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John Kerry saves $500,000 by docking ultra-luxury yacht in other state

July 24, 2010 |  9:36 am

07-24-john-kerry-boat

Times are tough for everyone. Including gazillionaire John Kerry.

The Massachusetts senator is under fire for docking his brand new $7-million yacht in Rhode Island.

It's not illegal to moor your boat there or anything. It's just that Rhode Island doesn’t have a boat sales and use tax anymore.  

If the luxurious yacht, which apparently boasts an "Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage" were berthed in his home state (commonly known as "Taxachusetts") then he’d be on the hook for almost $500,000.

But before you get incensed, this is not what it appears -- at all. He’s docking "Isabel" (the name of the yacht) in Rhode Island only because it makes sense logically. It was bought there so of course it would stay there, argued Kerry spokesman David Wade.

“The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it’s based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons,” Wade said.

"Let’s not get silly here," Kerry told a Boston TV station Friday. "We pay enormous taxes to the state of Massachusetts, and there is nothing illegal here."

Whatever the case, it looks like Kerry might have to pay the taxes after all. The Boston Herald reports that the yacht was spotted in Nantucket over the Fourth of July holiday. The law says that "if a boat owner berths the vessel in Massachusetts waters within six months of purchasing the boat, there’s a 'presumption of use,' and the owner must fork over the 6.25 percent sales tax to the commonwealth.”

Kerry’s spokesman says if they owe any taxes, they’ll cough it up (even if they can’t afford it).

"Sen. Kerry and his family always comply with tax law, and if any taxes are owed, of course, they will be paid," Wade said.

In the meantime, a candidate for state treasurer is calling for an investigation.

"No person is above the law," Karyn Polito said. "For people to have confidence that the law is being applied equally, they need to be reassured that Sen. Kerry is not receiving favorable treatment."

-- Jimmy Orr

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Photo: Kerry's new yacht. Credit: Associated Press

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