Ive a lot of experience in this area
Okay - I can't resist the topic creep
I do believe this is the key - "imported by the person that exported it from the EU", means that regardless of what happens, as long as we reflag to an EU country before selling, VAT is preserved. And this is a UK document - each EU country has it's own interpretations of how to govern VAT!
Actually They don't, VAT is harmonised across the EU, the same laws that apply in the UK apply in other EU countries and vice versa, unless a specific derogation was sought on accession, most of these have expired.
What is unfortunately different across Europe
, is specific customs
agents knowledge of the relevant
VAT laws and directives. Often they may not be aware of specific issues regarding boats etc.
There are a few points Id like to clear up
1. The flag of the boat has absolutely no bearing on the VAT status (* see below) , It has no bearing on whether the boat was exported from the EU or not. Its utterly irrelevant as far as VAT law goes,
2. There is no specific VAT certificate ( despite our dutch friends paperwork). If you pay VAT to customs directly ( i.e. you personally import
the vessel), you will receive a customs receipt of VAT. Note this means you paid a sum of VAT, it doesn't actually mean you paid the correct VAT or that you paid it in the correct country
It merely means , thank you for giving us some of your money
3. The vast majority of VAT is paid when boats are purchased new, In that case THE ONLY document you have is a sales invoice, because VAT is NOT reported on an individual basis, revenue authorities have no way of knowing what actual VAT is paid on what.
4. VAT is a transaction tax, it is not a asset tax. VAT can be due multiple times, depending on the type and nature of the transactions that take place. An Asset actually cannot have a "VAT status", since the VAT is related to a transaction, but the term is used .
5. Some but not all flag registries need VAT proof, IN my experience, they all except a sale
invoice ( since in practice thats all there is). Some registries actually want to see the chain of documents following each sale
back to the original importer, that can be awkward
6. There are many cases when boats are registered that have NO vat paid, sailing schools, commercial
operations, distributors etc, are VAT registered and in effect do not pay VAT or can reclaim VAT.
7. The question was asked, if you loose the VAT paperwork, it can be very difficult or impossible to replace it. Customs have no record
of any specific payment, unless the boat was personally imported.
8. by the way , for all of you considering paying VAT, under EU rules, VAT on " new means of transport" ( i.e. boats over 7,5 m) is correctly due in the " country of destination", not simply the first one you hit. The country of destination
has been taken to mean the country where the boat is or will be habitually kept. IN theory if you are sailing from the purchase destination
to your home, you are meant to arrange with customs along the route
in advance that you will be travelling and pay the VAT in the final destination on arrival.
Luckily VAT on the high seas is not ad issue and blown out of all proportion in internet forums