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Old 29-01-2016, 16:23   #61
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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So you are trying to convince us that the French customs will not accept a document they issued saying "VAT paid" as proof that VAT has been paid?

And then you think they are going to accept some old invoice as proof? When it does not prove anything at all?

Come on. Pull the other one.
Not trying to convince you of anything actually as clearly you are an expert in this field. Just stating what happened in my case dealing with french customs. Not at all fussed if you are convinced or otherwise but its on the thread so someone else doesnt get caught out by your expert advice.

What you seem to miss here is that its the broker who fills out the certificate de radiation, not customs. It is him that puts VAT PAYED on the form, not customs. They just check the bits that matter for that document vs the proof provided as i mentioned above and stamp it. VAT is not part of this proof and therefore is not checked. Otherwise how do you suppose customs can possibly stamp the document without any proof of the VAT being provided in this case? They have no register to check for themselves...

Most officers you try and present this document to will know that which is why i say it may work but it may not. Dont be at all surprised if the next question to you will be please provide the original boats invoice. Good luck telling em you dont have it cos it proves nothing. From experience they seem to disagree and then the burden of proof will be on you.
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Old 29-01-2016, 17:14   #62
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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And then you think they are going to accept some old invoice as proof?
The thing with laws is that they apply even when you disagree with them.
And said laws are pretty clear on what paperwork is required.
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Old 29-01-2016, 17:54   #63
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

The understanding I have is that in Spain, likely France as well, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. The burden of proof is on you, rather than the Crown. Any opposing views?
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Old 29-01-2016, 21:09   #64
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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Not trying to convince you of anything actually as clearly you are an expert in this field. Just stating what happened in my case dealing with french customs. Not at all fussed if you are convinced or otherwise but its on the thread so someone else doesnt get caught out by your expert advice.

What you seem to miss here is that its the broker who fills out the certificate de radiation, not customs. It is him that puts VAT PAYED on the form, not customs. They just check the bits that matter for that document vs the proof provided as i mentioned above and stamp it. VAT is not part of this proof and therefore is not checked. Otherwise how do you suppose customs can possibly stamp the document without any proof of the VAT being provided in this case? They have no register to check for themselves...

Most officers you try and present this document to will know that which is why i say it may work but it may not. Dont be at all surprised if the next question to you will be please provide the original boats invoice. Good luck telling em you dont have it cos it proves nothing. From experience they seem to disagree and then the burden of proof will be on you.
I will assume then that when you hire a car in the EU, that you then take with you all the documentation to prove to a customs officer who might stop you anywhere inside the EU (customs controls no longer happen at borders), that all the VAT for your hire car has properly been accounted for in case they bang you up and produce the proof?

Also note that VAT is not a status, but is a transaction tax. It may become due on future transactions of goods which have already had VAT paid once on them. (Happens in the case of export and reimport, or if something has been bought by a company and is being sold again).

Note that as generally (except in the case of obvious fraud), an EU resident (nb this is not related to EU citizenship) who buys something used which is in the EU from some else (an EU resident person), no VAT is due. Normally evidence of this in the form of a bill of sale is sufficient for customs authorities. If bought from a company, then VAT has to be paid to the company (for which you will get a new invoice showing the VAT). This also applies to non EU residents - except for export as mentioned above.

EU citizens have a hard time to justify that they are not EU resident. Being considered tax resident in another country on its own is not sufficient.
Foreigners are often EU resident.

NB customs are very sensitive to various VAT avoidance schemes which operate in France and Italy and check that the rules have been rigorously adhered to. Basically an intermediate company is involved who owns the boat and does a hire purchase scheme to you. The scheme is complex and it is easy to foul up with it if the boat is sold before the end of the scheme.

Also many boats are quite legally sold "VAT not paid". E.g. charter boats by the charter company etc. If you are a non EU resident and exporting the boat, then you don't have to pay the VAT. Some non EU citizens who are EU resident expect to be able to do this. They cannot.

Some non EU residents screw up and don't respect the export procedure and end up in trouble. Some EU residents expect not to have to pay the VAT if they move the boat to Turkey after purchase - i.e. export. But they cannot do this if the seller party or the boat is in the EU.

Note that customs have records for all of these kinds of things - you cannot beat the system, they will catch up with you.

You are right that there is no register for VAT paid for the very reason that VAT is a transaction tax and not some kind of status. Even the original builder only needs to keep VAT records for a limited time (I think 5 years, but it might be only 3 years - I can check with my accountant).
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Old 29-01-2016, 22:13   #65
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

No if customs impounded my hire car I would just give them the keys and go to the hire company and get a replacement - not my problem is it?

If I owned the car I would have the registration with me but since I havnt bought a car in the EU I dont know about what that says about vat status.

