All vessels powered by a motor, trolling motor, or sail must be registered including jet skis. Boats powered by paddle or oars do not have to be registered.
The Tennessee Department of Revenue requires proof that sales taxes have been paid before the boat’s initial registration. If the boat was purchased from a Tennessee boat dealer, the dealer should provide the owner with an application that has been certified showing taxes have been paid. The white copy of the application is mailed by the owner to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Nashville for processing. The yellow copy of the application is kept by the owner as a temporary permit to operate with until the application has been processed (only vaild for 30 days a temp).
Boat Transfer from one individual to another
Buyer must bring in a bill of sale signed by seller and buyer with description of boat and sales price. An existing boat registration or out-of-state title is helpful. Information needed is hull I.D. number, make, year, and length of boat.
Boat Presently in owner’s name moving in to Tennessee
Owner must bring in the current registration or title if available. Owner must show proof of taxes already paid in another state* or pay Tennessee sales tax on the present value of the boat. The fee is $12.00 plus sales tax.
1. State sales and use tax is 7%
2. State single artical tax is fixed at 2.75% that applies from $1,601 up to $3,200 on single article purchase, with a cap of $44.00. No State fixed rate if price is under $1,600.
3. Local Sales Tax is 2.5%, up to $1,600
*Please note that if you have moved into Tennessee and you have proof of the taxes paid out of state you will be liable for any additional taxes owed based on the tax rate in Tennessee.