Boats & Aircraft Tax Assessment Information

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Boats & Aircraft Tax Assessment Information

Aircraft and Marine Vessels

Private aircraft are taxed at the location of the airport or hangar where they are usually kept. Commercialcertificated aircraft are taxed on an apportioned basis in each county to which flights are made. Vessels in excessof $400 in value are generally assessed where they are habitually located. A small boat not habitually kept at amooring, but lifted from the water and trailered to the owner’s residence or other location, is taxed at the locationwhere it is usually kept.

Authority to Tax

The California Constitution and the Revenue and Taxation Code state that all property is taxable (including boats and other vessels such as jet skis) unless the property is specifically exempt by law.

Boat/vessel owners pay a license fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but the personal property taxes are payable to the county in which the boat/vessel is moored or located. If you own a boat/vessel in California on the tax lien date(January 1, 12:01 AM), you are responsible for the property tax levied by the county that has jurisdiction.

Boat/vessel property taxes are assessed on the unsecured tax roll. The tax bills are generally mailed during the first week of July and full payment is due by August 31.

Situs of the Boat/Vessel

Section 14 of the California Constitution states, “All property taxed by the local government shall be assessed in the county, city, and district in which it is situated.” Revenue and Taxation Code Section 1141 further provides that “boats shall be assessed where they are habitually moored when not in use.” Domicile (residence) of the boat/vessel owner is the usual tax situs (location). However, proof that the boat/vessel is habitually moored or located elsewhere when not in use overrides that presumption.

Registration information on boats/vessels is obtained directly from the DMV. Boats/vessels are required to be registered at their principal location, and this determines the county that has taxing jurisdiction. It is important to provide the DMV with timely, accurate information regarding the status of your boat/vessel.

Proof of location other than the DMV registration address may include receipts of docking fees, verification of registration in another county or state, and/or a copy of a paid tax bill from another county.

Value of the Boat/Vessel

The initial taxable value of a boat/vessel is determined from marine market value guides and information provided by the taxpayer on the Vessel Property Statement (BOE-576-D). Adjustments for actual condition are made, as appropriate. Boat/vessel values for subsequent years are generally derived using depreciation rates calculated from marine market value guides. Boats/vessels subject to low value resolutions, enacted by some counties, are not assessed. Check with your county assessor.

Damage (beyond normal wear and tear) to a boat/vessel must be documented in order to receive consideration for value adjustment.

Non-commercial Aircraft

The California Revenue and Taxation Code requires the annual assessment of non- commercial aircraft as of the tax lien date (January 1, 12:01 AM). Information on registered aircraft owners in the county is obtained from F.A.A. records, airport operators, physical inspections, and referrals from other jurisdictions.

Aircraft owners are requested to file an Aircraft Property Statement (BOE-577) each year. This form assists the Assessor in determining the fair market value of the aircraft.

Property statements are mailed to aircraft owners in January and are required to be returned by April 1. The statement should be completed in its entirety, with as much detail as possible regarding the condition of the aircraft. Instructions are located on the back of the form.

Aircraft market value guides are the primary source for determining taxable values. Information (current engine and airframe hours, status of paint and upholstery, etc.) provided on the Aircraft Property Statement will allow the Assessor to make appropriate value adjustments (if necessary) based on the actual condition of the aircraft. The Assessor may request additional information.

If an aircraft was sold, destroyed, or permanently removed from the County prior to January 1, this information should be documented and provided to the Assessor. Attach a copy of the aircraft bill of sale, if sold. The sale or removal of an aircraft after lien date does not relieve the owner of the tax liability for the upcoming fiscal year. The taxes are not prorated.

Aircraft of historical significance may be eligible for exemption, if certain criteria are met. A Claim for Exemption from Property Taxes of Aircraft of Historical Significance form (BOE-260- B) and supplemental information must be filed by February 15 to receive full exemption (if the aircraft is eligible).


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