All vessels powered by a motor, trolling motor, or sail must be registered including jet skis. Boats powered by paddle or oars do not have to be registered.
The Tennessee Department of Revenue requires proof that sales taxes have been paid before the boat's initial registration. If the boat was purchased from a Tennessee boat dealer, the dealer should provide the owner with an application that has been certified showing taxes have been paid. The white copy of the application is mailed by the owner to Nashville for processing. The yellow copy of the application is kept by the owner as a temporary permit to operate with until the application has been processed.
Boat Transfer from one individual to another
Buyer must bring in a bill of sale signed by seller and buyer with description of boat and sales price. An existing boat registration or out-of-state title is helpful. Information needed is hull I.D. number, make, year, and length of boat.
Boat Presently in owner's name moving in to Tennessee
Owner must bring in present registration or title if available. Owner must show proof of taxes already paid in another state or pay Tennessee sales tax on the present value of the boat. The fee is $2.00 plus sales tax.
1. State sales and use tax is 7%
2. State tax fixed rate is 2.75% that applies from $1,600 up to $3,200 on single article purchase, with a cap of $44.00. (No fixed rate tax if price below $1,600)
3. Local Sales Tax is 2.25%, up to $1,600