FAQs - Sales & Use Tax: Motor Vehicles & Watercraft

How are taxes calculated on a brokered watercraft sale?

The sale of watercraft, outboard motors and parts thereof made by boat dealers and/or brokers are deemed to be sales subject to the sales or use tax regardless of who holds title to such watercraft, outboard motors or parts prior to the sale.

Tax Commissioner Rule 5703-9-40, dated Feb. 24, 1965, reads as follows:

"Persons engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property who are authorized, engaged or employed to sell tangible personal property belonging to another are the vendors of such tangible personal property and shall be responsible for the proper collection and remittance of the sales tax with respect to such sales.

"Persons engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property shall include persons who hold themselves out to the public as conducting a business regardless of whether the merchandise sold is owned by them or by other persons who have authorized, engaged or employed them to sell tangible personal property.”

Therefore, persons who represent themselves as dealers and/or brokers and make sales of tangible personal property on their own behalf or on behalf of others must collect the tax on all such sales unless otherwise exempted. Such dealers and/or brokers are required to have a vendor's license or out-of-state seller’s use tax registration with the State of Ohio for the collection and remittance of tax.  Tax must be paid by the dealer/broker as follows:

(a) On titled watercraft and/or outboard motors, the dealer/broker will remit the proper amount of tax [net of discount when the dealer/broker has a vendor’s license or an out-of-state seller’s registration (99-XXXXXX)] to the Clerk of Courts at the rate for the purchaser’s county of residence.

(b) On watercraft that are not required to be titled, documented watercraft or accessories and parts, the dealer/broker will remit the proper amount of tax to the Department of Taxation on the dealer/broker’s tax return. This remittance will be net of discount if the return is timely filed and the amount of tax that is due is paid in full. The tax rate to collect would be: Before July 1, 2005, the rate in effect in the dealer/broker’s county or customer’s county if the dealer/broker is located outside Ohio. After July 1, 2005, the rate in the county where the customer takes possession of the watercraft or accessories.

**** Special Notes ****

If the dealer/broker is licensed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a watercraft dealer, the “price” for calculating sales tax may be reduced by any watercraft or outboard motor taken in trade by the dealer/broker.

Failure to comply with all statutory reporting and payment requirements will subject the dealer or broker to an assessment for the unreported or unpaid sales or use tax.