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Old 06-02-2015, 11:39   #1
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Question Do you think we have been cheated?

Hi All,

We are wondering if anyone has similar experiences with the VAT declarations and Dutch brokers - and if yes, how did you solve the problems ?

The a succinct version of the whole story is this:

1) We bought a sailing yacht from the Netherlands, a well-known broker as a representative of seller. The seller is the second owner (private person). The first owner has used the yacht in the charter business. The VAT status in the Sales Agreement is PAID. An original invoice with the VAT details is signed by a private person (We suppose the first owner, resident in Germany). This document was provided us as a Proof of VAT Status.

2) After paying the final payment we received the Conformity Document of vessel, we noticed that HIN number was incorrect in the Sales Agreement => the second Sales Agreement was signed and we had to re-register the yacht plus inform our insurance company.

3) After receiving the rest of the documentation, we noticed that also the engine number was incorrect => the third Sales Agreement was signed and once again we had to re-register the yacht and inform our insurance company.

4) After this set of three Sales Agreements, the insurance company asked whether the reason for these inaccuracies in two vital pieces of information was a need to hide the identity of this vessel. In addition, the registration authorities asked whether VAT really has been paid!!!!

5) Now it has become clear that the INVOICE written by the first owner for the use of second owner is not a valid document to prove the VAT Status. We asked the broker and the seller provide a valid VAT declaration, so far without results.

We are wondering if anyone has similar experiences with the brokers in the Netherlands. In addition, all advice what to do is highly appreciated. We are not familiar with this kinds of issues. For that reason we decided to buy this yacht because we trusted the broker ...

Helen
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:15   #2
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Helen.

Certainly an incompetent broker, and perhaps worse.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:20   #3
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Unfortunately for boats exchanged as 2nd hand the only vat documentation that will exist is an original sales invoice from the commercial organisation that bought the boat.

Also there would be a sales invoice if there was any subsequent sale in the boats history that involved a commercial vat registered organisation.

Sales between non vat registered entities can produce NO. Evidence of a vat transaction by definition.

Unfortunately vat is not accounted for to national tax authorities on a sale by sale basis since that would an impossible amount of bureaucracy.

Dave
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:55   #4
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Direct answer to your question- Yes,I think with complicity of broker !
Find Dutch attorney-sue broker.
Broker has relation with charter company that sold boat initially(steady supply of boats to sell with commisions)
Broker will not want scandle made public !
It all started with charter co. I suspect.


All the Best
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Old 06-02-2015, 13:20   #5
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

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Originally Posted by Arthur Garfield View Post
Direct answer to your question- Yes,I think with complicity of broker !
Find Dutch attorney-sue broker.
Broker has relation with charter company that sold boat initially(steady supply of boats to sell with commisions)
Broker will not want scandle made public !
It all started with charter co. I suspect.


All the Best
I would agree. But before a lawyer or consultation with one if you want to keep a distance, I would think a warning of referring the matter to the local Police or Interpol. Interpol because this looks like a cross border fraud and racketeering case. Be careful not to use this is a threat as threatening to inform police as a means to gain leverage is in some places a crime in of itself. On second thoughts it would be safer to engage a lawyer who will know how to apply such a suggestion in the safest way.

If this is involving a broker that is doing this in league with another person/s such as a charter company you definitely have a criminal conspiracy here. If you play your cards correctly these naughty boys will have to make good the VAT situation quickly or look at doing time. What makes me so upset about this is it is one thing to minimise taxes it is another to cheat a fellow boater and lie about a tax being paid. By the way on VAT I understand that VAT if paid by the first owner and that needs to be determined, may have been voided and required to be paid again by the second owner because of the first sale. You need a local lawyer or accountant that truly understands VAT law. And a lawyer who will write the first and hopefully only letter needed in this situation.

Regards,
Chaya
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Old 06-02-2015, 13:52   #6
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

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Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
I would agree. But before a lawyer or consultation with one if you want to keep a distance, I would think a warning of referring the matter to the local Police or Interpol. Interpol because this looks like a cross border fraud and racketeering case. Be careful not to use this is a threat as threatening to inform police as a means to gain leverage is in some places a crime in of itself. On second thoughts it would be safer to engage a lawyer who will know how to apply such a suggestion in the safest way.

If this is involving a broker that is doing this in league with another person/s such as a charter company you definitely have a criminal conspiracy here. If you play your cards correctly these naughty boys will have to make good the VAT situation quickly or look at doing time. What makes me so upset about this is it is one thing to minimise taxes it is another to cheat a fellow boater and lie about a tax being paid. By the way on VAT I understand that VAT if paid by the first owner and that needs to be determined, may have been voided and required to be paid again by the second owner because of the first sale. You need a local lawyer or accountant that truly understands VAT law. And a lawyer who will write the first and hopefully only letter needed in this situation.

