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Old 13-04-2010, 21:04   #1
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Clearing In to the Next Country in Europe

We are about to pick up our new (to us) boat in Toulon, France.

We will have the boat registered in Australia (hopefully) by then, or at least marked. In any event it will be off the French register. The boat was owned by a Frenchman and was on the French register. A French bank reposessed the boat from him in Toulon.

Do we need to somehow register with the French authorities?

We then plan to cruise up the coast to Italy.

Do we have to clear into Italy?

Later we will return to French waters in Corsica. Clear in again ?

Any help received with thanks.

daniel
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Old 13-04-2010, 21:10   #2
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Might be some interesting issues...The French will want to see your check-in papers, but they may notice that the owner doesn't match your current docs. Might wonder about duties and taxes. Time for a sea lawyer...

Might want to ask around....if it's trouble you could try checking out as a delivery for the old owners with the old docs and then into Italy as the new. Everything is probably easier in Italy, if ya know what I mean...
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Old 13-04-2010, 21:28   #3
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Hi,

Added a bit more of the history of the baot in my original post.

Not sure if the addition of the previous ownership will help.

This seems like one of those classics damned if you do and damned if you don't situations.

If we go and talk to the authorities in France we may just create a problem for ourselves.
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Old 13-04-2010, 21:30   #4
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Given that France and Italy are both EU countries do I in fact have to check in and out?
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Old 13-04-2010, 21:39   #5
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Oh. Already imported into France. So maybe no duty. But you might owe some kind of VAT or sales tax.

You have to ask the authorities or a lawyer or agent. You cannot know. And if you do know they will change the rules tomorrow. Give it a go. It's different everywhere and every day.

I recently checked-in to a port and was told I had to go see Immigration. But I was already checked-in to the country at a port long ago. Immigration guy blabbed on and on about why he needed this and that. I said I'd go get it and walked out. He's dead wrong. So I never went back. It won't matter. Goofy.
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Old 14-04-2010, 00:40   #6
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There should not be any tax.

We bought one in French St Martin and just cleared out without any problems.

I don't know about the Med stuff.
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Old 14-04-2010, 01:59   #7
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I agree with MarkJ .
"Given that France and Italy are both EU countries do I in fact have to check in and out?"
After having the papers of your boat in order, you will not have to check in or out between France and Italy. In fact, I never had (nor seen for other boats) any control in this area for 20 years ! You enter a port or marina, go to the office, show the papers, pay and that'all... Mooring is of course free and without control (execpt a few very protected aeras mostly in Corsica and Sardegna). Eastward, in Greece, for example (though an EU country) you can have a control from the Port Police and you need to pay a Transit Log...
Sorry for my english..., I am french...
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Old 14-04-2010, 02:13   #8
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I'm not sure whether you are EU citizens. If you are (ie everyone on board) you will have few problems with the crew - ie your issues will be proof of ownership and VAT. If any of you are not EU citizens then there will be limitations on your time in any EU country. However, between France and Italy you are staying within the Schengen area and you are unlikely to be checked. (It is not impossible: we had papers checked at anchor in the Iles d'Hyere just off Toulon, and American friends had their passports examined.) From memory you have 90 days in the country before you must either apply for a visa or move on - but check that if it applies to you.

Your broker or seller should provide you with the paperwork that verifies your ownership. In the UK this would be called a Bill of Sale and for RG we have all the Bills that go back to her original building. (I don't know what the equivalent paper is called in France. Maybe Jacques2 can comment on this point.

VAT is slightly different. Was the boat built in the EU, or imported at some point? And when? The answers to those questions will determine what paperwork you need to have and cherish on board. (RG was built before VAT but we can prove, via a marina receipt from Gouvia, Corfu, that she was in the EU on the key date of proof in 1994, so we are not liable for VAT). Again this is something the broker should be able to advise you about and prove as necessary.

Enforcement of all of this is patchy in the western Med but, like I say, it does happen. And if you want to venture further - eg to Greece or the boarders around Croatia, you may be asked. We never have been asked for VAT papers or even absolute proof of ownership, but we are two women sailing a scruffy old Swedish boat (built in Sweden, UK flagged) so we're very unthreatening.

Your Oz boat registration papers will be more than adequate for almost all situations, but you should have the absolute proof of title and ownership just in case.
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Old 14-04-2010, 03:06   #9
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For reasonably authoritative' information on clearance see Noonsite: France If you follow the links there is quite a bit of useful information there.

