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Georgia caps sales tax on refits

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The large yacht industry in Georgia is set to benefit from a new law signed by the state’s governor on Monday. Gov. Nathan Deal approved a sales tax break for vessels repaired or refit in the state.

The law caps state sales tax on parts and equipment in a refit at $500,000. Florida legislators passed a similar measure two years ago, but its law caps state sales tax on repairs at $1 million.

Thunderbolt Marine in Savannah, Ga., is one of the marinas set to benefit, said Judy Salzman, project coordinator/administrator at the facility.

“We are genuinely excited about the opportunities that passage of HB125 will present to the marine industry in Georgia,” Salzman said. “And we’re equally excited by the potential benefits, not only to Thunderbolt Marine, but to the city of Savannah.”

Thunderbolt Marine in Savannah, Ga., expects to benefit from this week’s new refit sales tax cap. The yard is adding 400 feet of new rails to its vessel transfer system. The rails allow for efficient movement of yachts in the 50m range on hard-standing space and into each of the fully enclosed service bays. PHOTO PROVIDED

Savannah Yacht Center is another preparing to benefit, said Houstoun Demere, vice-president business development with the company.

“Because of the state’s legislative support, we’re happy to now confirm that construction of the new facilities at Savannah Yacht Center are scheduled for completion in the first half of 2018,” Demere wrote in an email.  “After performing initial maintenance and upgrades to the 140 meter graving dock, we will begin limited operations with the first docking in mid-May. Full scale operations should commence in the latter half of 2018.  Numerous sub-contractors have visited the site and expressed their desire to establish a permanent presence here.  With the help of State and local government, we have begun to bring quality jobs to the Savannah area.”

Under Georgia’s House Bill 125, any parts, engines or equipment above $500,000 that a boat owner spends to repair, retrofit or maintain a boat would be exempt from Georgia sales taxes. The current Georgia sales tax rate ranges from 7 to 8 percent, depending upon the county.

A sunset provision was added for the bill to be automatically repealed in 2025 without further action.

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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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