Ive only done this for a boat which is why i chimed in

peace out
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Old 29-01-2016, 22:25   #66
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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No if customs impounded my hire car I would just give them the keys and go to the hire company and get a replacement - not my problem is it?

If I owned the car I would have the registration with me but since I havnt bought a car in the EU I dont know about what that says about vat status.

Ive only done this for a boat which is why i chimed in

peace out
The car registration document says absolutely nothing about VAT status. (I have bought cars in 3 EU countries, new and second hand. And imported from UK to France, France to Germany, Germany to France).
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Old 29-01-2016, 22:58   #67
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

The way the EU manages VAT on boats is a joke. I don't know why they don't make it so that to register a boat privately, the VAT must be paid and if you want to avoid paying the VAT it must be done through a company and have the company register the boat.

Once a boat is on a national registry, then VAT status can be forgotten about when cruising or when buying a boat from another country. Much like it is with cars...
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Old 30-01-2016, 00:33   #68
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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The way the EU manages VAT on boats is a joke. I don't know why they don't make it so that to register a boat privately, the VAT must be paid and if you want to avoid paying the VAT it must be done through a company and have the company register the boat.

Once a boat is on a national registry, then VAT status can be forgotten about when cruising or when buying a boat from another country. Much like it is with cars...
It is like that for France and Spain. But not the UK.
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Old 31-01-2016, 06:12   #69
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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Originally Posted by med View Post

I will assume then that when you hire a car in the EU, that you then take with you all the documentation to prove to a customs officer who might stop you anywhere inside the EU (customs controls no longer happen at borders), that all the VAT for your hire car has properly been accounted for in case they bang you up and produce the proof? . . . . . . . . . .


Also note that VAT is not a status, but is a transaction tax.
Not just Customs Officers (and they CAN stop you 'anywhere' inside the EU).

I was stopped by a Guardia Civil road check in Spain in a hire car, had 'all' the supplied hire car documentation inside the briefcase, and it turned out one of the necessary pieces of paper hadn't been given to me. Turned out it WAS apparently a VAT related issue, and I gathered it was something to do with how it affected a 'bond' element, which was expected to have separate documentation at the time (paperwork has probably been improved since, as this was not long after Spain introduced VAT).

It took a loooong time to get that sorted out (and the Guardia Civil guys were brilliant in helping to get it sorted, greatly helped by a "No Ingles, mi Payes de Galles" as I was in Galicia - as soon as they knew I wasn't English, their attitude to me changed completely - it is actually disturbing how much the English are despised across the Continent by 'Officialdom', given how much has been sacrificed down the years for their benefit, so don't ignore how much some may seek to 'stick the knife in' and be obstructive . . . . This is also true in too many quarters, of 'Officialdom' attitude to Americans. I am now convinced it stems from their hatred and complete loathing of the concept of 'Denial of Power' and 'The Rule of Law', and it runs very deep - oh and for the conceptually challenged, this is nothing to do with politics).

I have just had a communication with HMRC concerning the importation of a non VAT paid vessel from America, particularly as it is a pre-1985 construction.

The first thing I had to do, was get a Commodity Code for it, and for which I had to provide as much information as possible, and I included my offer price subject to survey, as well as a few items I knew I would buy for it. Maintenance replacements and necessary servicing are apparently not counted, as long as they don't increase the value. That I will sail the boat back myself was also relevant, apparently.

I had two codes back:

"I can advise that if you intend to live on the vessel it will be classified in 8903911000 Sailboats, with or without auxiliary motor Seagoing https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/8903911000. if you click on the link duty/VAT rates will been shown." [VAT in the UK is 20%]

"If you plan to use the boat very restrictively it would be classified as a collectible as it is no longer used for its original purpose in 9705000090 https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/9705000090 if you click on the link duty/VAT rates will be shown." [VAT in the UK is 5%]

I would reasonably expect that if you import it as a collectible, not to be used for its original purpose, and then change the use back after, then you will likely be liable to the full 20%, and if you don't inform them, likely liable to a substantial fine and/or confiscation of the boat, for evasion of VAT. I wouldn't recommend risking it.

Also, as the first Port in the EU, that you stop at, is the one entitled to the VAT and to charge for it, be careful where you enter. Personally this means as soon as I enter EU waters, I skip the Canaries and Madeira on the way back, and if I need to stop before getting home, it may pay me to stop at Gibraltar (or the Channel Islands). Otherwise I head straight for a UK Port, no stops.

It is not unhelpful that I have now established communications, and have a good idea of the VAT bill I will get when I arrive (so I can make sure it is immediately available to pay it).

For the final part, once the tax transaction is complete, it has the status of being paid.
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Old 31-01-2016, 06:39   #70
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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The car registration document says absolutely nothing about VAT status. (I have bought cars in 3 EU countries, new and second hand. And imported from UK to France, France to Germany, Germany to France).
Good point.

