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Old 17-03-2016, 13:26   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
Boat: Molenmaker, Custom ketch, 97'
Posts: 37
Donated boat and French VAT

The disaster relief organization I work for has been donated a BVI-registered 50' catamaran stored on the hard in the South of France that has overstayed its VAT-free period by over a year, so VAT is normally due. We are a US-based 501(c)(3) charity, but I imagine that's unlikely to be recognized by French Customs. We are investigating the tax position, but even the local broker doesn't know the answer to the below question and he got conflicting answers from the local VAT officials!

So just seeing if anyone here has some knowledge that could help a good cause...

QUESTION: As the boat was donated to a registered charity with a bill of sale showing $0 and valid US filing papers, if we apply to French Customs is there an approach that would convince them to waive the VAT so that we may re-launch and sail the vessel out of Europe?


Captain Ray
International Rescue Group
International Rescue Group - Coastal disaster relief
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Old 17-03-2016, 17:23   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southport CT
Boat: J/36
Posts: 305
Re: Donated boat and French VAT

Sounds like you need to contact the nearest French consulate and see what they can tell you. They may simply refer you to the Affaires Maritimes, (French Bureau of Naval Affairs) because it is a cut-and-dry situation and there's nothing they can do. Or it may be a fuzzy situation for some reason and if you come across a sailor at the consulate (there are some French sailors), they could help pull some strings to arrange things. Worth a call. Be patient and polite. (Trump isn't president yet.)
General Consulates of France in the U.S. - France in the United States / Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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