Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-05-2013, 11:19   #241
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
I guess in theory what you do is turn up at the offices of the folks who sent you the bill (Customs) armed with boat paperwork (and bills for mooring outside the EU), plus likely own Passports / Visas / documents showing you are resident elsewhere (if they show you have also not been in the EU!) to demonstrate that no VAT is due on the boat as it has not been in the EU long enough and you are not an EU resident (including by accident!).

In theory!, let us know how it goes in practice.

What you are likely having to do is demonstrate that you are not one of the (many?) folks (EU and non EU) who have been in Portugal for years on a boat and regard a fair share of tax payable as solely the duty on beer consumed.......
We are currently out of the country, but a marina representative went to customs with our proof of being out of the EU (letter from Jersey Port Authority, EU Commission regulations, stating the 18 month rule and confirmation from the UK Customs that Channel Islands, for VAT purpose, is out of the EU) and the officer in charge would not even read them because the docs aren't in Portuguese. The marina staff offered to interpret the docs for her and she said no. They are now accusing us of tax evasion - even though we have been out of the EU several times over the years. We are contacting any agency that will listen to help our fight. Next step is getting on a plane, hiring a lawyer and knocking on the US Embassy's door.
__________________

__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 11:21   #242
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Oh... and to answer the original question... until last week, I was not put off by sailing in the EU. Now... we'll see. The Caribbean is sounding better and better.
__________________

__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 11:35   #243
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by cahlgren View Post
Oh... and to answer the original question... until last week, I was not put off by sailing in the EU. Now... we'll see. The Caribbean is sounding better and better.
Bit more pirates but nothing a gun or two won't fix

You need to get a local public notary (local in Portugal) to sign off a translation and stuff that through their throat with a local lawyer.
__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 11:35   #244
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cahlgren View Post
We have about 10 people trying to help right now, trying to get supporting documentation from various other EU countries stating their VAT policy. No one has been successful as of yet - no one wants to (or can't) give out their VAT rules on paper. The marina in Jersey gave us a great letter stating that we were in their marina last May and that the Channel Islands is out of the EU. This proof, plus many quotes of the EU regulations have been sent to Customs in Portugal. The marina staff where our boat is located is trying to help, but nothing has been resolved yet. The next step maybe a premature flight back to Portugal, hiring a lawyer and contacting the US Embassy.

As for France, this is a known issue in our sailing circles. We used to laugh at our other Non EU flagged friends when they were boarded (one was even underway) - until it started happening to us. In the South of France, we were checked on our VAT status 3 times in 2 weeks. Simply showing them our marina receipts from Croatia was usually enough to get them to leave. On occasion, they will also search the entire boat, but this was rare. I have watched Customs travel from non EU boat to non EU boat in a anchorage in Nice, checking for proof.

Schengen we don't take too seriously, but VAT, we always get out within the 18 months, with a paper trail.
Im not arguing , But I was in Nice for three summers on my boat recently , I only ever saw one Duane inspection and that was a Channel Island registered boat ( the french have a bee in their bonnet about those) . There was a few non EU yachts ( lots of super yachts) but I never saw them boarded and yet every day we were in a set of similar anchorages up and down the coast. Talking to a duane officer , they actually said they only tend to board based on intelligence!! ( whatever that meant)

Sometimes at sea you get a 'VAT inspection ', its almost always a cover for drugs search in my view.

3 times in 2 weeks!!!, Id say you where on a watch list , quite frankly.

Quote:
trying to get supporting documentation from various other EU countries stating their VAT policy. No one has been successful as of yet - no one wants to (or can't) give out their VAT rules on paper.
VAT policy is harmonised in the EU ( since the Single European Act). But asking an authority for "their VAT policy" is like asking them for all their law books. Its a huge body of applicable laws and conditions, each specific to you, the , boat residency, TIR, RGR, etc etc. SO its impossiblr for anyone to give you a definitive guide.


As to your Portuguese situation , your sure its VAT, it could be the Portuguese yacht tax issue.

Once you have complied with the TIR VAT procedures ( the 18 month stuff) you will be in the clear. Make sure the Portuguese arnt looking for something other then VAT.

DAve
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 11:42   #245
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cahlgren View Post
We are currently out of the country, but a marina representative went to customs with our proof of being out of the EU (letter from Jersey Port Authority, EU Commission regulations, stating the 18 month rule and confirmation from the UK Customs that Channel Islands, for VAT purpose, is out of the EU) and the officer in charge would not even read them because the docs aren't in Portuguese. The marina staff offered to interpret the docs for her and she said no. They are now accusing us of tax evasion - even though we have been out of the EU several times over the years. We are contacting any agency that will listen to help our fight. Next step is getting on a plane, hiring a lawyer and knocking on the US Embassy's door.

Quote:
nd the officer in charge would not even read them because the docs aren't in Portuguese.
Shocking johnny foreigners not reading english!!

You need to approach this properly , firstly you will have to communicate in Portuguese, hence you need to hire a local lawyer.

