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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3436         FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3020

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Stephen Stat Smith, (BY REQUEST)

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to marine vessels.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Ron Keohan, MAA

Deputy Assessor
Town of Saugus
298 Central Street
Saugus, MA 01906


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3436        FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3020

By Mr. Smith of Everett (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3020) of Ron Keohan relative to the excise tax on marine vessels.  Revenue. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

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An Act relative to marine vessels.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

              “Vessel”, every watercraft, including documented boats and ships, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, and includes all equipment, including mode of power, and furnishings that are normally required aboard the vessel during accomplishment of the functions for which the vessel is being utilized.

              “Habitually moored or docked”, the place where the owner has usual mooring or dockage for the summer season.

              “Principally situated”, for a registered ship or vessel where it is registered, and for a non-registered ship or vessel, whether documented or not, the city or town in Massachusetts where it is principally located during the calendar year.

              Section 2. (a) Except as hereinafter provided there shall be assessed and levied by each city and town in each fiscal year on every vessel, and its equipment, for the privilege of using the waterways of the commonwealth, an excise measured by the value thereof, as hereinafter defined and determined, at the rate of twenty five dollars per thousand of valuation.

              (b) Any person who owns such a vessel on July first shall annually, on or before September first, make a return on oath to the assessors of the city or town where such vessel is habitually moored or docked between July 1st and August 31st, or in the case of a vessel which has no mooring or docking space, where said vessel is principally situated, setting forth the vessel’s registration or documentation number, if any; an adequate description; and the place of habitual mooring or docking or other principal location of said vessel.

              (c) For the purpose of computing the excise under this chapter, the value of each such vessel, and its equipment, including any engine or motor used to propel said vessel, shall be deemed to be the value, as determined by the commissioner of revenue, of vessels and equipment of the same make, type, model and year of manufacture as designated by the manufacturer, but not in excess of the following percentages of the list price established by the manufacturer for the year of manufacture:

              In the year of manufacture ………..90%

              In the second year …………….…...60%

              In the third year …………………...40%

              In the fourth year ……………….....25%

              In the fifth and succeeding years …10%.

              (d) The payment of such excise shall exempt such owner from any other tax applicable to said vessels and their equipment under chapter fifty-nine.

              (e) If an owner fails to make such a return within the time herein provided, the assessors may abate the tax otherwise imposed by this chapter if such owner provides the assessors with a reasonable excuse for failure to file such return and if the return is filed on or before October thirty-first of the year in which the tax is assessed; but no abatement hereunder shall reduce the tax otherwise imposed to an amount less than the sum of the excise imposed by this section plus fifty per cent thereof.

              (f) Said excise shall be assessed in the city or town where the vessel is habitually moored or docked July 1st to August 31st, or in the case of a ship or vessel which has no mooring or docking space, where the ship or vessel is principally situated; provided, however, that if more than one municipality owns property in a harbor, the municipality which maintains such harbor in which the vessel is habitually moored, docked or situated shall assess and collect said excise; and provided, further, that where more than one municipality maintains portions of the harbor, the municipality which maintains that portion of the harbor in which the vessel is habitually moored, docked or situated shall assess and collect said excise.

              (g) Owners or managers of marinas, yacht clubs, and boat storage yards shall annually provide the Board of Assessors with a list of all vessels moored or docked at their facility between July 1st and August 31st.  Said list shall contain the vessel owners’ name, address, boat registration and a description as required in section k.

              (h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the board of assessors from granting an abatement in any case in which the excise aforesaid is, in the opinion of the board, excessive. No abatement can be less than $5.00 and no abatement can reduce the tax to less than $5.00.

              (i) If during any fiscal year ownership of a boat subject to an excise under this chapter is transferred by sale or otherwise, or if during any fiscal year the owner of a boat subject to such an excise removes to another state and registers the boat in such other state and surrenders or does not renew his registration in this state, the excise under this chapter shall be reduced, upon application, by an abatement equal to the proportion of an excise under this chapter on such boat for the full fiscal year which the number of months in said year remaining after the month in which such transfer by sale or otherwise or such surrender or expiration of registration occurs bears to twelve.

