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Old 10-12-2014, 22:58   #1
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Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

We are in the final stages of purchasing a catamaran that is wintering in Tunisia. It is French flagged, and we intend to re-name it and re-flag it Canadian.

Does anyone know what the correct check-out procedure is after the closing - since the boat will have a different name, registry and owners than it had when it checked in! ?? And, does anyone know if the sale, while the boat is physically Tunisia, would attract any type of sales tax or fees from Tunisia?

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Old 10-12-2014, 23:43   #2
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

Those are pretty technical questions best asked of the Tunesian authorities. One can only guess if all your paper work is intact then it should not be a problem. If it does become one, why not do the renaming and reflagging in a more appropriate port? If your working through a broker, perhaps they can be of guidance.

I assume you know that no Canadian taxes are payable until and if the boat actually reaches Canadian shores. If it never comes here, then no Canadian taxes.

One issue I ran into is my boat, which is in the US, is my VHF license. I need a
Canadian one, as the MMSI registration is affixed to your nationality. Until (paper work in progress now), I can't get instrumentation for ASI, and technically, am not legal to use the VHF, although no one will ask. You may want to consider that.
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Old 10-12-2014, 23:54   #3
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Originally Posted by CookiesnTequila View Post
We are in the final stages of purchasing a catamaran that is wintering in Tunisia. It is French flagged, and we intend to re-name it and re-flag it Canadian.

Does anyone know what the correct check-out procedure is after the closing - since the boat will have a different name, registry and owners than it had when it checked in! ?? And, does anyone know if the sale, while the boat is physically Tunisia, would attract any type of sales tax or fees from Tunisia?

Cheers
One thing to check is if your VAT paid status is retained if the purchase is made out of the EU.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:00   #4
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
Those are pretty technical questions best asked of the Tunesian authorities. One can only guess if all your paper work is intact then it should not be a problem. If it does become one, why not do the renaming and reflagging in a more appropriate port? If your working through a broker, perhaps they can be of guidance.

I assume you know that no Canadian taxes are payable until and if the boat actually reaches Canadian shores. If it never comes here, then no Canadian taxes.

One issue I ran into is my boat, which is in the US, is my VHF license. I need a
Canadian one, as the MMSI registration is affixed to your nationality. Until (paper work in progress now), I can't get instrumentation for ASI, and technically, am not legal to use the VHF, although no one will ask. You may want to consider that.
The ASI registration - or re-registration is something I hadn't thought about! Thank you - I thought i had thought of everything!! I have a Canadian VHF license, and yes, I knew that I will never have to pay canadian taxes, as i am becoming more and more repulsed by snow - just woke up to 6 fresh inches of it!!!

I might actually be able to get someone to ask the local authorities! Thanks.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:22   #5
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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One thing to check is if your VAT paid status is retained if the purchase is made out of the EU.
Thanks Lassy

I did do that because a few folks on this forum thought it might be lost if the sale takes place when the boat is outside EU waters, but i engaged and paid a French based maritime lawyer to confirm that. He advised me the location of the boat could matter, but in our case it didn't. At $350/hr I didn't ask him why!

Back to AVB3 - I am working with a broker, and the brokerage firm also happens to be the listing broker (that could make a whole other thread!). To this point they have not stepped up to the plate to get this question answered - until this point they have been fairly good! I'm still working on them!

Ps - I've been looking at some of those anchorages you told us about! Hopefully we'll share one with you some time!
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:17   #6
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Originally Posted by CookiesnTequila View Post
Ps - I've been looking at some of those anchorages you told us about! Hopefully we'll share one with you some time!
Maybe next year by the sound of it . It would be great to meet.
Send me a PM if you need any specific info about the Ionian or Aegean.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:25   #7
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

Can't you just sail out to international waters make your deal and pay no tax ? To anyone !
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:37   #8
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Can't you just sail out to international waters make your deal and pay no tax ? To anyone !
That is one of our options, but it is not quite as simple as it sounds because best I can tell it will take minimum 4 to 6 weeks to affect the cancellation of the French registry (which is needed before we can register it in Canada) and registration in Canada!

