Charleston boat, marina owners bellyache over state's 180-day tax rule

Image by Flickr user Marty.FM

It's an issue that seems to come around each Fall: Big boat owners fret over state tax rules that would lead to big bills if they stick around in Charleston County waters for more than 180 days.

Stick around for that long and they risk being taxed as not a visitor in our waters but a resident.

And they say that county rule (by default South Carolina's window is much shorter) makes them flee with their big boats to tax-free zones, taking their business and their crews' paychecks along with them. And marinas, like Charleston City Marina on the Ashley River, don't like what it does to their slip rentals either.

The Post and Courier has a nice report on the matter; take a read here.

On the flip side, while boat owners say they'd stick around longer if the tax rates were more reasonable, some South Carolina counties have lowered the rates without a noticeable uptick in boat registrations. I suspect its pretty hard to compete with a 100% reduction and warmer winter months in places like Florida.

Worth a footnote is that the marina is looking for approval on a $5 million expansion to add 40 boat slips.