Montana Boat and Yacht Registration

How to Title a Boat in Montana and Pay No Sales Tax

Many clients form a Montana LLC and then purchase a boat under the Montana LLC name to avoid paying sales tax and license it with the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles. Montana does not have sales tax or personal property tax on titled vessels. Montana offers permanent boat registrations to residents (Montana LLCs qualify as residents).

How the Montana LLC Boat Registration Works:

What we do is help you form a Montana LLC and maintain it, making the Montana LLC a resident of Montana, not you personally. The title of your boat or yacht will be under your Montana LLC. You control the LLC, but you personally do not own the boat or yacht.

Steps to Use a Montana LLC to Buy a Yacht or Boat Tax Free:

We operate here in Montana, and further more in Flathead County, which is the main county in Montana that does not have an excise tax on titled property. We provide you the office address, registered agent services, and act as a liason with the state to register your boat and LLC. Your Montana LLC will be at our address, and your boat will be registered to our address. Here’s the step by step process to purchase a boat without paying sales tax to Montana:

  1. Form a Montana Limited Liability Company (A Montana LLC)
  2. We will provide you the filed LLC papers, operating agreement, and resolutions documenting you, the members, sole authority to make decisions for the LLC.
  3. You now purchase the boat or yacht as the Montana LLC, and you’ll have the authority to act for the Montana LLC as the members.
  4. The boat dealer or you will mail us the boat’s title work. We’ll register your vehicle with the state immediately.
  5. We’ll overnight your MT vehicle registration, plates, and title to you once we receive them back from the state.

Long-term LLC Maintenance

  1. Maintain a Montana registered agent (we charge $49 a year) to provide you a physical address in MT at all times.
  2. Maintain your Montana LLC with the Secretary of State. It costs $20 a year and you can file online. We can file it each year for you if you’d like.
  3. You can always use your Montana LLC to buy a trailer, tow vehicle, airplane, or any kind of asset that can be titled.
Get a Montana LLC and Boat Registration Today

Montana Boat Registration Fees

Montana boats have permanent registrations and one time fees under section 61-3-321(10) of the Montana Code Annotated.

Montana boat fees are as follows:
Under 16 feet: $65.50
16-19 feet: $125.50
19 feet or over: $295.50

*** We cannot register boats that have previously been or currently are registered with the Coast Guard. 

What it Costs to Form a Montana LLC for a Yacht or Boat?

For $1,049 total, we will form your Montana LLC the same day and complete the registration paperwork for your boat in Montana. Your information will not be listed in the public record with the Montana Secretary of State or given to the DMV. Once we receive your plates, title and registration from the state, we will overnight UPS them to you. The $1,049 total includes everything. All state fees and our service fees.

Why Can’t You Register a Boat That is Documented With the Coast Guard?

If you purchased a boat that has been or is currently registered with the Coast Guard, the State of Montana does not require new registration or titling in order for you to take it out on state waterways. All you need when taking your boat out is the Certificate of Documentation that shows it has been registered with the Coast Guard.

We have tried in the past to register these boats with the DMV, but since it is not technically necessary for use of the boat, the DMV won’t do it.

What Will it Cost to Maintain a Boat or Yacht Registration in Montana?

The MT DMV will never charge you again. It’s a permanent registration. The Montana Secretary of State is the government agency that oversees LLCs, corporations, and business registrations. The Montana SOS has an annual report fee due every April 15th of $20 (for the year 2024, this fee has been waived).

You need to maintain a physical location in Montana for your business (The Montana LLC). We charge $49 a year to fulfill this requirement. You’re forming a Montana LLC and it’s nothing different than any of the thousands of businesses in Montana or your state.

So your total cost is $69 a year.

Benefits of Using a Montana LLC to Own a Boat or Yacht:

  • Anonymous. We file LLCs the right way. We keep your information off of the public record.
  • Your boat registration is prominently displayed on your boat. There’s no need to have it in your personal name for anyone to look up.
  • Start playing smart. The worlds richest don’t own things in their personal names. They personally control business entities that own assets.
  • Data. How many times this year, will our personal identities get hacked and stolen. Having assets in your personal names, creates data trails of endless data that will get sold and sold and sold. Assigning asset profiles for you personally that will allow big marketers to target you with all kinds of endless offers. With putting a boat asset in a Montana LLC, you can start to control who knows what you own.

How Long Will it Take to Register my Boat in Montana?

State processing times can take 8-12 weeks depending on workload. Here’s how we speed up the process on our end: You place an order today, we form the LLC today. You buy the boat in the LLC and overnight us the purchasing paperwork (or have your dealer do it). We register your boat with the state and then, typically 8-12 weeks later, the state processes your registration. We overnight UPS your Montana registration, plates, and title once we receive them back from the state.

Why our Montana boat LLC is different:

  1. We form your MT LLC without getting your personal names on record with the MT SOS.
  2. We register your boat or yacht with the DMV without you having to sign the DMV registration.
  3. We don’t charge you extra for any of this.
  4. You will never be sold a bunch of extra stuff you don’t need.
  5. We understand Montana LLCs. This is all we do.
  6. Every order is automatically processed the same day.
  7. Operating agreement, resolutions, membership certificates. It’s all there. We don’t charge extra.
  8. Commercial Montana LLC address. Don’t get stuck with a residential home address for your boat LLC.

Will my personal name get on public records?

Not if you use our service. Almost all the other Montana Yacht LLC and Montana boat LLC services will not form your LLC properly or get the registration done properly to keep your personal names off of the record books.

I already bought the boat in my personal name. Can I still do this?

Yes, but you already bought something in your personal name and made a permanent personal record. We can often fix this for you, though. You’ll place an order for the LLC, and then overnight or courier all your purchase papers to us. We’ll have to draft a couple documents. We’ll email them to you, you sign them and mail them back to us, and we’ll work to get your boat or yacht registered in your new Montana LLC. This slows down the process by a couple days, but not that bad considering many people save tens of thousands of dollars in sales tax by registering in Montana.

So How Do You Get Started?

  1. Fill out the sign up form, pay, and we’ll call or email you with any questions.
  2. We’ll have your MT Boat LLC formed in one day.
  3. We’ll be emailing you instructions on how to handle buying a boat with your LLC.
  4. Get us the boat or yacht purchase papers.
  5. We register your boat with the state. State processing times typically take 8-12 weeks.
  6. We overnight your MT vehicle registration, plates, and title to you once we receive them back from the state.