July 28th, 2010
11:16 AM ET
12 years ago

Kerry pays big for luxury yacht

(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Rhode Island has been known as a tax-haven for boaters after the state repealed its sales and use tax on boats in the early 1990's. Kerry, who recently purchased the 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island, therefore avoided close to a half-million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."

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. America's Leadership: The-New-Three-Stooges: Obama, Pelosi, & Reid

    So THIS is how the DemocRATS have "drained the swamp"??!!!

    Just ANOTHER stinking DemocRAT tax cheat and evader! They just LOVE to TAX everybody else and spend like drunken fools. Rangel, now Kerry. I think every member of Congress needs to be thoroughly audited and the cheats driven from office. Where's the "zero tolerance" for this type of BS.


    July 28, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Ohio Dem

    No investigation required... He tried to evade taxes, the public called him out on it, he buckled under the pressure and decided to pay. Pretty simple. Had he gone through with it, the public's reaction during an election would have been far worse the anything an investigation found (unless there is something deeper)...


    July 28, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Lisa

    So who could blame him? IMHO, this is not like avoiding your income tax (Geithner), hiding money offshore (all those rich people in the Bahamas or Switzerland) or paying illegal help off the books, rather it's like making a choice between stores in some ways. Shop at Target versus shopping at Macy's. If he docks in Rhode Island it will more of an inconvenience and that is a choice he's making to save money, right?

    July 28, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Don

    Lurch should rename his yacht the “SS Hypocrite”

    July 28, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Mike

    Funny. He 'reached out' after he was caught, and ONLY because he was caught. Join the Rangel club of tax cheats.

    July 28, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. southern cousin

    And still the Nutwork Nations who read this article found a way to blame the Republicans, Bush and Cheney for this. That dope inspired crazy streak is why they are going down so bad in the November elections.

    July 28, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Rick in OP

    Just like Geithner, Daschle, Rangle and now Kerry, Democrats want YOU to pay more taxes while they try to get around paying taxes themselves.

    Thank you Senator Kerry for giving us another reason throw all of the Democrats out of Congress in November.

    July 28, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Mike

    MA Sen. Scott Brown's symbol: Old pickup truck
    MA Sen. John Kerry's symbol: $7M yacht with unpaid taxes

    Who is in touch with the people?

    July 28, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Caught with his hand in the cookie jar......he had little choice, now did he?

    July 28, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. LMC

    Yes–guilty until proven innocent! That seems to be the way of things lately. As if everyone responding here has been 100% truthful on their tax return??

    July 28, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Bob

    If this were a Republican, the media would be going to town on them. There would be calls for their resignation and probably a bill before congress condemning them. The double standard is old. I am sick and tired of BOTH sides of the isle.

    July 28, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Is Charels Rangals being given the same options .

    July 28, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Telling It Like It Is

    Sounds like extortion to me.

    Seems as though some political hack in Massachusetts sought to try to embarass a MA Senator that might have found a less expensive place to dock his boat.

    Instead, Kerry capitulates to the extortion because he doesn't need a tabloid exploitation of something he has EVERY RIGHT TO Do.

    Too bad none of the media stories were COMPLETE ENOUGH to address this aspect. Too bad the headlined didn't read


    Where is the other senator ... Tea Party darling ... Scott Brown ... come down on this tax issue?

    July 28, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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