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Old 10-05-2012, 01:11   #1
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EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

Are you an EU-citizen and sailed in EU water? Have you needed to show proof of paid VAT?

If you needed to show it:
How old was your boat?
Where did you need to show it?

Andreas
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:14   #2
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

17 years + never asked for it. don't know any other first hand that were

always asked for reg and insurance thats it

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Old 10-05-2012, 10:26   #3
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

we were boarded by the british customs during the first week of of our arrival in the uk,as was another friend who had arrived from the biscay as well.

our vat recipt was asked for and produced,the customs commented that only the week before they had impounded a vessel from the med that had tried to avoid vat,by arriving in the uk and not notifying customs of their vessels vat unpaid status.
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Old 10-05-2012, 16:37   #4
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

I heard a story like the one of atoll's, from a German sailor. That was ages ago (2003 or thereabout) and I bet German sailors have already sorted it out. (The boat was a German boat returning home after a rtw).

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Old 10-05-2012, 16:47   #5
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

It is the first document the French customs will ask for and seems to be the in thing at the moment.
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Old 10-05-2012, 18:40   #6
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Absolute rubbish. eU boats have no contact with customs. It's only if there is an inspection and they are rare. Since Eu boats don't have to clear customs in the conventional sense it doesn't happen. customs has no role in Inspecting EU boaters on arrival into a port that only applies to foreign boats It's a customs union remember

Everyone thinks they heard someone tell someone about someone who got asked. Yet the RYA ran a members survey and it transpired thoses actually experiencing it was tiny

This leaves aside those people dodging vat. The question the OP posed was ordinary compliant EU boaters being asked to show proof of VAt.

Furthermore anyway if you are in the EU registered boat of a particular country VAT is only an issue for that country. For example France can not enforce UK VAT rules nor collect UK VAT .

Most VAT inspections happen where non VAT yachts from counties just outside the EU ( channel islands a d Croatia come to mind ) Are found to be owned by EU nationals. This tends to trigger a VAT inspection.

In the vast vast majority of European boaters merely having your boat on your national register shows the boat has been correctly imported or purchased in the EU as most registers will seek proof of VAT status before issuing registration.

Not to mention there is no official proof of VAT anyway. There's nothing that is verifiable by a foreign customs agent on the spot. It's a bogey man story that has never been backed by fact

The only case I knew was where there was a funny in the registration and in doing so the authorities went through the whole gamut of the paperwork. But here there was something funny in the ownership that triggered it.

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Old 11-05-2012, 00:19   #7
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

Having spent the last nine months in France we personally saw checks on seven boats. We were in La Rochelle over winter and customs came down to the smaller marina where we were on at least three occasions when we saw them. On two of these occasions they boarded our friends boats. We spoke to them immediately afterwards and both said the only document they were concerned with was proof of VAT being paid! Both these were British registered boats flying the British ensign.
We saw the boat in front of us in the marina in Camaret was boarded and he said because he flew the Channel island flag he was always getting checked for proof of the boats status.
This is not heard from a friend of friend but something we personally saw.
If you don't want to believe it then that is up to you!
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Old 11-05-2012, 00:34   #8
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

I see
I'm about to buy a 35ft catamaran from 1987. Now located in Tunisia but am thinking of sailing over to Croatia but it would be nice stopping in greece and italy too. But I don't want to risk anything. Won't be laying in marinas, mostly on anchor. The plan is to head over the Atlantic in november.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:04   #9
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andreas.mehlin View Post
I see
I'm about to buy a 35ft catamaran from 1987. Now located in Tunisia but am thinking of sailing over to Croatia but it would be nice stopping in greece and italy too. But I don't want to risk anything. Won't be laying in marinas, mostly on anchor. The plan is to head over the Atlantic in november.
Andreas,
Sorry I cannot help you as I don't know much about foreign registered boats in the EU. I was just replying with what I had personally come across.
It may well be worth searching on the YBW forums ( Yachting and Boating World Forums) as they have some recent threads on this and as it is more European based have people with far more knowledge than me. If you ask your question there you are likely to get an answer.
Hope his helps a little.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:15   #10
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

as dave says it is the concern of the country you are resident in,so you will get some leeway from local customs,untill you check into a marina for an extended period.

having paid vat to cypriot customs we recived two pieces of evidence of paying vat,one was the recipt for the funds recieved by the customs with the vessels name,and name of owner on it etc
,the other was a headed letter stating that the vessel was no longer eligable to pay vat in the eu
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:17   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrodamus
Having spent the last nine months in France we personally saw checks on seven boats. We were in La Rochelle over winter and customs came down to the smaller marina where we were on at least three occasions when we saw them. On two of these occasions they boarded our friends boats. We spoke to them immediately afterwards and both said the only document they were concerned with was proof of VAT being paid! Both these were British registered boats flying the British ensign.
We saw the boat in front of us in the marina in Camaret was boarded and he said because he flew the Channel island flag he was always getting checked for proof of the boats status.
This is not heard from a friend of friend but something we personally saw.
If you don't want to believe it then that is up to you!
As I said the French check Chanel island boats regularly These are NOT EU boats the same is true for Croatian boats as both of these registries are often used in an attempt to dodge VAT. If you sail under other EU flags you will never get checked. the OP referred to EU vessels.

