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Old 19-08-2016, 14:20   #1
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Buying a boat in Croatia

Would love some advice on buying a boat in Croatia. Recommended brokers, surveyors and lawyers that speak English. Our biggest question is on VAT though, have tried to read other threads and its confusing. Need to know what is the best course of action for us in terms of where to register the boat and whether or not to pay VAT or just exit EU every 18 months.

We are New Zealanders (all have NZ passports and still have an address in NZ), one of us also has Dutch citizenship and a Dutch passport (that's me, the wife, our kids all have dual Dutch/kiwi citizenship too). My husband only has the kiwi passport, I'm not sure if we can get him a residents visa for EU (does anyone know?). Planning to cruise the med for several years but I'm not sure where that makes our place of residence if we are always changing locations?

We are new to all this and very confused if we need to look for a boat with VAT paid and keep boat registered in Croatia (or wherever we buy) or buy a boat without VAT and register it in NZ. Should it be myself or my husband who buys the boat (the kiwi or the EU citizen?).

Finally if we register it in NZ would we then have to pay GST in NZ? Fellow kiwis might be able to help me with that one?

Finally, how long should we expect the purchase process to take in Croatia once we have found our dream boat.
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Old 19-08-2016, 15:31   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

If you want to "live" in the EU all of year you must be a EU citizen. Some EU countries do have residency permit, but they do not necessarily allow you to move freely around the EU and might also mean that your boat must have the VAT paid. You can register your boat in NZ and not pay GST unless you import the boat. you can sail in EU waters for 90 days every 180 days. Some people sail in say the Aegean sea and spend half and half in Greece And Turkey because of this Schengen rule. We sail for 3 months and then go back to Aus for 9. It has worked well for us for 6 years.
BTW there are plenty of ex charter boats for sale in Croatia. most don't have VAT paid. Most are in good condition. Bach yachting is OK. I would start with extensive internet searches, detailed emails with the broker, excellent survey and a personal visit. you need significant details to register the boat and this has to be going on at the same time.
If you're planning to buy under $75k you might see this as a relatively low risk situation and be content with a good survey. things to worry about: motor condition, plexiglass condition, provision of tender , pfds, flares and other safety gear, major damage to hull, all gear operational,
Expect to replace or add: sails, rigging, antifouling, electronics. Ex charter don't expect Tender, outboard motor, any safety gear, bedding, crockey, cutlery, extra sails, spares, tools, spare lines but some or all of these might come with the boat. I would go for a boat with VAT paid; ours is and the customs have occasionally looked at the paperwork and have not complained. I think that Foreign owned boats lose their VAT status after some years and if resold to an EU citizen
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Old 20-08-2016, 04:13   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Croatia, while part of the EU, is not part of Schengen visa area, so being in Croatia will not count against your 90 days of of 180 EU rule. We are in Croatia now for that reason. The boat, if not VAT paid has to leave the EU once every 18 months, but Montenegro and Albania are right next door and both great places to visit.
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Old 20-08-2016, 04:29   #4
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Croatia has been approved to become a member of the EU. Schengen approval subject to validation of safety matters, regulations and procedures to conform to implementing operational requirements.
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Old 20-08-2016, 10:21   #5
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

I'm a US citizen, and bought a boat in Split last year from Euromarine. A Jeanneau 49 DS, 8 yrs old, they were motivated to sell to make room for a new replacement, as do all charter companies worldwide. We we're hunting the internet for over a year before finding her. Unlike private owners with emotional bonds, this was a business decision and it had to go. The price fell steeply as winter progressed, and the sale was easy to do while overseas. We had inspected the boat the previous October, and highly recommend doing so as vessel condition can vary widely. The boat came with everything they provide for charter. Vat not included. It was not listed on the internet, or a broker, making it hard to find. Many other boats we looked at were word of mouth as well, making a company by company search necessary. The survey was quick, insurance difficult, registration simple.
It can be done fairly easily and I found everyone involved quite professional.
We sailed the boat around Greece for 4 months without any additions or repairs except a bigger dingy. This year we're addressing some asthetics and electronics but happy with the boat.
Our biggest legal concern is the 90 day euro limit is hard to satisfy. Otherwise we've found the Med very cheap and easy to own a boat, provided you stay out of marinas.
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Old 20-08-2016, 10:32   #6
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

ROBBINS FAMILY

I AM AN EX-PAT AMERICAN AND HAVE BEEN LIVING ABOARD A 2005 BENETEAU 50 PURCHASED FROM ULTRA SAILING CHARTERS, SPLIT CROATIA NEGOTIATED FEB 2014 - FINALIZED JULY 2014.