The registration document for a car, is really only the documentation of the registered keeper. It isn't a registration of ownership.

I will be in this situation with my boat as well, because I will put my boat on the UK's SSR (Part III) - all I actually need - before entering EU waters, and sailing in under the Red Ensign.

Compared to a lot of other options that may be initially attractive, due to the low value and the age of the boat, it's not that bad a deal for me, and will help to reduce annual costs by potentially quite a bit (and I want to get as much as possible out of the way asap).
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Old 31-01-2016, 07:44   #71
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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The way the EU manages VAT on boats is a joke. I don't know why they don't make it so that to register a boat privately, the VAT must be paid and if you want to avoid paying the VAT it must be done through a company and have the company register the boat.

Once a boat is on a national registry, then VAT status can be forgotten about when cruising or when buying a boat from another country. Much like it is with cars...
Nice point you've made, Hoppy. Yes, for customs purposes, the EU does treat boats the same way as cars (and horse carts and airplanes!). They're all "Means of Transport" - MoT.

The problem with these MoT is that, in giving them free movement across countries within the EU, each country had different sets of detailed regulations about how their individual MoT should be fitted out, and who could drive them, and what (if any) circulation taxes should be paid, and, for that matter, whether or not they should be registered on a central database, and what that database should record.

For many countries whose legal systems were based on the Napoleonic code, "registers" for MoT contained not only the current owner, but held the full ownership history of the machine, with all bills of sale etc, including a record of the VAT status. Hence the customs paper releasing the French boat from their register could state "TVA paid" authoritatively.

Notoriously, UK have no requirement for leisure boats under 24m LOA to be registered at all. "The flag is all we need . . .". And several other northern countries took a similar very relaxed approach to registration of leisure boats. To prove VAT was paid therefore meant that owners themselves would have to maintain complete chains of evidence, not only of Bills of sale, but also of presence (or absence from) the EU.

Of course, it's not beyond the wit of many, with modern technology, to create nice looking Bills of sale. Some EU countries with astute customs authorities were alert to this practice. Croatia, until it joined the EU, had hosts of SSR registered, but non-VAT paid boats based there.

No-one has mentioned "T2L" yet. T2L, if completed by a registered customs office, offers acceptable proof that "goods" have the right of free circulation within the EU. Both Portugal, and Croatia have been calling for these documents as proof that boats have been legitimately "imported" ie, VAT and duties paid where the circumstances required.

I think most of the excellent points made on this thread are covered on Going Foreign in Your Boat | JimB Sail - including T2L details. Also, many of the conflicts described, such as the variation in behaviour between different EU countries, and different officials within those countries. These, of course have created different opinions among sailors as to what's law and what's practice.

Messy, indeed.

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Old 31-01-2016, 08:06   #72
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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Notoriously, UK have no requirement for leisure boats under 24m LOA to be registered at all. "The flag is all we need . . .". And several other northern countries took a similar very relaxed approach to registration of leisure boats. To prove VAT was paid therefore meant that owners themselves would have to maintain complete chains of evidence, not only of Bills of sale, but also of presence (or absence from) the EU.
Sweden's the same. There is no registration leisure boats, not sure the size limit. If you want to leave Swedish waters, yachts bigger than 12mx4m must be registered and the rest just get a cruising certificate from the Swedish cruising club.


I'm surprised that more EU countries don't do more to connect the VAT status to the registration, since it's to their financial benefit
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Old 31-01-2016, 09:11   #73
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

As others have already said. It turns out that the authorities are actually proof of VAT paid. When we had the survey we confirmed this with the surveryor as well.

So I will rest with that for now.
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Old 27-02-2016, 02:13   #74
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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Some non EU residents screw up and don't respect the export procedure and end up in trouble.
What is the correct export procedure for non-EU residents?
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Old 28-02-2016, 04:24   #75
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Re: And so it continues... This time: V.A.T.

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What is the correct export procedure for non-EU residents?
People. For non-EU residents (crews who don't have permission to reside in the EU) ensure your passports have exit stamps when you leave so that you don't apparently over-stay your 90 days per any 180 (or whatever limit applies to your nationality).

Boats. In general, none. Just go. But if the boat returns to the EU, have some proof that the boat has been outside - such as marina or berthing receipts. There are exceptions - Greece does require you to hand in the boat's transit log on departure from the country, but the consequences of not handing the log in are unclear if you don't intend to return.

Buying a Boat in the EU. If you've bought a boat within the EU, yes, you don't have to pay VAT if you're subsequently going to export the boat from the EU. Your broker/sales agent will advise the procedure and time limits which will apply.
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