Boats are taxable and subject to annual appraisal. Their value is determined by reviewing the purchase price and the sale of comparable boats. Both boats and airplanes are assessed where habitually situated. Information on boat location and ownership is obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles, The U.S. Coast Guard, referrals from other counties and on-site inspections.
Boats used exclusively for commercial fishing, research or as a party boat may qualify for partial exemption. More information may be obtained by calling the contact information below.
Boat owners pay a registration fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the personal property taxes are paid to the county where the boat is habitually moored or located.
Boat taxes are assessed on the unsecured tax roll. The tax bills are mailed at the end of June and payment is due by August 31 of that year.
Determining the Situs of 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 of the owner is the usual tax situs.
Registration information on boats comes directly from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Boats should be registered at the situs at which they are moored, and this will determine the taxing jurisdiction.
Proof of situs other than DMV registration of domicile could include, but is not limited to receipts of docking fees, proof of registration in another county or state, and/or a copy of an uncanceled current tax bill from another county for said boat.
Notification of Assessment
Upon discovery of your boat/vessel, the Assessor will mail you a "Notice of Vessel Assessment". This notice will provide you with the fair market value that will be enrolled for the upcoming lien date, January 1, and general information regarding the assessment of your vessel.