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Sale of yachts in foreign trade zones

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2021 | Maritime Ownership

Buyers and sellers of yachts in the U.S. are taking advantage of favorable laws that have ushered in the establishment of foreign trade zones (FTZs). In years past, if a buyer in the U.S. wanted to purchase a foreign-flagged yacht, he or she would have to pay hefty duties and taxes on the transaction. Now, sellers of yachts may show their vessels, provide test runs and sell their property without the buyer taking on the 1.5 percent duty that used to be applied.

These stringent regulations once deterred many from transacting in the yacht industry. In 2015, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) petitioned to create a 16-site marine-industry subzone within an existing FTZ in the city. The creation of that site in 2017 has transformed the yacht industry in Florida, opening doors to commerce and revenue that were once shut.

Benefits beyond buying and selling

FTZs have lifted many restrictions that once hampered the buying and selling of yachts in the U.S. Other benefits of FTZs include:

  • Foreign-flagged yachts in FTZs under repair may leave U.S. waters without additional taxes or duties
  • Imported yacht parts are also exempt from duties as long as they are in FTZs
  • Crew members may stay onboard while the yacht is in port

If you are buying or selling a yacht in the U.S. and have concerns about avoiding unnecessary duties, taxes and other expenses, consult with an attorney who has experience in this niche area of law. With experienced legal guidance, you can avoid hidden problems while seizing opportunities that may otherwise have been hidden from view.