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Old 20-01-2015, 03:22   #1
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Where do we flag our boat?

Hi Everyone!

We are overwhelmed with the amount of information out there on registration.

We have US passports, but currently reside in the EU. We're trying to figure out where to flag our boat (11.5m sail boat).

Understanding that all countries are different, we will likely spend most of our time in Spain but we are flexible and open to other options if they are easier. Has anyone had experiences looking into flagging in different places? Where is it painful? Where is it easier? Is it something we can do later or does it need to be done up front?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 20-01-2015, 04:39   #2
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Where was the boat purchased, & were taxes paid on it then, or any time since? Also, when was it purchased?
Just trying to get some base line info to put together a better picture of the situation. Also, have you dug up much information wise, via searches, both on here, & online in general?
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Old 20-01-2015, 04:48   #3
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

EU taxes are paid on the boat. We're waiting to complete the sale of the boat until weh ave much of these questions answered, because we don't want to complete the sale outside of the EU if that means we have to pay VAT twice. Right now it's in an EU territory in the Caribbean.

I've been able (via google) to see what the requirements are in each individual country (at least the countries I've looked up).

Basically - we're new to this lifestyle but our basic plan is to move onto the boat and sail for a long time. Our home base is in Germany and that is where we have residency.

Is this much simpler than I thought? Should we just register it in Germany, even though the boat will not stay in Germany?
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Old 20-01-2015, 21:53   #4
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

If the boat is to be federally registered, it must be registered and flagged in the country where the owner is a citizen. You have US passports, so it must be flagged US.

If you and the boat were in the US, it could be licenced in any state. Perhaps that's what you're thinking. But that wouldn't work out for international cruising (except maybe in, for example, the Bahamas or Canada, where they're used to lightweight cruisers ).
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Old 21-01-2015, 04:03   #5
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

@ Seymore- even if the boat is never to really live in the US?

This changes everything! I guess we need to figure out how to register it federally.

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Old 21-01-2015, 05:18   #6
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pashenkova View Post
@ Seymore- even if the boat is never to really live in the US?

This changes everything! I guess we need to figure out how to register it federally.

yacht-registrations.com- Delaware Yacht Registrations | Yacht Registrations


or google Delaware yacht registration
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Old 21-01-2015, 05:28   #7
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Sorry Seymore's info is incorrect. Many countries, including Canada, allow permanent residents to register their boats in the country of RESIDENCE. Citizenship is secondary in that case. For instance, as a permanent resident of Canada, I could register the boat there and never sail it (or import it) in Canadian waters. The boat does not have to be documented in the US just because that person is a citizen of the US. I have seen many EU boats owned by Europeans registered in other European countries (a lot of boats owned by Polish sailors here in Spain for example). As a EU resident, you would not be able to use the boat in Europe without incurring the importation and VAT charges if you document the boat in the US. There are in fact specific rules governing that. I think that you should consider registering in the Azores or Canaries which both have special VAT rates. The advantage to registering the boat in Europe means provided the boat is new enough to have a CE rating, you will not have to pay the VAT twice. Unless you plan to move to the US I see no benefit to documenting there. Check noonsite.com for links to the actual documents from the EU.
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Old 21-01-2015, 05:40   #8
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
If the boat is to be federally registered, it must be registered and flagged in the country where the owner is a citizen. You have US passports, so it must be flagged US.
Some or maybe many (I don't know) allow non citizen residents to flag their boat in the country.


If the boat is EU-tax paid and it is correct that you will not lose the tax status changing ownership in an EU territory in the Caribbean, then you will be best off registering in the EU. It will make life easier when moving between countries.

Registering in Germany would be logically the easiest, but that will be dependant on how they treat a non-citizen resident.

When you say "most of your time in Spain", how much time do you mean? more than 183 days per year? If so, then you could be treated as resident in Spain and they might try to collect the Matriculation tax
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Old 21-01-2015, 05:44   #9
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

I think this site has the info you need for Germany Internationaler Bootsschein IBS - Bootsregistrierung - ADAC

According to Google translate

Foreign nationals who are resident in Germany must submit a copy of their passport and a current registration certificate as your permanent residence in Germany.

So it sounds possible
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Old 21-01-2015, 05:53   #10
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Where do we flag our boat?

EU residents can typically avail of registration in their country of residence. Few limit it to citizenship. Many EU registries will allow other EU nationals to register on their registries ( Belgium etc). Equally while most EU countries require some form of registration , many will accept registration outside the EU.

The vat status has nothing to do flag registration.

If you have a vat paid boat , do not register in the canaries or other vat exempt areas, special rules and further taxes can apply. In particular do not register in Portugal or it's Islands.

As EU tax residents you may flag your boat as you may legally please , including the US. You can avail of returned goods relief , allowing you to export and reimport the boat ( without vat penalties ) as you like back into the EU nominally for 3 years duration outside at a time, but this can be extended virtually infinitely by prior arrangement. ( once it doesn't change hands )

Don't get registration and vat mixed up

As was said , if you spend enough time in Spain to be considered residents , you " may" be exposed to the matriculation tax of 12% , however it has typically been sporadically collected . You must be a full tax resident of Spain to be. " eligible "

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Old 24-01-2015, 00:54   #11
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Since I have to decide soon where to register my Hans Christian 41T, I asked the ship register in Berlin, Germany, under what conditions I could register the boat in Germany. The answer was that only ships that are owned by a German with residency in Germany can be registered in Germany. Whether that is correct or not, I don't know. But this is the answer I received directly from the "Amtsgericht Charlottenburg", which is the official authority maintaining the ship register of Berlin.

I am now thinking to register in holland, where I believe they do not have a residency requirement.


