Maryland bill would cap tax on luxury boats



The Baltimore Boat Show kicked off Thursday at the convention center.

The Baltimore Boat Show kicked off Thursday at the convention center. 








Gary Haber
Staff Reporter- Baltimore Business Journal

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A bill that would cap the state excise tax on luxury boats is scheduled for a hearing Thursday before the House Ways and Means committee.

House Bill 548 would cap the 5 percent excise tax at $10,000 per vessel. That means people buying vessels selling for more than $200,000 would pay the same as those buying boats that sell for $200,000.

The hearing comes on the same day that the Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show begins a four-day run at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Maryland’s boating industry says the measure is needed to keep the state from losing boat sales and jobs to neighboring states like Delaware, which has no excise tax on boats, and Virginia, which caps its excise tax.

“It would absolutely increase sales,” said Walter George, owner of Annapolis Boat Sales Mobile Service in Chester, one of the companies selling boats at the show. At least 20 percent of George’s Maryland customers register their in boats in other states because of Maryland’s high excise tax, he said.

Mark Schulstad, owner of PocketYacht Co. in Grasonville, sells boats that range from $50,000 to $300,000. Capping the excise tax would help boat dealers and the rest of the industry, Schulstad said.

“It will help people in a troubled economy keep boating,” he said.

A legislative analysis found that limiting the excise tax to the first $200,000 of a boat’s value would mean about $3 million a year less in tax collections for the Department of Natural Resources. The state agency uses the money for its Waterway Improvement Fund to dredge the state’s waterways and keep them clear of debris, among other things. DNR also distributes some of the money to local governments to improve their waterways.

Gary Haber covers Banking, Finance, Insurance, Law



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