The retail sales of boats and boat motors are subject to either
Boat trailers are subject to motor vehicle sales and use tax.
Because different taxes apply to boats and boat trailers, the seller should always separate the sales price of these items on the sales invoice.
The boat and boat motor sales and use tax applies to the purchase of a boat that is 115 feet or shorter in length, measured in a straight line from the tip of the bow to the stern.
This includes each of the following:
Boat motors subject to boat and boat motor sales and use tax include the following:
The boat and boat motor sales and use tax rate is 6.25 percent. The tax is based on the sale price less any allowance for the trade-in of another boat or boat motor. The total amount of boat sales tax collected on each sale of a taxable boat or boat motor may not exceed $18,750.
For example, a person purchases a boat for $350,000. The boat comes with two outboard motors that are valued at $9,000 per motor. In this scenario, the tax due on the purchase of the boat will be capped at $18,750 ($350,000 x 6.25 percent = $21,875). The purchaser, however, is also required to pay an additional $562.50 in tax on the purchase of each of the two outboard motors included in the sale for a total of $1,125. The total tax collected in this example is $19,875 ($18,750 plus $1,125 = $19,875).
Permitted dealers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) or the County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office (CTAC). If the seller does not collect the tax, the buyer must pay the tax when obtaining the boat’s title and registration from the TPWD or participating CTAC.
A Texas resident who buys a boat or boat motor in another state and brings it into Texas owes the 6.25 percent boat and boat motor use tax. The buyer can receive credit for tax legally due and paid in another state for a boat or boat motor brought into Texas when titling and registering the boat.
Use tax is due on a taxable boat or boat motor purchased in another state and brought into Texas within 45 working days after it is delivered to the purchaser or brought into Texas for use. Boat use tax is 6.25 percent. There is no limit to the amount of use tax due on the use of a taxable boat or boat motor in this state.
A new Texas resident who brings a boat or boat motor into Texas qualifies to pay a $15 new resident tax instead of the 6.25 percent boat and boat motor use tax.
The following entities can buy boats and boat motors tax free:
An individual can buy a boat or boat motor tax-free if
An individual can purchase a temporary use permit (PDF) allowing exempt use in Texas of a taxable boat or boat motor purchased outside of Texas. The fee for the permit is $150 for each boat or boat motor used in this state and is valid for 90 days.
For example, if someone from another state brings their boat into Texas for a fishing tournament, and the boat has two outboard motors, they would need to purchase a temporary use permit for the boat (1 x $150), and one permit for each outboard motor (2 x $150) for a total of $450.
Only two temporary use permits may be issued for the same taxable boat or taxable outboard motor within a calendar year. The second permit in a calendar year may not be issued before the 30th day after the date the first permit expires. Texas Parks and Wildlife issues the temporary use permits.
Limited sales and use tax applies to the purchase of a boat that is greater than 115 feet long measured from the tip of the bow in a straight line to the stern.
Limited sales and use tax also applies to boats designed to be propelled by a paddle, oar or pole, such as the following:
In addition, limited sales and use tax applies to the following transactions:
The limited sales and use tax rate is 6.25 percent state tax, plus any applicable local tax up to 2 percent. If the seller has a Texas sales and use tax permit, the seller collects the tax at the time of sale and remits it to the Comptroller’s office.
If the seller does not collect the tax, the buyer must pay the tax to the Comptroller’s office using Form 01-156, Texas Use Tax Return (PDF). If the buyer has a Texas sales and use tax permit, the buyer can pay it on their next sales and use tax return.
The sale, by the builder, of a ship of eight or more tons of fresh water displacement and used exclusively and directly in a commercial enterprise that is not subject to the boat and boat motor sales and use tax is exempt from limited sales and use tax.
The sale of the following items is exempt when purchased to be used on a ship or vessel of eight or more tons of fresh water displacement and used exclusively and directly in a commercial enterprise, including boats subject to the boat and boat motor sales and use tax:
The sale of the following items is exempt when purchased for use on a ship or vessel operating exclusively in foreign or interstate coastal commerce:
To claim the exemption when buying qualifying items, the buyer must provide the seller a properly completed Form 01-339, Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF).