Lochner Law Firm, P.C.

Todd D. Lochner
Eugene E. Samarin
Gregory R. Singer

Lochner Law Firm, P.C.
Doner Building
91 Main St., 4th Floor
Annapolis, MD 21401

P: (443) 716-4400
F: (443) 716-4405

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What if I receive a letter from the DNR?

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the administrative agency responsible for all maritime activities within Maryland waters. Under its jurisdiction falls the responsibility of collecting vessel excise tax on all boats found in Maryland. Annually, the DNR targets specific areas within Maryland where they carry out their "investigation" (or as we like to call it, "enforcement") of taxes paid on any and all vessels found within their search area. Upon conlclusion of their "investigation", and regardless of the cicumstances related to a vessel being in Maryland waters, the Maryland DNR sends out letters informing the vessel owners that they owe MD vessel excise tax, penalties and interest. In order to make it more likely that the "king will get his share," the law requires that if you receive a letter from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, YOU must initiate an administrative action within thirty (30) days of the date of the letter.

  • It does not matter if you did not actually receive the letter until after 30 days has passed.

  • It does not matter if you never actually receive the notice at all.

  • It does not matter if you merely call the DNR enforcement office to take issue with their assessment.

  • The printing of the letter is considered proof of your liability.

As soon as you receive an enforcement letter both telephone and email Todd D. Lochner and communicate the date which appears on the DNR letter.


What is this tax?

The maryland boat tax is 5% of fair market value on boats purchased in, titled in, or principally used in Maryland. The tax is payable to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The statue includes penalties (up to 100% of the tax) and interest (18%) which applies if the tax is not paid within 30 days of the date DNR first saw your vessel in state waters.

There are two primary ways the vessel becomes taxable:

  • A sale for which no exemption form (such as a B-110 Form) was filed


  • If you bought outside of Maryland and took delivery elsewhere, but returned the vessel to MD (days or years later) for greater than 90 days and the vessel spends more days in Maryland than another SINGLE jurisdiction

Six months is not a gauge of time which matters for the analysis of whether Maryalnd is the state of "principal use."

Are there any exceptions?

So you have read this far and think you might have an issue. There may be an exception to the "time in Maryland" calculation which keeps your hard earned dollars in your pocket instead of the government's coffers.

  1. Was your vessel held for repair?

  2. Did you put the boat up for sale with a registered broker, who had you sign a brokerage affidavit (DNR Form B-121)?

  3. Was the vessel undergoing commissioning during the relevant time?

  4. Was the vessel lying outside state waters when you took delivery?

  5. Is your vessel foreign flagged?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions we may be able to help.

Last Updated, February 6, 2020