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Old 18-03-2012, 00:44   #1
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How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS?

Hello all,

So I live in Washington in the USA. My wife and I are looking very seriously at the possibility of moving to AUS sometime in the next 1-2 years. One of the options we thought about was that we could buy a boat here in the US and I would sail it across to AUS and we would use it as a liveaboard for at least the first year we were there. Then either sell it if she hates it or continue living on it if she's OK with it.

However, I'm having some trouble figuring out if/when we would pay GST. From what I have read it seems like we would have to have owned the boat and used it outside of AUS for at least 12 months to avoid GST? Or is that BS? Is there a way to use a cruising permit or some such to get around this? We would like to sell our house before buying a boat but not sure if my wife is up for living on a boat here in the cold for a year before moving. We would have to pay sales tax in Washington since we're residents and I don't really fancy paying two sales taxes....by then we might as well just buy in AUS.

I tried searching but couldn't find an answer on the forum. Thank you for any help you can provide.

EDIT:
Tried attacking the problem from a different angle and looks like there's no way to get out of paying the GST...damn the luck...

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page4361.asp

EDIT2:
Maybe a way of just paying GST on the value or purchase price of the vessel and not the transportation costs?
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Old 18-03-2012, 05:04   #2
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

if you buy a US vessel built vessel you will still pay GST but not import Duty. There is a difference of course.

If you dont "import" into the country you wont have to pay GST. It can "visit" for a pre determined period. Which may mean at a later date, you choose to complete the import process if you plan staying longer- or simply keep sailing up into Asia with only the costs of the usual Pratique.
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Old 18-03-2012, 05:12   #3
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

You pay GST and that = 10%. If there is a way to avoid I don't know it.

Take aussie citizenship and many things become possible.
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Old 18-03-2012, 05:14   #4
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
You pay GST and that = 10%. If there is a way to avoid I don't know it.

Take aussie citizenship and many things become possible.
Citizenship wont change import duties and taxes.
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Old 18-03-2012, 05:37   #5
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

We are aussie citizens shortly to return home after 4 years in Canada. our understanding of the rules, and confirmed by others in a similar position is that any items we purchased within 12 months of return date are subject to GST. Anything more than 12 months old is not.

Regarding immigration and bringing goods into Australia, probably need to get expert advise from an immigration agent or such
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Old 18-03-2012, 10:16   #6
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

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We are aussie citizens shortly to return home after 4 years in Canada. our understanding of the rules, and confirmed by others in a similar position is that any items we purchased within 12 months of return date are subject to GST. Anything more than 12 months old is not.
That is what we were originally looking at and thinking we could own and use the boat here for a year, then wouldn't have to pay GST upon moving to AUS.

But looking into it a bit further it seemed like there was a special rule for yachts. You can temporarily import the yacht for up to 12 months with a deposit equal to the amount of GST you would have paid (refunded when you take the yacht out of AUS), but if you plan to sell the yacht in AUS or keep the yacht in AUS for more than a year you have to pay GST on the purchase price of the boat + the cost of delivery (or estimated cost of professional delivery if you brought the boat over yourself). That's a total bummer.

There's a great selection of older fiberglass monohull sailboats here in the PNW compared to AUS it seems...but don't want to pay such a huge amount in taxes. Maybe buy in British Columbia and immediately export to AUS without paying the sales tax, or buy in Oregon...if you're not a resident of Washington you can get a permit that allows you some time in WA without paying sales tax here but not available for Washington residents.
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Old 18-03-2012, 13:25   #7
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Re: How to avoid Australian GST as US citizen buying boat in the US and moving to AUS

Good luck 'navigating' the rules. don't feel too bad though, coz your well erned GST tax dollars can go help pay my medical expenses in retirement

Our intention is to either order a new boat, or buy 2nd hand within 12 months of getting back. We have looked at buying something in the PNW, or even the med and sail it back, but have come to the conclusion over the past couple of years rather than do that, and may be have all the hassles of a 2nd hand boat purchased over seas, then probably charter in the med for the experience, and noodle around oz and maybe PNG, Solomons etc . But, i can see that if you are in the area, then it would make sense to really check out the local boats.