The only way I could think of doing it is:
1) leave the boat in port during the transfer process
2) once we receive our Canadian documentation we check out of Tunisia using a copy of the old documents and a letter from the old owner authorizing us to use his boat
3) once we are in international waters we physically change the name, port and flag
4) Return to the same port (where we want to spend teh rest of the winter) and check in under the new name, flag etc.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:13   #9
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

My situation is identical. I recently purchased a French Flagged boat in the Caribbean and earlier this week applied for the Canadian registration. The certificate of deletion took less than a week and i am told the Canadian registration will take approximately 4 - 5 weeks. The Broker I am working with who also happened to be the listing broker mentioned at some point that you cannot do the check out formalities for a boat that has just been deleted and is no longer registered anywhere. His advice is to do the port check-in procedure with the new boat name once the Canadian registration is issued. He claims that the boat does not even have to leave port to do so. i will let you know if i run into any snags.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:55   #10
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

That is exactly what we seem to be landing on now, but I'm a little worried/uncertain that if we walk into the port authorities with new ownership, and thereby notify them that the boat was sold while in their port/country, that they might try to impose some form of sales or transfer tax...???

My broker simply asked a local yacht repair person that has been working in that marina for the past 20 years what the procedure is, and he responded with the same as yours - I'm inclined to believe him, but....!!

It surprises me that the Brokers don't know the procedure! They take a pretty good chunk to represent sellers, you'd think they would at least educate themselves on the local laws and requirements!! - sorry for the vent!!!

Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:12   #11
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

I would be very wary purchasing with the vague assurance of a local person.

It has been seven years since we were in Tunisia so my information may not be current, but at the time there were weird regulations about purchasing property in Tunisia (I know not the same as a boat, but illustrates how unexpected things can crop up). If you subsequently sold the property only a small proportion of the funds could actually be taken out of Tunisia.

Best to get anything in writing from local authorities regarding no taxes being due and info about any other possible pitfalls.
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:42   #12
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
.....................One issue I ran into is my boat, which is in the US, is my VHF license. I need a Canadian one, as the MMSI registration is affixed to your nationality...............
I am a Dutchman with residence in Brasil, my MMSI registration is in the UK with my address data and who to call data from Brasil...

CeesH
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:04   #13
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
I would be very wary purchasing with the vague assurance of a local person.

It has been seven years since we were in Tunisia so my information may not be current, but at the time there were weird regulations about purchasing property in Tunisia (I know not the same as a boat, but illustrates how unexpected things can crop up). If you subsequently sold the property only a small proportion of the funds could actually be taken out of Tunisia.

Best to get anything in writing from local authorities regarding no taxes being due and info about any other possible pitfalls.
That is precisely what we are doing. I have met the local guy and like and respect him, but I just can't get myself to rely on his advice! I've also put it back to the broker. I really feel that since they listed the boat they should at least know the sale procedures.

We shall see....
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:41   #14
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

[QUOTE=CookiesnTequila;1697656]Thanks Lassy



I did do that because a few folks on this forum thought it might be lost if the sale takes place when the boat is outside EU waters, but i engaged and paid a French based maritime lawyer to confirm that. He advised me the location of the boat could matter, but in our case it didn't. At $350/hr I didn't ask him why!



QUOTE]


Hard to believe. I am not a tax expert, but did some research before we bought our boat. If the sale of an EU flagged boat takes place outside EU waters, VAT is lost.
I wonder what makes your case so special. Better get a second Professional opinion.
But actually this is only relevant, when you want to sell the boat again to somebody in the EU.


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Old 11-12-2014, 12:51   #15
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Re: Port procedures when changing ownership and flag while in Tunisia

If you are in Port Yasmine, just go to the customs office in the marina and ask them. From my experience they have been always very helpfull.


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