THE ORIGINAL DEAL WAS PRETTY GOOD. HOWEVER, BEFORE I WARN YOU NOT TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEM OR PURCHASE ANY YACHT EITHER NEW, USED OR FROM THEIR CHARTER FLEET, THERE ARE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW. THAT INCLUDES THOSE SAME YACHTS REPRESENTED BY OTHER BROKERS.

ULTRA SAILING WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PREVENT A BUYER (AND HIS SURVEYOR) FROM FINDING ALL THINGS WRONG WITH THE VESSEL. THIS I CAN ATTEST TO FROM 1st HAND KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE. THEY WILL ALSO LIE ABOUT CERTAIN REPAIR ISSUES. AND IN MY CASE THEY REMOVED EQUIPMENT, REINSTALLED OR EXCHANGED EQUIPMENT FOR NON-WORKING OR DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND A LOT MORE THINGS.

OTHER BROKERS AND CHARTER COMPANIES THERE ARE A BIT MORE HONEST - BACH, ALLIMISANI, EURO-MARINE, ORCA, SALONA AND SO ON.

ENOUGH SAID ON THAT ISSUE OF THE BUYING PROCESS.

I AM CURRENTLY IN MARINA BAR, MONTENEGRO. YESTERDAY I WENT TO CHECK ON THE CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION RULES IN RESPONSE TO OTHER POSTS AND INQUIRIES REGARDING CREW ENTERING THE COUNTRY WITH A ONE WAY AIR TICKET WITH EXPECTATIONS OF LEAVING VIA SAILING YACHT.

HERE IS THE ANSWER:

ALL COUNTRIES IN EUROPE, INCLUDING CROATIA AND MONTENEGRO ARE SHENGEN! ALBANIA IS THE ONLY EXCEPTION.

MY VESSEL IS REGISTERED IN THE U S STATE OF DELAWARE AND FLYING A U S FLAG. UNDER EUROPEAN REGULATIONS THE VAT HAS NEVER BEEN PAID ON THIS VESSEL. AFTER THE SAIL WAS CONSUMMATED VESSEL REGISTERED, I TOOK AN OVERNIGHT CRUISE 12 KM OFFSHORE FROM SPLIT AND RETURNED TO THE ISLAND VIS, CROATIA THE NEXT DAY.

THAT QUALIFIED UNDER LAW, AS LEAVING THE EU TERRITORY AND THEREFORE NOT REQUIRED TO PAY VAT.

I HAVE MET OTHER SAILORS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES THAT HAVE REGISTERED THEIR VESSELS IN DELAWARE, U S A.

THERE IS A COMPANY IN SPLIT THAT HANDLED ALL THE PAPER WORK FOR ME INCLUDING THE DELAWARE REGISTRATION. YOUR CROATIAN YACHT BROKER CAN ASSIST YOU WITH THAT.

IGOR TADEJEVIC ASSISTED ME PERSONALLY WITH ALL THE CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION, COAST GUARD REQUIREMENTS AND VIGNETTE. YOU MUST HAVE A CAPTAIN'S LICENSE TO SAIL YOUR OWN YACHT IN CROATIA AND A FEW OTHER E U COUNTRIES.

DESPITE ALL COUNTRIES BEING SHENGEN, SOME OF THEM ARE A BIT MORE RELAXED ABOUT THE REGS. IN PESCARA, ITALY (DIRECTLY WEST FROM SPLIT), WITHOUT EVEN ASKING, THEY OFFERED ME A ONE YEAR VISA. IN SPLIT I NEEDED BANKS STATEMENTS POLICE REPORT (I THINK) PROOF OF MEDICAL COVERAGE AND A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS. DESPITE NOT HAVING ALL THAT, I WAS ALLOWED TO STAY IN CROATIA FOR 6 UNINTERRUPTED MONTHS. THERE WERE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES BUT AS I SAID, MOST COUNTRY OFFICIALS ARE VERY COOPERATIVE.

