for his signature and if signed, will take effect from 1st September 2015.

If successful, the law will allow yachts registered as an LLC, to stay in Washington state waters for up to 180 days before a 10% tax on the value of the vessel is levied. In the past, this tax would be enforced after an LLC-registered or entity-owned yacht stayed more than 60 days.

Greg Mosely, owner of LaCasse Maritime, a superyacht support agency, said, “It’s fabulous news. It’s a victory not only for marine-related businesses, but for the region in general. Because big yachts are more welcomed to stay here, it puts us on a level playing field with states offering the same services.”

This law previously failed to pass the Washington State Legislature in 2013 and was accused of being the reason that superyachts ventured to other parts of the USA.

According to Peter Schrappen of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, “Many say the state is losing money on what critics call a short-sighted and aggressive approach to taxation of these recreational yachts in comparison to any other top-tier marine state.”

The U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) suggests that total annual expenses for a 180-foot yacht amount to $4.75 million, with $250,000 being injected into the local economy by yacht crew and guests on a visit. Schrappen has estimated that the state will see $30 million in new revenue with this change.

He continued, “It’s working people in this state who will benefit from this change, not the yacht owner with the pretty white boat. I think yachts are perceived as a tax break for the rich. In reality they are out-of-state businesses that want to come and spend big money in our state. They have gigantic spending potential.”

This law will apply to both yachts built in and visiting Washington State. 

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