I suspect you will find the claims will dissipate as fast as they appeared, there have been some talk amongst my friends in Portugal that there is ( has) been a clampdown on ex-pats boats etc, Portugal like Spain suffers from a lot of ex-pats living under the tax radar and the climate is forcing a stricter attitude, the general attitude is to write to everyone claiming they owe everything ( it seems)

dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:08   #246
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Shocking johnny foreigners not reading english!!

dave
Yeah shocking, seeing how the information was from Jersey (an English speaking country) and documents from the EU Commission (oddly enough, on their website in English). We are not trying to overrun them with English because we are American, it just so happens that the evidence of us being out of the EU and the EU regulations regarding vessels was in English. We are working on getting them officially translated into Portuguese.
__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:14   #247
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Bit more pirates but nothing a gun or two won't fix

You need to get a local public notary (local in Portugal) to sign off a translation and stuff that through their throat with a local lawyer.
We were hoping that our evidence of being out of the EU would have been enough. It wasn't, so it is now lawyer time. We were hoping to avoid the cost, but the officer in the Customs office is being unreasonable. The Island of Jersey was quite shocked to find out that they are part of the EU

I am afraid our gun will come in the shape of a lawyer and the US Embassy. I don't think, even with 2 engines, we can out run customs. We are also working on getting a notarized translation from the Channel Islands as well as the EU Commission. It's been a long couple of days!
__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:36   #248
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cahlgren View Post
We are currently out of the country, but a marina representative went to customs with our proof of being out of the EU (letter from Jersey Port Authority, EU Commission regulations, stating the 18 month rule and confirmation from the UK Customs that Channel Islands, for VAT purpose, is out of the EU)
That sounds about the thing , I would also add in a covering letter summarising / setting out the position of the boat and yourself (as the 18 month relief only applies if you are not an EU resident, passport immaterial).......and detailing what the documents you are including are and what they evidence (one lot of foreign paperwork looks as gibberish as the next one!). Keep it simple to understand, no need to try and fill with own made up legalese!

Could start off with a simple Google Translate, but ideally run through a native Portuguese speaker - before hiring a lawyer (or asking the Embassy to send a drone strike ).


Quote:
and the officer in charge would not even read them because the docs aren't in Portuguese. The marina staff offered to interpret the docs for her and she said no.
FFS , yer in Portugal, what do you expect? ............Imagine turning up in own country with documents written in Swahili being waived at Officialdom, and a bloke you met in a bar offering to translate .


Quote:
They are now accusing us of tax evasion - even though we have been out of the EU several times over the years. We are contacting any agency that will listen to help our fight. Next step is getting on a plane, hiring a lawyer and knocking on the US Embassy's door.
You might not be tax evading (although for all I know you are! - think about it), but you certainly are tax avoiding which is nowadays called "wrong" - including by your own Govt. Tax avoidance is defined as making an effort to avoid paying tax that you are not legally obliged to pay - welcome to the brave new world order .

Personally, before hitting the mattresses, I would start simply communicating with the folks who sent you the bill - in the local lingo (especially in writing). Would also be worthwhile getting any letters sent by them translated into English just in case it is not only VAT they are talking about.

As you may have gathered from the news in recent years, Portugal is flat broke and is scratching for every Euro in tax revenue it can get. Personally I think hitting foreign folks on boats with a scatter gun approach is a good idea, even at the cost of some collateral damage (like you!) - as GBN says, plenty of foreigners have been sitting in Portugal not paying their taxes for many years, so giving the tree a good shake likely to yield results .
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:36   #249
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,226
Images: 2
pirate Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Where's the boat.. the Algarve.. or on the W Coast..?
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:44   #250
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,440
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

At the same time, the customs official wouldn't be worth her salt if she just took your word for it. It's annoying to have to get them the documents (and translate them), but that should get them off your back, I would think.

Here's a relevant article in the NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/bu...pagewanted=all

I think it's pretty tough for customs officials to find a good balance between letting foreign cruisers visit, and stopping boat owners from evading what amounts to egregious taxes that nobody wants to pay.
__________________
letsgetsailing3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:56   #251
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,226
Images: 2
pirate Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
I thought VAT rules were country-specific, not EU specific.
They are EU wide but each country has the freedom to implement their own %... Portugal is now 23%... the Azores were 15%... Madeira was 10%... UK was 17.5%, Spain was 16%... and so it goes.
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 13:57   #252
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Where's the boat.. the Algarve.. or on the W Coast..?
West Coast
__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 14:03   #253
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
At the same time, the customs official wouldn't be worth her salt if she just took your word for it. It's annoying to have to get them the documents (and translate them), but that should get them off your back, I would think.

Here's a relevant article in the NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/bu...pagewanted=all

I think it's pretty tough for customs officials to find a good balance between letting foreign cruisers visit, and stopping boat owners from evading what amounts to egregious taxes that nobody wants to pay.
We are not asking her to 'take our word' for it. We provided an official letter from the Port of Jersey documenting our stay, as well as a copy of our travel log, receipts from the Channel Islands, copies and excerpts from EU laws. We are working on the Portuguese translated documents, but all of our evidence was presented to customs by the marina staff, in Portuguese and they still would not accept our evidence of being out of the EU. And yes, we are doing everything in our power to avoid paying tax to a country we do not reside in. We have broken no laws.
__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 14:22   #254
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,226
Images: 2
pirate Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cahlgren View Post
West Coast
I'm up by Fig da Foz... guessing your in Cascais... or Porto... can't think of anywhere else with ladies in the office..
if you want to drop me a PM with some info maybe I can help..
no promises...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 14:39   #255
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
At the same time, the customs official wouldn't be worth her salt if she just took your word for it. It's annoying to have to get them the documents (and translate them), but that should get them off your back, I would think.

Here's a relevant article in the NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/bu...pagewanted=all

I think it's pretty tough for customs officials to find a good balance between letting foreign cruisers visit, and stopping boat owners from evading what amounts to egregious taxes that nobody wants to pay.
Thanks for the article. It does lean more towards EU citizens evading their own countries tax. We are US citizens on a US flagged boat, traveling through the Med and Atlantic coast (EU and Non EU countries). I understand the concept of checking VAT status - it has happened a lot in the past, but when proof is provided, that should be the end - or so I would hope.
__________________

__________________
cahlgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sailing

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:47.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.