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Old 09-11-2015, 00:09   #1
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Another VAT question.

I've never been asked to show "VAT paid" status, so I don't know what the skipper then generally is required to produce. So I have a few questions, which I'll pose as potential scenarios.

1) Old pre 1985 boat, in Europe before 1992, so deemed VAT paid. Documents to prove this are on board. Boat has lots of stuff that is obviously more recent, like new sails, electronics. Will the officials also want to see invoices for everything recently added tro the boat?

2) 90ies boat. Original invoice is present, so can prove VAT has been paid. Lots of newer stuff on board. Again, will it be needed to produce invoices for these as well?

3) New boat. Bought without options, invoice present. Lots of owner purchased and installed options. Will the officials want to see invoices of the owner installed stuff as well?

I am asking this because I am currently having the following train of thought.

- If I buy second hand I will need to invest a lot to get the boat up to the specs I want.
- If I buy new I will need to add to the base price a lot of stuff to get the boat up to the specs I want.

I live in Switzerland, so I could just pop over to Germany, buy the stuff I need there, have the invoices stamped at the border, reclaim VAT, then bring it to the boat and in stall it myself. Would save quite a nice sum of money. But would mean I have no invoice for that fancy new Autopilot that shows that VAT has been paid. Hence I'd be interested to know what one is really required to produce if the VAT inspectors pay you a visit.
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Old 09-11-2015, 00:53   #2
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Re: Another VAT question.

Howdy,

Ah yes, the grey area of VAT. We went through a similar scenario to you - boat built in the UK in 1970, but then completely stripped to a bare hull and rebuilt with all the mod cons 2010 - 2015. We have literally thousands of receipts for the parts and work done, most of them VAT paid.

So far travelling south (France, Spain and Portugal) we've not been asked to show VAT status - we've simply showed them our bill of sale which says on it "VAT paid".

As for any new parts fitted to the boat, it would be very difficult for a customs officer to prove the "new" parts weren't on the boat when you boat it and paid your VAT.

I wouldn't worry about it to be honest - just make sure you can prove the VAT status of the boat itself.

n
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:23   #3
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Re: Another VAT question.

The requirement to pay vat is on EU residents. If you are resident in Switzerland just show your Swiss residence permit or passport and smile.
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Old 09-11-2015, 02:35   #4
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Re: Another VAT question.

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The requirement to pay vat is on EU residents. If you are resident in Switzerland just show your Swiss residence permit or passport and smile.
No, the requirement to pay VAT is on any boat that is imported in to the EU, regardless of where the owner resides. You can get VAT relief by just temporary importing it, but then I would have to make sure the boat leaves the EU every 18 months (doable) but also it would mean that my relatives (residing in the EU) won't be able to "borrow" the boat to go sailing themselves.
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Old 09-11-2015, 03:21   #5
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Re: Another VAT question.

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Originally Posted by ausnp84 View Post
As for any new parts fitted to the boat, it would be very difficult for a customs officer to prove the "new" parts weren't on the boat when you boat it and paid your VAT.
That's what I'm a bit worried about. If the plotter is this years' model, and clearly has just been installed the customs officer will have no problem whatsoever it was not on the boat when I purchased it...
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:09   #6
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Re: Another VAT question.

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That's what I'm a bit worried about. If the plotter is this years' model, and clearly has just been installed the customs officer will have no problem whatsoever it was not on the boat when I purchased it...
You're assuming the customs officer knows what this year's model is - highly unlikely. It would be very unrealistic for customs to request you present invoices with VAT paid for every item of equipment on your vessel. If that was the case, we'd be required to carry a folder 2ft thick with all our receipts.

In all seriousness, customs are more concerned with people smuggling and attempting to import drugs. As long as you have your paperwork folder (registration certificate, Bill of Sale, passports, radio licence) all in order, I would be very surprised if customs asked you for individual equipment receipts.

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Old 09-11-2015, 06:03   #7
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Re: Another VAT question.

When you enter Switzeland with your new purchases and get the invoice stamped (to collect a refund on the German VAT) you will most probably get an invoice for the Swiss VAT.

Also if you do manage to get the items to Switzerland without to pay any VAT you will most likely technically be smuggling them into the EU.(when you take them back)

Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-11-2015, 01:20   #8
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Re: Another VAT question.

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When you enter Switzeland with your new purchases and get the invoice stamped (to collect a refund on the German VAT) you will most probably get an invoice for the Swiss VAT.
Not if I do this during the Swiss border guard's lunch break :-)
Taking maximum advantage of cross border shopping is something we're very good at here.
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Old 13-11-2015, 16:38   #9
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Re: Another VAT question.

There does seem to be (or at least was) an exemption for older boats (say pre 1985 to be on the safe side), as long as you own it for at least 6 months prior to entering EU waters.

You must keep it for at least two years, and not do any chartering with it for at least one year.

This is an exemption from VAT as well as Duty, and it is a way of proving that an old boat is for your personal use.

In Common Law I think the present impositions are challengeable, as it was always illegal to re tax something that had already been taxed (not much use on the EU Continent, where they have no concept of Common Law or the superiority of the Law over Legislation {to be lawful, any legislation must comply with the Law, otherwise it is illegal, and void - it's a denial of power thing, because nobody can be trusted with power - the Rule of Law is literal}), but there is no way authorities in the UK would want this to appear in a Court of Law, because they would have massive amounts of egg on their face, and have to repay huge amounts of illegally collected taxes, which they should do anyway - for example on the spot fines and wheel clamping, as well as confiscations without lawful authority, are totally illegal in Law - and yes, I would go to Court over it here, as I have already won substantially in Court on similar Common Law grounds vs a Government Authority).

But I will make life easier for them, and not enter EU waters for at least 6 months after purchasing my boat, after flagging it with the UK SSR on the day I purchase so I can fly the Red Ensign (I will however have to wait for my sister to express post the originals to me, as I won't be able to travel until I have them in my possession). and as long as they play ball by their own rules (anything EU is very prone to ignoring its own rules and regulations, and they make it up as they go along, as EU justices have admitted), I will leave it at that.

For now, anyway.
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