July 28th, 2010
11:16 AM ET
11 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Rhode Island has been known as a tax-haven for boaters after the state repealed its sales and use tax on boats in the early 1990's. Kerry, who recently purchased the 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island, therefore avoided close to a half-million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)

    After you got CAUGHT !!!!!

    Where are the TAX penalities?

    Another crooked DUMocRAT

    July 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. troutman

    Caught redhanded and only paying up because he got caught... the "reaching out" line is laughable!

    July 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. mj

    Cough it up Kerry. Why do politicians feel they are above the law? He should also pay penalties. The crooks are so eager to take every last dime we have, but will go to extremes to not pay their fair share.

    July 28, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. ronalde

    if he bougrt the boat in rhode island why should he have to pay mass.taxes.

    July 28, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Mo

    Man of the people. Why the long face with all that cash.

    July 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. OCMarc

    This is for the TRENDING article on the Beautiful List. I don't get why on the homepage you mention "...causes a stir"? Nowhere in the article is there anything about something that would closely resemble a stir.

    I am beginning to believe CNN is nothing but sensationlistic journalism masquerading itself as fair and balanced.

    Why not just state the truth? This is why the American public is so turned off by the media, we don't get the truth!

    July 28, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Seth in Jacksonville

    Uh, people do this kind of thing all the time, even those of us without luxury boats. It's called shopping on the internet and avoiding sales tax. So let's not cast any stones.

    July 28, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. scott

    Classic "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy that permeates all liberal lawmakers to the core.

    July 28, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Fan Of Common Sense

    "Volunteers" after he GETS CAUGHT.!
    How generous. (Hypocrite)

    July 28, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    Well, well, well! Between Rangle and Kerry and Geithner, and Daschel, what's up with all these democratic tax cheats? You know the do as I say and not as do crowd? Daschel should be the example for the rest of them...GONE! Oh yeah, they exist in the GOP as well but THIS story is about a cheatin' Dem! If this were one of us (their employees) would have issues with the IRS and State tax commissions! What about Rangel trying to impress us with his "I can't wait for the Ethics Commission". Now he is trying to make a deal! Yet these people keep getting elected! Why?

    July 28, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    This practice is done not only by yacht owners in several states, but by every major cruise line. they register in foreign countries but do most of their business here.
    Our laws and tax codes could probably be 100 pages in total if they took out the loopholes

    July 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Deb in Northglenn, CO

    I consider myself a liberal Democrat and I am disgusted by the behavior of the "privileged class", regardless of party. They all need to be called out on their behavior.

    July 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Bob in Pa

    Voluntarily ?

    The man skirts the law and then volunteers the tax money. The guy is a joke. People of Mass., wise up a dump this albatross when the time comes.

    July 28, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Ron in california

    I believe that using the favorable tax climate in Rhode Island isn' t illelgal and as any american Kerry should be allowed to LEGALLY avoid taxes. Many folks here in California register their boats in Arizona for exactly the same tax reason. (What Arizona doesn't have an Ocean? Believe it or not it has several large lakes and the Colorado river,) I think it is funny though that he acted sheepishly when confronted. It may be because of his position as a Senator but i think he should have said...I'm doing nothing illegal.

    July 28, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Laura, Massachusetts

    I live in Boston and the state freaks out if you drive to New Hampshire to buy a high ticket item...they demand that you declare this purchase on your taxes.

    How did Kerry get buy that little rule?

    Some example my senior state senator set...I bet Scott Brown paid his excise taxes on his truck!!!

    Kerry is fortunate he isn't running again until 2014....otherwise this hypocrite would be out on his ear...

    July 28, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Martin Guillot

    This is why the dems are laughable. We're supposed to believe that a guy who has a 7 million luxury yacht is in touch with the "working man". Yeah, right!

    July 28, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Ya know, I was talking to the wife just last week about the oppressive taxes on our $7 million yacht. Being filthy rich really sucks. I wouldn't wish these problems on my worst enemy. Have a nice day!

    July 28, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. BobH

    Silly Democrat! Doesn't he know you have to be either a businessman or a Republican to take advantage of legal tax loopholes?

    July 28, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. rubicon

    sure Kerry, sure. You are going to charter your $7 million baby. All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others.

    July 28, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. moderatejoe

    Senator Kerry, spent all week here in Mass flip flopping on this subject. He was trying to evade the tax legally, but he made a critical mistake and has had the luxury sloop in Mass waters at is estate on Nantucket Island a number of times this summer well under the 6 month limit, so he must pay the 6.25% sales or use tax.

    So his voluntary payment statement is disingenuous at best and well a blatant lie at it worst.

    July 28, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. susie

    Democrats always want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, yet they always dodge them. What's up with that?

    July 28, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. ruty

    Just another low class politician trying to dodge paying his taxes. Way to go congress-make the "little" guy pay all the taxes while the rich get away with murder. Thanks to George Bush you have a LAW saying you can do that.

    July 28, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Dennis

    Kerry is no different that many other business executives and Republicans. Dennis Kaslowski the President from Tyco who is in New York Prison right now and for the next 15 years for doing exactly the same thing. I say farrit out ALLLLLLL the tax dodgers Republicans, Democrats, Business Executives and give them the same treatment. I am getting tired of paying for somebodys else war, corporate welfare and I have to pay for their taxes too????? BS.

    And so BTY, you want to talk about beautiful people in Washington? Don't forget the ugly people too. Top of the list DUDD GREGG. Not only is he pretty ugly, but his policies are too. I guess it just happens that way. Maybe someone should analyze that.

    July 28, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. skynyrt

    There is no way he does this unless he got caught.

    July 28, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Seriously?

    Mere pocket change!

    July 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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