If you're thinking about putting another chinchilla in your closet, BMW in your garage or boat in your slip, you have 91 shopping days left until proposed new taxes would make that purchase a bit more pricey.
Starting Jan. 1, if Congress and the Bush administration can agree, a new luxury-goods tax of 10 percent would be added to purchase prices that exceed $100,000 for a private boat, $30,000 for cars and $5,000 for jewelry and furs.
Upwards of $100,000 may seem like a lot of boat, but according to Phil Keeter, executive director of the Marine Retailers Association of America, that price range represents 25 percent of the private boat market. "Those are just normal pleasure boats," Keeter said. Normal, in this case, gets you something like a 31-foot-long, 12-foot-wide Express Cruiser, outfitted with twin eight-cylinder engines and sleeping space for four to six people.
"It's nothing that Donald Trump would look at. It's something purchased by people just attaining success," said Jeff Martini, sales manager of Harbor Yacht Sales in Deale, Md.
People who buy such boats usually finance them over a 30-year period, paying about $1,000 a month. "They're not tycoons," said Martini, who added that a 10 percent excise tax "would scare a lot of those people away."
"We just don't need something like this, now," Martini said of the proposed tax.
It's not exactly great news for automakers like Jaguar or BMW, either.
With car prices ranging from $39,700 to $53,000, the proposed tax would affect everything Jaguar sells in the United States. It wouldn't be any better for Porsche, whose cars start at $58,500. BMW sneaks one model in under $20,000, but most of its offerings are in the $30,000 to $70,000 category.
Overall, about 20 percent of the cars sold in America cost $30,000 or more, said Susan Jacobs, president of Jacobs Automotive, a New Jersey market research company specializing in luxury-car sales.
The excise tax alone "won't be catastrophic for luxury-car sales," which have been slowing over the past year. But all of the other taxes in the package wrapped by President Bush and the congressional leaders "could accelerate the decline in sales," Jacobs said.
The picture in the fur and jewelry department isn't much prettier.
It's fairly easy to drop $5,000 for a decent mink or an engagement ring worth wearing.
At Fendi Furs, $1,300 will buy you just a shearling jacket, but if you are thinking of the more exotic furs such as chinchilla, prices can escalate as high as $100,000.
Jewelry prices range, for example, from a $25 silver key chain at Tiffany into the gem stratosphere.
Some suggest that there may be sneaky ploys around the taxes, such as selling expensive earrings separately, but most retailers said they would comply with any new taxes.
Staff writer Kara Swisher contributed to this report.