My guess is that a downhill sail across the Pacific would be worth the price of of entry ?
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Old 18-03-2012, 14:44   #8
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

Well, if we were in Oz I don't think we'd consider buying a boat here....but being here and within easy reach of all the major marinas in Washington....it's very tempting right now. Prices are low and old fiberglass boats in particular seem to be in better shape here than say CA or FL due to less sun here. Probably a little bit cheaper and easier to get new and particularly secondhand gear here too. Plus we could put a bunch of our stuff on the boat...if we went by plane we would have to sell or get rid of quite a few things...

Hmm...but paying an extra 10-20% of boat price in taxes would be pretty crappy...

Well, we've got at least 6-12 months, I guess watch how the currency market goes for now.

We were looking at boats from the '60s and early '70s and it's a little hard for me to find comparable boats in AUS. Seems like a lot of boats were wood over there during that time period.

In any case, thankful the wife is even considering the option....didn't think that would happen...
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Old 18-03-2012, 22:03   #9
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

If you do some price comparisons you will likely find it is likely to be very much cheaper to buy in Washington, transport and pay GST (plus duty if applicable) than it is to be the same model (in same condition) here in Aust. Just factor the taxes into your calcs. and move on. How much cheaper depends on how well you buy. You are in the perfect place to get a very good boat quite cheaply.

It really depends on whether you want a boat when you are in Aust. Be aware that its a smaller market in Aust. It can be much a harder to find a particular model. And can take a long time to sell here too.
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Old 19-03-2012, 00:59   #10
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

I tried hard , being and Aussie buying a US registered boat, to get out of the GST and duty, but in the end , just dam paid it , and put that down to what I can possibly make on the whole deal if I sold it back in Aus. Not that, that is my intention.
Strange though , on reading this entry , I looked up my date of purchase (11 /11/ 2010) and the date of the importation records , ( 21/11/2011).
YES, 12 months and 10 days with proof of purchase from the origanal bill of sale.
I quickly got on the ph to local customs, and they said the 12 month ownership did not fit my situation.
1- my vessel is over 7m ( wouldnt anything sailed across the Pacific be over 7m)
2- because it has motors , 2 being a cat , it is considered a motor vessel which also , somehow counts me out.

Dont get me wrong , the customs people were polite , easy to get on with and as helpful as possible, but these regulations are only there for revenue.
One must not forget I was also made to import the frig gas, yes again you read right , import the fridge gas, at a one off cost of $400. This is meant to stop people bringing in ozone depleteing substances into Aus.
My thoughts here, are- wakey , wakey Mr/Mrs greeny, instead of creating bullshit revenue and keeping yourself employed, why not have that $400 bucks put to changing the bluddy fridge gas.
I really am starting to understand why so many cruisers void Aus now.

My best advice , phone them up and get your info from the horses mouth
, if they understand or know there own regulations that is.
I must say again , they were as helpful as they could be , even if it was never what I wanted to hear.
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Old 19-03-2012, 01:14   #11
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

JM21s link was very enlightening. The Aussies are definitely not import friendly.
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Old 19-03-2012, 05:10   #12
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

Be very careful also about the price of your boat. You may be taxed 10% GST on the market value and not what you paid for it. I am guessing this is to stop people saying they paid $10 for a $500,000 boat. As previously mentioned the price of delivery is added into it also. Even if you sailed it here they will estimate commercial cost of delivery at add to the overall cost price.

Import tax is not charged for U.S manufactured boats but if the boat is purchased in the US but has been manufactured in another country not in a free trade agreement with Australia then you will be paying another 5% import duty

Mates advice above is best. Talk direct to customs and get the facts. Be polite and dont argue as the guys and girls on the end of the line are just following the guidelines and will not be ripping you off. The government is doing that in their official capacity!!

All the best whichever way you decide and when you are actually here you have some great places to sail.

Scott
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Old 19-03-2012, 05:18   #13
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

There was an extremely detailed thread on this subject running through last year. You guys would do well to read it.
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:36   #14
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
There was an extremely detailed thread on this subject running through last year. You guys would do well to read it.
I read through most of it, but it was Australian citizens and I thought there might be a way to get around things as a US citizen, especially if I paid sales tax in the US.
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Old 19-03-2012, 09:42   #15
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Re: How to Avoid Australian GST as US Citizen Buying Boat in the US and Moving to AUS

What if you puchased a Seawind or other Ozzie boat in the US and took it back? Just wondering.
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