              (j) All sums received from the excise imposed under this chapter shall be paid into the treasury of the city or town and fifty per cent of said excise shall be credited to the municipal waterways improvement and maintenance fund established under the provisions of section five G of chapter forty.

              (k) Applications for the registration of vessels shall be made by the owner thereof. The application shall contain, in addition to such other particulars as may be required by the Massachusetts Environmental Police, a statement of the name, current driver’s license number or social security number, place of residence and address if one has been issued. The application shall also contain the apartment number or unit number if the applicant's address is in an apartment house, or family hotel, or a condominium, or a residential flat, or in a combined business and residential property. The application shall also contain a brief description of the vessel, including the name of the maker, year of manufacture and length such number or numbers as may be required by the Massachusetts Environmental Police to properly identify the vessel, the character of the motor power, if any, and no owner or any business partner of the applicant of a vessel shall be entitled to or issued a certificate of number unless such owner has included with the application for such certificate proof of payment of the full amount of the excise due, if any, under Chapter 60B for the prior fiscal year.  The registration fee as required by The Environmental Police shall accompany such application.

              The Environmental Police shall register in a book, or upon suitable index to be kept for the purpose, the vessel described in the application, giving to the vessel a distinguishing mark or number to be known as the registration number for that vessel, and shall thereupon issue to the applicant a certificate of registration. The certificate shall contain the current name, place of residence and address of the applicant and the register number or mark, and shall be in such form and contain such further information as the registrar may determine.  The Environmental Police shall provide the cities and town a current list of all vessels registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts no later than October 1st.

              Section 3. The excise imposed by this chapter shall not apply to vessels described in section eight of chapter fifty-nine and in section sixty-seven of chapter sixty-three; to vessels owned by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof; to law enforcement vessels; to vessels under construction; to ferries; to boats, fishing gear and nets owned and actually used by the owner in the prosecution of his business if engaged exclusively in commercial fishing, with a total value of ten thousand dollars or less; nor to other vessels with a value of five thousand dollars or less. Said exemptions shall not subject said vessels and their equipment to any other tax under section four of chapter fifty-nine.

              Section 4. The board of assessors, upon assessing the excise imposed by this chapter, shall commit the same to the collector of taxes with their warrant for the collection thereof. The collector of taxes shall seasonably notify the owner of the excise assessed and the due date, but failure to receive notice shall not affect the validity of the excise. Said excise shall be due and payable at the expiration of sixty days from the date upon which the notice was issued by the collector pursuant to this chapter.

              Failure to pay said excise by the due date shall result in a penalty being imposed which shall be equal to twenty dollars or twenty per cent of the amount of the excise due, whichever is greater. The penalty shall be in addition to the amount of excise due and any interest thereon imposed by law. If said excise remains unpaid after the due date, the harbormaster of a city or town shall refuse to allow the vessel to moor, dock, or otherwise be situated within the waterways of said city or town. All sums received from said penalty shall be credited to the Municipal Waterways Improvement and Maintenance Fund, established under the provisions of clause (72) of section five of chapter forty.

              Section 5. The provisions of law relative to the collection, payment, abatement, verification and administration of the motor vehicle excise imposed under chapter sixty A shall so far as pertinent apply to the excise imposed under this chapter.

              Section 6. The Massachusetts Environmental Police shall annually transmit to all Massachusetts Boards of Assessors list of all ships or vessels documented as of July first under the laws of the United States whose owners reside in Massachusetts. The boat list shall include for each boat the name and residence of the registered owner, the documentation number, type, length, and model year of the boat and type and horsepower of the engine or motor used to propel said boat and the city or town in which it is habitually moored or docked.

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