I have an annual transient moorage agreement to keep my boat in Whittier Harbor. This year, the City of Whittier sent me a nastygram indicating that since I have a transient moorage agreement, my boat is subject to personal property taxation by the City. I wonder whether any of you folks have fought this fight with the City of Whittier before, and if so whether you can provide some feedback.
My position has always been that the tax situs of my boat is the Mat-Su Borough. My boat is located in the Mat-Su Borough from about January 1 - May 15 of each year. We keep it in Big Lake, where my father (who owns 50% of the boat) lives. From about May 15 to September 15, a total of four months, we maintain the boat in Whittier Harbor. From September 15 to December 31, it is back at Burkeshore Marina on Big Lake for storage. The boat is located in the Mat-Su Borough eight months out of the year, including January 1 - the same jurisdiction in which the boat was registered and in which one of the owners lives (I live in Anchorage). The only connection between the vessel and Whittier is the limited time it spends in the harbor for about four months of each year.
The City is bleeding folks dry already with moorage and launch fees and sales tax. They get about $2,000 of my hard-earned dollars each year already. I'm all in favor of paying for city services when I use them, but the City doesn't even keep the floats in a halfway decent condition. Needless to say, I'm not about to hand the City more of my money unless I must.
I think I, and others like me, have a good argument that the tax situs of our boats is not in Whittier, but rather in the jurisdiction in which our boats spend most of the year, especially when that is the jurisdiction in which it was registered and in which one or more of the owners lives. However, I'm not a CPA or tax attorney. Hopefully, somebody can shed some light on this for me. Thanks.