AUGUSTA — Legislation signed on April 9 by Maine Gov. John Baldacci provides the Maine boatbuilding industry with a valuable bargaining chip in luring business to the state. The tax previously being charged on new boat construction, repair and maintenance has been eliminated or seriously reduced in some cases.
Susan Swanton, the executive director of Maine Marine Trades Association, who lobbied extensively for the repeal, put it simply. “All we want is the opportunity to sell some more boats. The more boats we sell, the more people we can employ, and the more money we can bring for our industry and everybody else,” she said. “These people spend money in lot of other places than just the boatyards. It should hit just about everybody in a good way.”
The new law states that non-residents are exempt from sales tax on new vessels, or the materials used in maintenance of watercraft as long as the boat leaves state waters within 30 days.
If the boat remains in state waters for more than 30 days within the 12 months following its purchase, the tax rate will be 2 percent – a 60 percent exemption of the current rate of 5 percent.
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