(CNN) - Sen. John Kerry will voluntarily pay $500,000 in taxes to the state of Massachusetts - a move that forestalls a potential investigation into whether the Bay State's senior senator attempted to evade the hefty levy by docking his $7 million yacht in Rhode Island.
"We've reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and made clear that, whether owed or not, we intend to pay the equivalent taxes as if the boat's home port were currently in Massachusetts," Kerry said in statement. "That payment is being made promptly."
The decision came after Kerry faced a series of questions over why the Massachusetts Democrat decided to dock his new multi-million dollar sloop in neighboring Rhode Island even though it had been reportedly spotted in Massachusetts waters and Kerry maintains residences in Boston and Nantucket.
Rhode Island has been known as a tax-haven for boaters after the state repealed its sales and use tax on boats in the early 1990's. Kerry, who recently purchased the 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island, therefore avoided close to a half-million in taxes.
But the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has long been on the lookout for Bay Staters who dock their boats in Rhode Island and use them in Massachusetts. The Department mandates such boaters file a form with the state so use and excise taxes can be levied. If no form is filed, Massachusetts can take possession of boats it determines use its waters a sufficient number of times, the Boston Globe reports.
The Department of Revenue said Tuesday it had not launched an investigation into the matter.
The senator's office has said Kerry was not seeking to avoid taxes but instead docked the yacht in a Newport, Rhode Island boatyard for "maintenance, upkeep, and charter purposes."