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Old 15-02-2017, 13:03   #1
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Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Hi all, looking for your advice on this puzzle:

We're Dutch citizens, resident in East Africa, just bought a VAT paid (in South Africa) boat in SA. We'll need to de-list her there and are considering registering her under Dutch flag. We'll mainly sail outside of EU, but in case we do enter EU waters would we need to pay VAT?

Thanks!
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Old 15-02-2017, 13:18   #2
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Hi there Where on the east coast of Africa do you live and want to keep your boat ?

I am a South African living in Moz
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Old 15-02-2017, 16:50   #3
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

I believe that if you register the boat under dutch flag you must pay EU VAT.

Boats owned by non-EU residents and registered outside the EU are entitled to tax free temporary importation into the EU for a total period of eighteen months.

Still I would consult legal expertis to be 100% sure.
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Old 16-02-2017, 08:58   #4
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

I'm Dutch but living / sailing in the Americas. We're Dutch registered and would need to pay VAT when we enter EU waters.
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Old 16-02-2017, 12:58   #5
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Call the dutch customs (Yachting / watersports department) +31 118 484624

If you are Dutch citizens AND Dutch residents I am sure you need to pay VAT when you return to EU waters

I am not sure that is the case if you are Dutch citizens but not residents ?
but give them a call
(or drop them an email : douane.landelijk.team.jachten@belastingdienst.nl )

and ask them ? they are typically pretty responsive and helpful
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Old 16-02-2017, 22:08   #6
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Thanks everyone, very helpful! Dutch flag may in the end not be an option as we'd need to fly in a surveyor from the 'Kadaster' - will take long.

Anyways, there is always another way, now also looking at registering in Seychelles or Gibraltar. If anyone has tips / experiences with those would appreciate. Main headache is to organise a tonnage survey in SA from a distance.

We live in Dar es Salaam Mike, boat moored at Dar yacht club (now a 34ft Van de Stadt, soon a 39ft Leopard); very active group here. We're outside the cyclone belt, no more pirates around, beautiful sailing with the Zanzibar and Mafia archipelagos around the corner - Karibuni Tanzania!
But then again, you have the Quirimbas...

Eveline
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Old 16-02-2017, 23:02   #7
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Hi Lula
you dont need to go the kadaster route ?

here's an alternative for a few euro's every 2 years
Internationaal Certificaat Pleziervaartuigen (ICP) - Watersportverbond
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Old 17-02-2017, 00:15   #8
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

You could also outsource the registration. I have no connection with this company but heard of a few possitive reactions.
http://www.dutchyachtregistration.com/
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Old 17-02-2017, 06:35   #9
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Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

We did fly in the surveyor. Had to pay a fee that "included business class air fare" and when asking the surveyor, he flew tourist class. The corruption runs deep but after all that cost, we now just have the yearly fee for the station license so we're earning it back quickly and like the Dutch "zeebrief" and flag.
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Old 20-02-2017, 09:51   #10
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

We're back to the Dutch route, since tonnage survey in SA is virtually impossible. SV Jedi can you recommend any of the companies offering registration services, or did you organise it yourself?

Rene, ICP won't do since we sail outside of EU.

Update on the VAT story from the horse's mouth (Belastingdienst, thanks for the tip Rene!): since we are long term non-residents of the Netherlands we would not have to pay VAT upon entering EU waters when flying a Dutch flag. So it is the owner's residency status that matters, not where the boat is registered. But even better, should we become permanent EU residents again, we can ask for VAT exemption on 'personal belongings'. As long as we can make a convincing case that we did not buy the boat with the immediate intention to import into EU it will be seen as a 'personal belonging'. Having 2 years or so between buying the boat and relocating to EU is sufficient.

This is because VAT is a tax on transactions, not on assets.

Onward and upward!
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Old 20-02-2017, 11:21   #11
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lula View Post
Update on the VAT story from the horse's mouth (Belastingdienst, thanks for the tip Rene!): since we are long term non-residents of the Netherlands we would not have to pay VAT upon entering EU waters when flying a Dutch flag. So it is the owner's residency status that matters, not where the boat is registered. But even better, should we become permanent EU residents again, we can ask for VAT exemption on 'personal belongings'. As long as we can make a convincing case that we did not buy the boat with the immediate intention to import into EU it will be seen as a 'personal belonging'. Having 2 years or so between buying the boat and relocating to EU is sufficient.

This is because VAT is a tax on transactions, not on assets.

Onward and upward!
This just shows what a djungle it is out there. I have to separate sources (maritime lawyers) saying an EU flagged private vessel is due for EU VAT regardless of if I'm a non-EU resident, I'm just like you EU citizen.

I would ask to get that confirmed in writing from your Tax revenue service.
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Old 20-02-2017, 11:32   #12
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

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Originally Posted by SnakeEyes View Post

I would ask to get that confirmed in writing from your Tax revenue service.
She did , she talked to the customs office 'Yacht division' (Horses mouth) and what they said doesnt surprise me at all ? Its common to be allowed to bring back personal belongings back into the EU after having lived abroad, and not having to pay taxes (furniture, cars , motorcycles etc)

But getting it in writing through e-mail is always a good idea
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Old 20-02-2017, 12:51   #13
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

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Originally Posted by ReneJK View Post
She did , she talked to the customs office 'Yacht division' (Horses mouth) and what they said doesnt surprise me at all ? Its common to be allowed to bring back personal belongings back into the EU after having lived abroad, and not having to pay taxes (furniture, cars , motorcycles etc)

But getting it in writing through e-mail is always a good idea
I'm not disputing that part, bringing back personal belongings back into the EU after living abroad and not to have pay VAT on cars boats etc. is common procedure and has been so for ages.

The question I have more difficulty with is, as a non EU-resident owning a boat that is flying a EU flag (EU registration) and not to have pay VAT on it. As long as you are not sailing in the EU that might be doable but as soon you enter a EU port and you have to deal with custom officials I would like to be 110% sure there are no if's and but's.

I have the same dilemma and I have been given totally different answer to it.
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Old 20-02-2017, 13:25   #14
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

Would love to see more on that as well :-)
For registration, we contacted the Kadaster ourselves, no agent used.
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Old 21-02-2017, 00:05   #15
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Re: Dutch owners, Dutch flag, live outside EU --> VAT?

SnakeEyes, s/v Jedi, our Dutch Tax Revenue Agency wrote me an email and within 24 hrs- was very impressed. (douane.landelijk.team.jachten@belastingdienst.nl).

I just explained our particular situation and they advised accordingly.
The information I put in my request: our residency status of past 15 years being outside of EU, that we bought a non-EU flagged boat outside of EU that we want to flag as Netherlands, that we do not intend to immediately sail her to EU, but that it is possible that we do end up there at one point in the medium term future (> 2 years away).

Note that we are EU citizens but not EU residents.

If you're not Dutch but citizen of another EU country, would advise you to contact your own country's tax revenue agency. My interpretation of our tax agency's email is that this is governed by EU tax rules, not country specific tax legislation, but better get that clear.
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