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Old 08-11-2018, 10:01   #1
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Purchasing a boat abroad

I'm in Southern California and once I finish my research, I plan to purchase a blue water boat; as I view various listings I'm realizing that it's highly unlikely my future boat will be sitting in a local harbor.

Since many of the brands that interest me are from Europe, I thought I'd ask if any of you have purchased a boat in another country? Since it will be 'exported' to the US, can VAT be avoided?
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:16   #2
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Yes.. its quite common for Aussies and Americans and a straight forward process for new boats.
Secondhand boats are not VAT liable unless just coming out of charter.
You can also claim back VAT on any equipment bought for the vessel at the last EU port before heading home.
Forms obtained and filled in at the Las Palmas customs office and handed in with all relevant reciepts.
Refund is paid direct to your account within 3mths.
Restaurant bills not accepted..
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:24   #3
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

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Yes.. its quite common for Aussies and Americans and a straight forward process for new boats.
Secondhand boats are not VAT liable unless just coming out of charter.
You can also claim back VAT on any equipment bought for the vessel at the last EU port before heading home.
Forms obtained and filled in at the Las Palmas customs office and handed in with all relevant reciepts.
Refund is paid direct to your account within 3mths.
Restaurant bills not accepted..
Hmm - we were told that wasn't possible when we tried to do it in Malta last year when we purchased a new dinghy! Do you know how far back you can go, and does the country the purchase was made in matter?

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Old 08-11-2018, 10:39   #4
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pirate Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

Were you leaving EU waters permanantly.. if not.. which is likely being in Malta I am not surprised else 100's would be playing that game.
I believe its max 3mths after purchase if leaving the EU and a non EU citizen.
Mine have all been W bound owners from the Canaries
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Old 08-11-2018, 15:55   #5
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

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Were you leaving EU waters permanantly.. if not.. which is likely being in Malta I am not surprised else 100's would be playing that game.
I believe its max 3mths after purchase if leaving the EU and a non EU citizen.
Mine have all been W bound owners from the Canaries
Define permanently!!? All you have to do is leave the EU with the items. It does not matter where you leave from or too, or if you come back two days later. As long as the items have been exported. So you need to check into a non-EU country.

What I was told by the VAT department in Malta when I wanted to get the VAT I paid on a dinghy back, is that refunds when leaving are only for items that are carried on your person in luggage, not large items. With large items like dinghys, outboards etc. The retailer selling you the goods can sell them to you without charging VAT so long as he gets a Customs stamped export document, which anyone can do. You just need to go to customs when you are checking out and fill out the forms. They then inspect that the item is on board and then stamp and sign the rxport documents and then you must leave EU waters directly after checking out. The logistics of that can be a bit tricky, and not many retailers understand it, but it is absolutely doable.

Also, in Malta and Italy (although very few retailers in Italy know this and therefore will not do it), a retailer can sell any parts or spares that are afixed/attached to a foriegn flagged boat (and any labour needed to afix them) VAT-free.

We replaced all our electronics, our generator, solar panels and soon to be installed house Li battery bank, complete with new inveryer/charger etc - all VAT-free.
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Old 08-11-2018, 16:17   #6
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Okay there you go then.. Sorted.
I just have experience of what I helped owners do before they headed West.. and that included Smart tv's and other white goods that were bought for their boats.
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Old 08-11-2018, 16:24   #7
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

Hi Henry,
I am also in OC. Indeed best boat are in Europe (actually, to be more precise, in France - but i am a bit biased).

Do you plan to get the boat used or new?
Do you plan to get it back to NPB? When (if new, then best to take your time) ?

cheers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Blue Water View Post
I'm in Southern California and once I finish my research, I plan to purchase a blue water boat; as I view various listings I'm realizing that it's highly unlikely my future boat will be sitting in a local harbor.

