Illinois Department of Revenue
 
 
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Watercraft Use Tax

 
 
watercraft

Statutory Reference


Definition

The tax is imposed on watercraft purchased (or acquired by gift or transfer) from another individual or person or business that is not in the business of selling watercraft at retail. (Sales of watercraft from registered Illinois dealers are taxed under the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act.)

Tax Rate

The rate is 6.25% of the purchase price or fair market value, whichever is greater.

If you acquire the watercraft by purchase from a person or business that is not in the business of selling watercraft at retail, you must pay tax on the watercraft’s purchase price. If the watercraft’s purchase price is less than the fair market value, you must pay tax on the watercraft’s fair market value on the date acquired or the date brought into Illinois, whichever is later. If you acquire a share of a watercraft, tax is based on the purchase price or fair market value of the share acquired. There is no provision for a trade-in allowance under Watercraft Use Tax. The tax due is based on the fair market value of the watercraft or share of the watercraft.

If you acquire the watercraft by gift, donation or transfer, you must pay tax on the watercraft’s fair market value on the date acquired or the date brought into Illinois, whichever is later.

If you acquired and used the watercraft outside Illinois before you brought it into Illinois, you will receive a credit for tax properly due and paid to another state.

Form/Filing & Payment Requirements

  • Form RUT-75, Aircraft/Watercraft Use Tax Transaction Return (this form is not available online)

You may obtain a copy of this form at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources when you register the watercraft. You must submit proof of tax payment or proof of exemption before your watercraft registration will be issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. You may also call IDOR's 24-hour Forms Order Line at 1 800 356-6302. Forms may also be obtained by calling us at 1 800 732-8866.

This form is due no later than 30 days from the acquisition date or the date the item is brought into Illinois, whichever is later.

  • Form RUT-75-X, Amended Aircraft/Watercraft Use Tax Transaction Return
  • STS-76 - Illinois Aircraft/Watercraft and Vehicle Tax Information Guide
  • FY 2005-04 - Tax on Watercraft

Exemptions

  • The use of the watercraft in Illinois is already taxed under the Illinois Use Tax Act. For example, the watercraft is purchased from an out-of-state retailer. This type of transaction is taxed and reported on Form RUT-25, Use Tax Transaction Return.
  • The watercraft is acquired by a governmental agency or a society, association, foundation, or institution organized and operated exclusively for charitable, religious, or educational purposes that has been issued an active exemption number by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
  • The watercraft is acquired by an interstate carrier for hire for use as rolling stock to transport persons or commodities in interstate commerce.
  • The watercraft is a gift to a beneficiary in an estate and the beneficiary is the surviving spouse.
  • The temporary storage of a watercraft that was acquired outside of Illinois, and after being brought into Illinois and stored temporarily is removed and used solely outside Illinois.
  • The watercraft is used primarily (more than 50%) in production agriculture. For example, a watercraft used primarily for fish farming.

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