I CANNOT GUARANTEE EVERYONE WILL HAVE AS NICE AN EXPERIENCE AS I HAVE BEEN HAVING BUT I AM NOT HERE IN EUROPE FOR 2 UNINTERRUPTED YEARS AND NO ONE HAS CHASED ME OUT. BE NICE, PLEASANT AND UNASSUMING AND SEE WHAT PEOPLE WILL DO FOR YOU.

HONESTLY SPEAKING, I DO NOT THINK ANYONE HAS BEEN SITTING UPON MY ARRIVAL AND COUNTING THE DAYS I HAVE BEEN IN EACH COUNTRY. THEY ALL WANT TOURIST BUSINESS.

WE'LL SEE WHAT GREECE DOES WHEN I DECIDE I WANT TO STAY MORE THAN 90 CONSECUTIVE DAYS.

THE BEST ADVISE I CAN GIVE IS:

"DON'T WORRY - BE HAPPY!"

CIAO

CAPTAIN RON
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Old 20-08-2016, 16:58   #7
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

I am in Coomera Australia and if you are looking for a genuine honest broker you can not go past Zvonimir Kalinic (zvonimir@multihullcompany.com)
Ze (for short) covers the Med and is a straight shooter.

If you talk to him please say hi from me Clarke now sailing in Oz.
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Old 20-08-2016, 18:24   #8
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Hi Robbins Family, New Zealand GST is only payable if you bring the boat to New Zealand permanently. You can bring the boat back for up to 2 years without paying GST but (as NZ residents) you are likely to have to lodge a cash deposit of the GST amount which will be refunded when the boat departs. If you've owned the boat for more than 21 months (highly likely if you've taken the long way home) then NZ Customs are quite gentle on you.

Don't forget to think about your personal tax status; you could easily become an income tax resident of the EU and Netherlands if you have a Netherlands passport and stay anywhere in the EU for six months or more. NZ has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with the Netherlands which means you shouldn't pay personal tax twice, but Netherlands maximum tax rate is above 50 cents in the dollar, and any New Zealand income you have will be taxed by the Netherlands at their rates minus tax already paid in NZ. Even worse the DTA does not apply to companies and trusts, so you can end up paying company tax in NZ (28c) and then Netherlands tax (52c) in Europe as well. This can add up to more than $0.80 per $1 earned! You can also accidently become subject to Netherlands erfbelasting and capital gains tax on your NZ assets. In many ways it's easier to not have a EU passport when you're in the EU if you have significant non-EU income. If you have a family farm, business, rental properties or other income streams in NZ get some good advice regarding tax.
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Old 20-08-2016, 19:31   #9
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

My son did it. PM me with your email and I'll put you in touch.
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Old 20-08-2016, 22:35   #10
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Apologize in advance if this was already mentioned, but has anyone has any problems flying into Croatia or Montenegro with only a 1 way airline ticket? Ive read some times they'll deny you entry unless you can prove a flight out. thank you
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Old 21-08-2016, 02:18   #11
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAPTAINRONBVI View Post
ALL COUNTRIES IN EUROPE, INCLUDING CROATIA AND MONTENEGRO ARE SHENGEN! ALBANIA IS THE ONLY EXCEPTION.
No that is incorrect.

Croatia, the UK, Republic of Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen agreement but are part of the EU (well the UK is still at them moment). Montenegro is not part of the EU or Schengen neither is Albania. Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU but are part of Schengen.

Croatia, as part of the EU accession, are supposed to join Schengen in due course but there are significant border control issues with Bosnia (also not part of the EU or Schengen) that are preventing this.

Then there is the current turmoil in Schengen with the migrant issue that has resulted in several Schengen members imposing temporary border control checks that may mean Schengen as we currently know it may not exist in future.