Of course if the customs become aware of a long term stay boat they may check it primarily to see of the owner has "inadvertently" become a tax resident and hence falls under French fiscal law. This is again outside the norm ( and I have several friends in such circumstances and none have ever been inspected )

In my experience there is always something that specifically triggers such inspections. ( ie they are not random)

When I was in nice over the last summer i I saw just one water based Douane inspection during the summer in an anchorage of 50 boats they just boarded a motor boat registered in the channel islands.

As I said the RYA did a survey

Secondly while the customs would rightly have jurisdiction over a Chanel island vessel owned by a EU national as it would be deemed to be imported into France they would have no jurisdiction over VAt issues say from a German or Dutch or elsewhere boat.

And remember anyway the French only hassle the Brits !!
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:24   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll
as dave says it is the concern of the country you are resident in,so you will get some leeway from local customs,untill you check into a marina for an extended period.

having paid vat to cypriot customs we recived two pieces of evidence of paying vat,one was the recipt for the funds recieved by the customs with the vessels name,and name of owner on it etc
,the other was a headed letter stating that the vessel was no longer eligable to pay vat in the eu
This is only the case when you personally import a vessel and you pay VAT directly to customs. This is a very rare occurrence. 99.9 percent of EU people buy a new boat through a commercial organisation. All you have is a sales invoice. ( a nice piece of ordinary paper) its not proof of VAT paid , it's merely a record ( supposed ) of the same.

I'm suprised you have such a letter saying the vessel is no longer eligible to pay VAT since there are many situations where VAT could be legitimately due again on the vessel. ( the receipt for the money is normal) someone erred in customs there so hold on to that.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:28   #13
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
As I said the French check Chanel island boats regularly These are NOT EU boats the same is true for Croatian boats as both of these registries are often used in an attempt to dodge VAT. If you sail under other EU flags you will never get checked.

When I was in nice over the last summer regulary I saw one water based Douane inspection during the summer in an anchorage of 50 boats they just boarded a motor boat registered in the channel islands.

As I said the RYA did a survey

Secondly while the customs would rightly have jurisdiction over a Chanel island vessel owned by a EU national as it would be deemed to be imported into France they would have no jurisdiction over VAt issues say from a German or Dutch or elsewhere boat.

And remember anyway the French only hassle the Brits !!
I can only say what I personally witnessed. Both the boats in the Marina with us were Brit boats flying the Brit flags. The customs were apparently very friendly and very efficient ( all five of them).
I have to say we never got checked but I took the ensign in for the winter.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:33   #14
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Originally Posted by Nostrodamus

I can only say what I personally witnessed. Both the boats in the Marina with us were Brit boats flying the Brit flags. The customs were apparently very friendly and very efficient ( all five of them).
I have to say we never got checked but I took the ensign in for the winter.
I did say they only hassle the Brits and I suspect youll find it was triggered specifically I doubt hiding your ensign would fool the Douane if you were in their radar !

As I said for the normal summer cruiser not wintering or long staying there is no inspection process other then where a suspicion is raised. Remember in most marinas you just check in with the marina staff. There's no officials involved anymore.


I read from time to time especially in ybw, all sorts of third party stories yet if you ask for " first hand" stories. Ie did it happen to you. You find virtually no one responds to say yes.

This was entirely consistent with the RYA survey which again found it was a very rare occurrence

Ask yourself this why did customs in la rochelle just target two British boats. It was hardly random.


On the Atlantic coast the French have a bit of a thing going in relation to British ensigned boats as they suspect every Brit is hiding out in the Chanel islands dodging vat. Is a bit of an obsession, which seems to die down as you get to the med. the French have always had a thing about the channel islands ( well they do call them ille normandes !! ) .

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:57   #15
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Re: EU - Did you need to show VAT proof?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
This is only the case when you personally import a vessel and you pay VAT directly to customs. This is a very rare occurrence. 99.9 percent of EU people buy a new boat through a commercial organisation. All you have is a sales invoice. ( a nice piece of ordinary paper) its not proof of VAT paid , it's merely a record ( supposed ) of the same.

I'm suprised you have such a letter saying the vessel is no longer eligible to pay VAT since there are many situations where VAT could be legitimately due again on the vessel. ( the receipt for the money is normal) someone erred in customs there so hold on to that.
since we intended remaining in the eu with the boat,and cyprus had recently joined the eu,at that time the vat rate there was 16%,where as in the uk it would have been levied at 22% on the current uk valuation.

the purchase and extensive work on the vessel 4 years previously was done there,allowing us to get a very low valuation.

so in some cases it can be beneficial to elect to pay in the eu country that the boat is in,no doubt croatia when it joins the eu will also be able to offer a reduced vat rate during the transition period.
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