Budget includes sales-tax carveout for yachts

ALBANY—A measure in New York’s state budget would exempt very expensive boats from sales tax, under an agreed-upon budget bill printed over the weekend.

The so-called “yacht credit” has not been part of the budget discussion this year, but it appeared quietly over the weekend in a revenue bill, under section SS, that would exempt any portion of the purchase of a boat above $230,000 from sales tax.

The idea of the yacht sales tax exemption isn’t entirely new. As Capital reported last year, a so-called “clean-up” budget bill that was never introduced would have also contained some kind of sales tax exemption for expensive boats.

Ron Deutsch, executive director of the left-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute, called the measure “pretty ironic.”


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“We could not agree on property tax relief for struggling homeowners but somehow we can agree that people who are purchasing yachts shouldn’t have to pay sales tax in New York,” Deutsch said. “I wasn’t aware that there was a huge yacht lobby that was pushing for this. This really kind of seemed to come out of nowhere, and I’m surprised to see it in the final revenue bill.”

“The ironic part is that your average Joe in New York who wants to go out and buy a small 16-foot bass fishing boat for his own personal use will actually pay sales tax, but someone going out and buying a yacht isn’t going to be subject to the same tax,” Deutsch said.



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