Some boat owners are considering moving their watercraft across the Ohio River in northern Kentucky so they can avoid paying $700 property tax bill to Kentucky.
The northern and southern banks of the Ohio River will be a key testing ground in the new battle over an old tax rarely enforced because Kentucky had no way to know who owned a boat, or where that boat was docked.
Kentucky officials do now, and began sending out tax bills totaling $2.5 million to about 3,000 boat owners over the summer.
And while the Kentucky Department of Revenue is only starting with 2005 tax bills, they have the legal authority to impose back-taxes up to five years. Department spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said the state hasn't made a decision whether to do that.
Many owners of houseboats and cabin cruisers are wealthy and can
easily afford the tax, but others with lesser means have boats just above the limit that would be subject to the tax.
Johnny Goodwin is in the latter camp.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)