When Robert Nylund sold a boat at his Tuckerton Marine dealership a few months ago, he finished the report by tacking on 7 percent sales tax — out of habit.

His customer quickly corrected him. The tax on boats in New Jersey is now 3.5 percent.

Three months after a state law halved the sales tax on boats, some dealerships are reporting an uptick in sales.

And dealers are actively promoting the sales tax break in their pitches to customers during the spring boat-buying season.

Jack Ryan, sales manager of Sheltered Cove Marina, said he’s already seeing more sales.

Ryan took part in the Atlantic City Boat Show in February and said his sales increased 35 percent compared to last year’s show. He expects to see increased foot traffic at his shop and others now that the tax break is in place.

“Absolutely — especially along the coast, for obvious reasons. Boating is a major contributor to the economy, and this reduction in sales tax will have long-term results,” Ryan said.

He said he is expecting a 20 percent increase in sales for the quarter compared to a year ago and is surprised by how many customers are aware of the halved tax.

The tax break was aimed to help New Jersey boat sellers compete with other states such as New York and Maryland that offer tax breaks.

Opponents said the legislation aids only the wealthiest people. The cap on the tax is $20,000, which means the biggest breaks are on the highest-priced luxury yachts.

Charles Nelson, general manager of MarineMax Lake Hopatcong in Morris County, said more people are coming to his shop.

“Year over year, I’m up at my store at least 50 percent in sales, and I don’t know if it is solely from the sales tax but I guarantee it has a lot to do with it,” Nelson said.

He said that once everyone finds out about the tax, it will make customers buy.

“It’s a great incentive. It’s amazing how many people still don’t even know about it,” Nelson said.

Mentioning the boat tax is Nelson’s new closing tool in a deal.

“It definitely is when we sit down and talk numbers, and it’s definitely pushing some people over that edge,” Nelson said.

Tuckerton Marine’s Nylund said he still thinks customers need time to become educated on the tax.

“I guess it’s early in the law, but I’m sure it’s helping some people. But I don’t necessarily see it yet,” Nylund said. “But I’m sure it’s going to make a big difference.”

Contact: 609-272-7258

Copy desk chief / comics blogger

Print Director

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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