Boat owners in Maine, who buy their boats in other states, but use them in Maine, may find an unexpected tax bill in their mailbox.
Maine Revenue Services says boat owners must pay a use tax of up to 5 percent if they bought their boat in another state that doesn't require sales taxes for boats, brought it into Maine within the first year of ownership and had it available to use for at least 30 days, The Associated Press reports.
Critics claim the tax and its strict enforcement are having a chilling effect on boaters and discouraging tourism.
A retired Maine businessman thought he was helping the local economy in 2005 when he spent more than $100,000 in Portland, Maine on repairs to his 72-foot yacht, newly purchased in Florida.
But, more than a year later, Tom Toye III received a $60,000 bill from Maine Revenue Services for "use taxes" on the boat.
Toye appealed and later sued the state tax assessor, claiming the vessel shouldn't be taxed in Maine. Last week, he lost his case in Maine Superior Court. With interest and penalties accruing, he says the bill has grown to about $120,000.
"I'm just infuriated about the whole thing," Toye told The Associated Press.