Since many of the brands that interest me are from Europe, I thought I'd ask if any of you have purchased a boat in another country? Since it will be 'exported' to the US, can VAT be avoided?
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:01   #8
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

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Old 09-11-2018, 12:47   #9
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

Remember South African built boats are exempt from US import duty regardless of where you buy them. I bought one in French Polynesia (French flag, no problem reflagging to US) and one in the BVI which was US flagged but had never been in the US (again, no transferring the documentation to a US LLC owner.)
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Old 09-11-2018, 13:06   #10
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

My experience buying an Italian registered yacht was it can cost far more to deregister from certain countries' registries than others - several thousand dollars I think in my case, though the PO paid - took him about six months to complete the paperwork through several "brokers". Of course you cannot register in your own country and sail away until the de-registration is completed.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:55   #11
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

I bought my boat in Croatia, sailed the med for 2 yrs, registered to the us.
Its been done thousands of times and noone pays vat. You just follow the advice of those who have walked this path so many times before and it's that easy. Your only issue is your personal 90 day visa, although I've met non eu people who just never leave, but if you want to be legal, it's 90 days on 90 off.
Boats are cheap in the Med and skilled workers quite reasonable compared to the US or Caribbean.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:06   #12
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

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I bought my boat in Croatia, sailed the med for 2 yrs, registered to the us.
Its been done thousands of times and noone pays vat. You just follow the advice of those who have walked this path so many times before and it's that easy. Your only issue is your personal 90 day visa, although I've met non eu people who just never leave, but if you want to be legal, it's 90 days on 90 off.
Boats are cheap in the Med and skilled workers quite reasonable compared to the US or Caribbean.
Completely agree. It's not difficult at all, but it can be a bit tedious if you don't know the routines for each country! Especially if you want to make sure the VAT paid status is preserved. There are agents in the US that do nothing but transfer registrations all around the world. We used one when we bought. She did the legal bills of sale, oversaw the deletion from France, did a (temporary) Delaware registration to get us sailing while the Canadian one came through and did the Canadian registration. I think the total cost was something like $400. The whole process took a couple of months.

But, I'd be very careful of the 90-day limits! Times are definitely changing. We've heard all kinds of stories about them being relaxed, but lately we're hearing more and more people.getting fined - including us! Our son was fined 600 in Greece for being 13 days over!
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:22   #13
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

Having done it, it's quite a bit of trouble - even if you don't have to go over there and bring it over yourself.

The boat has to be imported and duty paid. US Customs generally won't work with an individual person to get this done, they refer you to a Custom's agent...basically a middle man who you pay to submit the paperwork, and who in turn has paid the Custom's service for that privilege.

The boat has to be de-registered from it's former country.

Then you have to pay sales tax and register it in the state in which you are domiciled. Or document it with the Coast Guard.

Keep in mind that it may have been built with a 220/16 amp power source in mind so you may have to do some electrical work before you can plug it in here.

It may or may not have a holding tank as overboard discharge is apparently allowed or at least grandfathered in in the EU.

Just find one locally.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:35   #14
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

I have to disagree Cloroxbottle.
Having also done it 4 yrs ago, I paid no tax to any country, registering in the US was simple, and is so commonly done in EU that the process was well understood by everyone involved. I didn't pay vat and kept it in the Med for 2 years legally. Just keep your documents to prove where you've been.
220 power is more common worldwide than 110, and only plug into a dock to use power tools.
Not to mention boats are 2/3rds the cost in EU.
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Old 13-11-2018, 13:52   #15
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Re: Purchasing a boat abroad

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Originally Posted by c-reel View Post
Hi Henry,
I am also in OC. Indeed best boat are in Europe (actually, to be more precise, in France - but i am a bit biased).

Do you plan to get the boat used or new?
Do you plan to get it back to NPB? When (if new, then best to take your time) ?

cheers
Sorry for the late reply, I never saw it. I can only afford used and if the boat was abroad then I'd entice friends or resort to a press gang so I have enough crew to sail back to Newport Beach.
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