PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s highest court has ruled that a Maine bus company that transports cruise ship passengers in Portland and Bar Harbor on in-state excursions is not exempt from paying use tax on those buses.
In a unanimous opinion Thursday, the Supreme Judicial Court rejected an appeal from John T. Cyr & Sons of Old Town. Cyr argued that an exemption was warranted because six buses that served passengers on ships arriving from out-of-state were engaged in interstate commerce.
The justices disagreed, saying the buses did not qualify for the exemption because they did not further the passengers’ interstate journey, cross state lines or move the riders toward another state.
The exemption is reserved for buses that are engaged in interstate commerce more than 80 percent of the time.