P.
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Old 14-04-2010, 03:06   #10
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"in the UK this would be called a Bill of Sale and for RG we have all the Bills that go back to her original building. (I don't know what the equivalent paper is called in France. Maybe Jacques2 can comment on this point".
In France, a French citizen must have something like a passport for a boat in two parts which names are : 1) "Acte de Francisation" and 2) "Titre de Navigation" (In "Francisation", you have "France", it means an Act that certifies the boat is French and (2) is authorized to sail in french waters). To get this document one have to go first to the "Douanes" (customs offices) and then to the "Affaires Maritimes"
The seller of your boat mut have this document of course.
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Old 14-04-2010, 06:07   #11
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Would re-registering an EU VAT-paid vessel in a non-EU country require another VAT if the vessel was re-imported into the EU ?
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Old 14-04-2010, 06:41   #12
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Firstly I agree with jacques2 , once your not British the French will leave you alone. I've never been asked for papers. The Brits get all anal about the French but in my opinion they are the least paper obcessed in Europe. If sailing within the Eu all you need to do is check in at each marina or port They will primarily be interested in ( a) insurance and(b) some official looking document that's says your the owner and what the principal dimensions are. ( there is a bit more to do in greece)

Portugal can be anal about paperwork. never been asked about VAT. Note the authorities can often board and ask for papers but mostly that's drugs interdiction work or illegal immigrants detection nothing really to do with the boat.

Make sure you fly your ensign

Once this boat was legally in the EU there is no VAT issue a bil i
of sale should be enough. The original sales invoice will so be useful. There is no document that's proves VAT was paid, despite people telling u to get it.

Generally there is very little hassle sailing in the med way way less they say a non-US boat visiting in the states. Smile and be polite.

crew visas , since most med countries are on the schengen area you ate allowed 90 days to vist ALL countries not 90 days each. So it's very hard to actually crise the med and not break immigration rules. At the moment there isn't tight scrutiny of overstays especially if you look wealthy, middle class and quite frankly are White
but the situation is changing as the integrated computer systems come on line and their have been cases of overstay trouble in italy, Greece and Portugal. There are no extended visas avaible for normal tourists by the way.

As to the export and reentry of a VAT paid boat. Once the ownership of the vessel didn't change ie it isn't sold when it's out of the EU then it will not be charged vat again on import back into the EU. The normal period is 3 years but can be extended by agreement with customs.

My advice complete the sale, deregister the boat from French registery re register as your own , have a bill of sale and original invoices and don't worry sail off and enjoy watch the overstay for the crew however

dave
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Old 14-04-2010, 12:05   #13
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DtM,

Being South African and having bought a boat second-hand in Holland in 2008 I have this advice:
1) Have a proper sales contract / bill of sale. Have proof that VAT has been paid (and translate this in English). Have these documents on board. It might also help to have some kind of proof that this boat was previously on the French register.
2) Register the boat with the relevant Australian authority and have the relevant registration document on board. Mark the boat as per Australian regulations. Also have the relevant Australian papers on board regarding all your radio equipment incl. your personal radio licence. If Australia prescribes a Skipper's Certificate for you, have it on board. Fly the Australian ensign and the courtesy ensign.
3) Unless you live permanently in the EU, you will need a Schengen visa which gives you a 90 day stay in the Schengen countries.
4) When sailing from a Schengen country to a Schengen country you do not need to clear in or out.
5) Keep a log book and all harbour / marina receipts to backup ypur log book.
6) If VAT has been paid on your boat, it can remain indefinitely in the EU, unlike you. If you decide to leave the EU waters with your boat at a later stage and return to the EU after more than three years, it will be deemed that VAT was not paid and hence different rules apply for that stay.

My experience of sailing in Northern European waters is that the South African flag attracks Customs: I had customs visit / check me out in Holland, France and three-times in the UK (twice at sea in coastal waters). Many years ago on a French registered charter boat we got checked out by French customs at 0630hrs in port!

Happy sailing!
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Old 14-04-2010, 12:46   #14
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Quote:
proof that VAT has been paid (and translate this in English
What document do you suggest for this, as there isnt one.

Quote:
6) If VAT has been paid on your boat, it can remain indefinitely in the EU, unlike you. If you decide to leave the EU waters with your boat at a later stage and return to the EU after more than three years, it will be deemed that VAT was not paid and hence different rules apply for that stay.
nonsense, The rules are laid out in "Returned Goods Relief". As long as the vessel isnt sold or substantially improved outside the EU, the three year rule is only a nominal number Customs can ( and do ) regulary extend it indefinitely. In fact once the transaction was in the EU, then there is actually no way they can know it was out of the EU anyway. Its something thats never checked unless you tell them ( remember the golden rule, no good deed goes unpunished).

As the previous poster points out his flag state attracted attention. If you intend to remain in the EU a long time , you could for example reflag in an EU state, say like Ireland, which deosnt attract the same attention as the brits, The french love us by the way!!. ( and the flag is alomost identical to the Italian flag so everyone thinks were Med boys.).. Get a number and stick it in nice big white letters down the hull like the natives, youll never be bothered again.
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Old 14-04-2010, 14:15   #15
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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
What document do you suggest for this, as there isnt one.
Sorry but have to disagree:

1) I have in possession a document from the Dutch fiscal authorities confirming that VAT has been paid on my boat.

2) Alternatively a copy of the original invoice showing the VAT should do fine.
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