As for the VAT issue you have a problem given your Dutch passport. As a Dutch citizen you are liable to pay VAT as soon as you import a vessel into the EU regardless of where it is flagged. So if you purchase a yacht in Croatia you will have to pay VAT due to being an EU citizen in the EU. There is no escape but this does mean you will not have to worry about sailing around the EU as you will be VAT Paid status. You will be able to leave the EU and come back within 3 years without losing the VAT Paid status. Your Dutch passport also allows you to remain in the EU permanently but your NZ passport holding relatives will be limited to 90 days maximum within 180 days inside the Schengen zone unless you can obtain a long term residents visa from a Schengen state.
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Old 21-08-2016, 03:06   #12
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAPTAINRONBVI View Post
ROBBINS FAMILY
. . . ALL COUNTRIES IN EUROPE, INCLUDING CROATIA AND MONTENEGRO ARE SHENGEN! ALBANIA IS THE ONLY EXCEPTION. . . .
CAPTAIN RON
This is not true.

Croatia is in EU, but is not in Shengen.
Montenegro is not in EU at all, and therefore can not be in Shengen either.

How does this fact affect you as a sailor:
Going from one Shengen state to another one does not need to clear out or clear in at all (for example going from Slovenia to Italy). No formalities are needed.
But going from Slovenia to Croatia one needs to clear out and clear in, because Croatia is not in Shengen. Failure to do so can be very expensive. There is no customs control if you move from one EU state to another (like going from Slovenia to Croatia), but there is police (immigration) if one of the EU states is not in Shengen (For Adriatic: Croatia is not while Italy, Slovenia and Greece are in shengen).

Having EU passports as well may be a burden if you own a yacht. EU citizen is subject to pay EU VAT even if entering EU for a single day on his yacht.
As your husband does not have EU passport make sure he is the owner and not you.
That much about the boat.
I do not have enough knowledge to advise about visa and length of stay of people, except that with EU passport one becomes liable to EU tax if one spends more then half of the year in EU (all days in a year combined), so leaving for a day will help you to stay in EU as a tourist (reset of 3 month visa), but will not help you regarding tax obligations. If you have no income then it is OK (if all income is to your husband).
If you (or kids) want to have ownership of the boat, then you better have EU WAT paid. There are many boats with VAt-paid status for sale in Croatia starting this year. Croatia had a very low VAT for boats just shortly before entering EU, so many people paid that low VAT and registered the boat under Croatian flag. This is true primarily for privately owned boats, where the owner is EU citizen.

Edit: While I was cruising -I kept my permanent address and residency in Slovenia. Changing a permanent address to a traveling vessel is not easy here. So my advise would be: Keep the permanent address and residency where you have it now and do all tour on a turist visa. Your husband will have to leave for a day every 3 months unless he gets longer visa. With his passport this will be much easier then with passport from a country with high migration flow to Europe (like Libia, Iran, ...).
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Old 21-08-2016, 04:46   #13
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

BTW New Zealand is perhaps the only country that sought special access to the Schengen zone when it was first established. As a result New Zealanders can apply for permission to stay in a EU country which NZ has a special agreement for 90 days and move onto the next EU country. They can keep on doing this as long as permission is granted.
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntr...ral-agreements
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Old 21-08-2016, 06:01   #14
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

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Originally Posted by Tomaz473 View Post
This is not true.

Croatia is in EU, but is not in Shengen.
Montenegro is not in EU at all, and therefore can not be in Shengen either.
Tomaz,
Not quite true as I pointed out Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU but are members of the Schengen Agreement. So theoretically Montenegro could join Schengen without being a member of the EU. Gets confusing when you add in the fact that Montenegro uses the Euro

Keiron
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Old 22-08-2016, 01:09   #15
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Re: Buying a boat in Croatia

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Tomaz,
Not quite true as I pointed out Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU but are members of the Schengen Agreement. So theoretically Montenegro could join Schengen without being a member of the EU. Gets confusing when you add in the fact that Montenegro uses the Euro

Keiron
You are right. I acknowledge my mistake. I forgot about Switzerland and Norway. They are exception based on previous agreements those two countries had with some other EU states. And both are developed countries and EU had large economic interes to have them in.
Regarding Montenegro joining Shengen: This is very theoretical possibility. Montenegro lacks existing trade and custom agreements with major EU states to push for Shengen. New states wanting to join EU normaly frst join EU and then try to get into Shengen agreement.
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