Sen. John Kerry, who took a beating from rivals in his 2004 presidential campaign because he was viewed as an indecisive flip-flopper, acted swiftly this week to defuse a tax controversy over his family's luxury yacht. Kerry has agreed to voluntarily to pay the state of Massachusetts $500,000 in taxes on the Isabel, even though the 76-foot sloop is currently berthed at the Newport Shipyard
in neighboring (and tax-friendly) Rhode Island.
On Tuesday, the Democratic senator short-circuited pesky questions about whether he was avoiding stiff taxes on the yacht in his home state after a tax agency began looking into reports that the $7 million craft has been seen repeatedly in Massachusetts waters, despite being docked in Newport, R.I., the Boston Globe
"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. "That payment is being made promptly."
Massachusetts residents who purchase boats in other states but plan to sail them in Massachusetts must file forms in the state and pay the equivalent of a sales tax and annual excise taxes, according to the state agency. Kerry apparently had not filed the required form, and the presence of the family yacht in the Newport boatyard led to a flurry of media reports, suggesting he was trying to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on the Isabel.