Remember a couple of weeks ago, when one of Betsy DeVos’s $40 million yachts was untied from a dock in Ohio? DeVos’s SeaQuest Yacht, docked in Huron was left unmoored overnight. Conservatives everywhere freaked out that communists were attacking American patriots and poor Betsy DeVos might have to pay to have some painting touchups done to the hull. That was fun. Listen, Betsy DeVos, like Trump, is a prime example of how being an idiot born into tons of money can make you “successful.” Billionaires like Trump and DeVos, whether their billions are real or leveraged by global oligarchs, are not interested in paying their fair share of taxes. It’s “America First!” Except when it comes to scamming Americans out of money. People like DeVos don’t want to be hit with American taxes, so the Secretary of the United States’ Education Department pretends she’s foreign—but just for the cash.
“If you want to come in and use the waters of a given state of the United States, the question is, how can you insulate yourself from getting hit for the use tax?” maritime attorney Michael T. Moore told Capital & Main. “The answer is close and register offshore. If you close and register offshore, you aren’t subject to either a sales or a use tax. You are simply visiting the United States, and you are visiting under a privilege that is granted to certain countries in the world under what is called a cruising permit. Those countries grant the privilege to U.S. flagged vessels, and the United States offers that reciprocal right to vessels flagged by those countries. In practice, it means the permit allows you to go from port to port in different states without having to officially make entry and pay taxes to the states of the ports you visit.”
All you need to do is send a crew down once in a while to make an appearance. But it’s not only your taxes that are great to have down in the Caymans.
“The reason otherwise red-blooded American yachts fly non-American flags has little to do with political sentiment, and a whole lot to do with tax and employment laws,” wrote Kevin Koenig, a former Goldman Sachs analyst, in a 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine. “From a tax perspective, the U.S. government views an American working as a deckhand on a U.S.-flagged megayacht cruising off of St. Tropez no differently than it views an insurance salesman plying his trade in Topeka—that is to say, a yacht flying the American flag is, essentially, U.S. soil no matter where she is located.”
Ugh. Who wants to deal with labor laws that might give even the tiniest of support to these poors you have working for you? Amiright???