Regards,
Chaya
Chaya,Like I said- always best to go with legal counsel.
Defendants will be paying plaintiffs counsels' fees when the cause is juste or wish to settle quietly.

The whole charter/broker world full of tax dodge schemes and underhandedness.Caveat Emptor = "let the buyer beware." .

OP,sooner you pursue broker/seller with counsel and get on offensive the better !


All the Best
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Old 06-02-2015, 14:08   #7
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Before you go running to lawyers ,

If the boat was in a charter company , then there will be a sales invoice showing vat between the charter company and the first private owner.

That is all the vat information you need. It is not up to you to " prove " vat was paid, that would be impossible. What a sales invoice shows is that the original commercial vendor has taken responsibility for the vat. The law then makes him responsible for that vat. This is similar to a situation where a firm goes insolvent and owes significant amounts of vat , it does NOT mean that the goods sold to the end users now have a vat issue.

Again even if a vat fraud was undertaken between the first and second owners , you are not responsible once you have a document showing someone appropriate claimed they paid the vat.

More worrying is the issue over multiple serial numbers etc. there may be an innocent explanation

In the first instance I would seek written clarification from the seller.

I would also seek a vat indemnity, at least if any subsequent issues arise you have signed statement of liability.

Going down the legal route is fine and may be required but it could be lengthy and costly and not clear cut. The seller will merely claim the mistakes were innocent errors and you have a vat sales invoice ( do you not )

Dave
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Old 06-02-2015, 14:25   #8
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Gojngboatingnow, First big problem is the boat was advertised and sold and paid for under the promise that VAT was paid. It is reasonable to ask that such claim be substantiated. Broker/Sellers responsibility. Show me the papers is a valid demand under the circumstances. Absence of paper proof is enough grounds to assume it wasn't VAT paid. Therein lies the fraud and misrepresentation. Now dealing with the serial numbers not matching the documentation if this were a car you would be asking the Police to immediately run a check in case you were buying a stolen car. Why wouldn't this be any different? In the light of the VAT proof not appearing and the paper work having twice the wrong serial identification numbers their is more than a smell of larceny here my Dear Watson.
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Old 06-02-2015, 14:58   #9
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Indeed I don't dispute that. If you are comfortable on those assertions then you will have to proceed to the delicate hands of the lawyers.

I would not expect a quick resolution and I wish you luck.
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Old 06-02-2015, 15:38   #10
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

A heads up for all of us: Check that the serial numbers match the paperwork on any transaction.
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Old 06-02-2015, 16:08   #11
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

I too bought a boat in holland but without a broker. The dutch douane (customs) can provide a certificate that VAT was paid on the boat and engine. Boat was build in 1986, engine in 2005 and I bought the boat in 2012. It took the previous owners a lot of effort to get this document but I was persistent and didn't want to buy the boat without this certificate. I think the cost was 20euro. Since you bought using a broker I would guess the broker should provide this document.
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Old 06-02-2015, 16:38   #12
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

Yup- doesn't pass the smell test!
Things just don't add up.
"Trust but verify" R.Reagan.Lol
And I detest that bugger!

Not all attorneys are billing fiends.
Thinking crooks bank on people giving up,not spending on counsel,
forgetfulness.....
The idea of and indemnification by broker of VAT paid should be standard !!
At the least it'll tell a buyer broker on the level!


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Old 07-02-2015, 11:14   #13
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

I had an similar issue when I bought a Moody 31 in the UK
I had stipulated that the boat had proof of VAT and the owner made a statement to the effect that there was.
It turned out he was wrong and the potential is that I could be charged VAT on the yacht again.
I made a claim against the broker who was acting for the seller and had the VAT costs refunded.
I would imagine that there would be a similar legal framework over there and I would ask the broker to refund the VAT portion of the cost of the vessel to the value of the boat at the time of the first purchase.
The original purchase price is used as the calculation for VAT purposes.
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:58   #14
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Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

I assume that the yacht was built after VAT was introduced? Seems obvious but worth checking.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:16   #15
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Unhappy Re: Do you think we have been cheated?

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Originally Posted by SailingHelen View Post
Hi All,

We are wondering if anyone has similar experiences with the VAT declarations and Dutch brokers - and if yes, how did you solve the problems ?
<snip>
Helen
I would not seek legal advise from a forum unless it was to get recommended reviews of lawyers. One good motto is to never ask a barber if you need a haircut. The other is legal matters are best addressed by lawyers. Get a great one. Not just a good one.

Sorry to hear of your woes,

Sundae
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