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Old 24-01-2015, 02:17   #12
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

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Originally Posted by ingonoka View Post
Since I have to decide soon where to register my Hans Christian 41T, I asked the ship register in Berlin, Germany, under what conditions I could register the boat in Germany. The answer was that only ships that are owned by a German with residency in Germany can be registered in Germany. Whether that is correct or not, I don't know. But this is the answer I received directly from the "Amtsgericht Charlottenburg", which is the official authority maintaining the ship register of Berlin.

I am now thinking to register in holland, where I believe they do not have a residency requirement.


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I think you misunderstood their answer.

To register a boat in Germany, you must be either:-

German (in which case it does not matter where you are resident) or if you are not German you must be officially resident in Germany.

Similiar rules exist for many registries. Belgium is a little different in that it allows any EU citizen to register a boat there without being resident.

Details for Germany are here:-
Internationaler Bootsschein IBS - Bootsregistrierung - ADAC
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Old 24-01-2015, 02:46   #13
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

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Originally Posted by med View Post
I think you misunderstood their answer.

To register a boat in Germany, you must be either:-

German (in which case it does not matter where you are resident) or if you are not German you must be officially resident in Germany.

Similiar rules exist for many registries. Belgium is a little different in that it allows any EU citizen to register a boat there without being resident.

Details for Germany are here:-
Internationaler Bootsschein IBS - Bootsregistrierung - ADAC
Thanks for the response to my post. If you are able to read German, here is the answer directly from the "Amtsgericht" paralegal:

Quote:
"auf Ihre Anfrage teile ich Ihnen mit, dass nur solche Seeschiffe
die Bundesflagge führen und in ein deutsches Seeschiffsregister
eingetragen werden können, deren Eigentümer Deutsche sind und
ihren Wohnsitz im Geltungsbereich des Grundgesetzes haben (§§ 1,
2 Flaggenrechtsgesetz). Da Sie Ihren Wohnsitz in Dubai haben kann
die Eintragung Ihres Schiffes in ein deutsches Seeschiffsregister
nicht erfolgen."
Note that IANAL. However, as far as I can see the "Flaggenrechtsgesetz, Paragraph 1" says that any seagoing ship whose owner is a German with residence in Germany MUST (not may or is allowed) carry the German flag. The "Schiffregisterordnung" refers to the "Flaggenrechtsgesetz" and just says that ships that have to or may fly the German flag according to the "Flaggenrechtsgestz" will be registered in the 'Seeschiffsregister". In contradiction to the above rule, the "Schiffregisterordnung" also says that owners that do not have residency in Germany must assign a person or company with residency in Germany who will act on behalf of the owner.

In any case, the "Amtsgericht" simply refuses to register the boat, no matter what my interpretation of the law may be. As usual the convoluted German law is twisting itself into a knot that would probably require a lawyer to undo.

BTW: The "Internationaler Bootsschein" from the ADAC is only valid for inland waterways and coastal waters. If that is what the OP is looking for, I am afraid my earlier post missed the point and does not apply.

(Apologies to the non-German speakers on this forum for all the German words in my post. When it comes to the law, a correct translation is near impossible.)
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Old 24-01-2015, 03:54   #14
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingonoka View Post
Thanks for the response to my post. If you are able to read German, here is the answer directly from the "Amtsgericht" paralegal:



Note that IANAL. However, as far as I can see the "Flaggenrechtsgesetz, Paragraph 1" says that any seagoing ship whose owner is a German with residence in Germany MUST (not may or is allowed) carry the German flag. The "Schiffregisterordnung" refers to the "Flaggenrechtsgesetz" and just says that ships that have to or may fly the German flag according to the "Flaggenrechtsgestz" will be registered in the 'Seeschiffsregister". In contradiction to the above rule, the "Schiffregisterordnung" also says that owners that do not have residency in Germany must assign a person or company with residency in Germany who will act on behalf of the owner.

In any case, the "Amtsgericht" simply refuses to register the boat, no matter what my interpretation of the law may be. As usual the convoluted German law is twisting itself into a knot that would probably require a lawyer to undo.

BTW: The "Internationaler Bootsschein" from the ADAC is only valid for inland waterways and coastal waters. If that is what the OP is looking for, I am afraid my earlier post missed the point and does not apply.

(Apologies to the non-German speakers on this forum for all the German words in my post. When it comes to the law, a correct translation is near impossible.)

The following passage:-
Quote:

2) Absatz 1 gilt auch für natürliche Personen oder Gesellschaften eines Drittstaates,
die auf der Grundlage eines Abkommens mit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, der
Europäischen Gemeinschaften oder der Europäischen Union Anspruch auf
Niederlassungsfreiheit im Sinne der Artikel 45 und 49 des Vertrages über die
Arbeitsweise der Europäischen Union haben, vorausgesetzt, die Gegenseitigkeit ist
gewährleistet.
Is saying that the bit about the owners being German also applies to foreigners and foreign companies which have the right to be resident in Germany. (Interesting that it seems that you don't actually have to be resident - just have the right to be resident).
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Old 24-01-2015, 04:03   #15
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Re: Where do we flag our boat?

Quote:
Is saying that the bit about the owners being German also applies to foreigners and foreign companies which have the right to be resident in Germany. (Interesting that it seems that you don't actually have to be resident - just have the right to be resident).
Wouldn't that also mean that a Dutch citizen living in Dubai would be allowed to register their boat on the German ship registry, but a German living in Dubai (e.g. me) would not be allowed to do the same? I cannot imagine that this is what they had in mind. I haven't read many legal texts, but if that us the usual quality of legal wording in German laws, I finally figured out why they need so many civil servants.
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