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Old 16-03-2011, 09:33   #1
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Buying a Boat in Italy

Hi All:

After reading thru Paul D's adventure of buying a boat in Italy I am re-thinking how I would go about doing the same thing. The total purchase price is less then his deposit but I still want to do things to prevent myself from losing the money.

After quickly coming to agreement on a price getting the actual signed contract has been difficult to say the least. It has now been two weeks since agreeing on the price and have just received the signed contract. The buyer (me) is in the USA. The seller is in South Africa the broker is in one part of Italy and the boat is in a different location three hours away from the broker. I now have all the paperwork save for one item that I requested which was a clause in the contract that the seller would provide a certificate of VAT paid. I know that as a US citizen I don't need one I just feel that when I do sell the boat in 4 or 5 years it will be easier to sell if VAT is paid.

I am getting ready to send the deposit over to the broker. I have spoke with him on the phone and feel reasonably comfortable with that amount of money being held by the broker. For the balance of the purchase price though I feel some type of professional help is in order. I know that here in the states I could use a title company but what is the process in Italy? Does anyone have any idea of how it works?
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Old 16-03-2011, 16:30   #2
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Re: Buying a Boat in Italy

I wouldnt worry too much

heres a couple of things

(a) Theres no such thing as a " certificate of VAT paid". All the seller will have is a standard sales invoice from when the boat was originally bought and that shows VAT ( or should). In this case the fact that the seller lives in SA, could mean that VAT was never paid on the boat.


(b) Even if VAT paid, VAT could still be due in the future. ( export from EU sold and re-import causes VAT to be due again).

(c) What you will need along side a sles contract, if the boat is on the Italian registry, then a deflagging cert.


Dave
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Old 16-03-2011, 18:27   #3
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Re: Buying a Boat in Italy

The boat has not left the EU for a period of more then three years so the VAT should be in force. The owner is in SA but not the boat. If the boat is sold and reflagged as an American vessel but does not leave the EU except on short excursions does VAT stay in place on the boat? As an American I am not required to pay VAT but when I selll the boat in Europe in four years I would like it to be VAT paid. I can always sell it to another American.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 16-03-2011, 18:46   #4
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Generally unless the boat is exported the flag state is irrelevant however where ownership passes out of the EU convincing customs officials that that the boat should not be vat-ed on reimport can be difficult.

Note the fact that the boat is italy but owned by. SA could very well suggest no VAT was paid. You need to see the original sales invoice to be sure.

Assets don't actually have VAT status. VAT is a transaction tax theoretically paid every time goods or services are traded or imported. Then various reliefs apply to reduce the double taxation effect.

The sale to you a US citizen could well be deemed to be an " export". Hence since it was sold outside the EU vat could be due again. However possession of the original sales invoice showing VAT paid should keep the customs at bay.

As a non EU tax resident you have 18 months of VAT free time for the boat in the EU.

Get sight of the original sales invoice.

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