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Old 14-08-2008, 03:10   #1
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How Long Must a Boat Stay Out of the EU Before Returning to Avoid VAT ?

We're getting near the 18 month limit in EU waters with our boat, and would like to know if there is a time period required for the boat to be out of EU waters before it can be brought back in without paying the VAT tax. We've heard everything from simply out and back in, to a month, and the rest of the year. Anyone know the regulation for sure? Also, we're considering Tunisia as a point of exit and return - our boat is now in Italy and we want to move it into the Aegean next spring so we're looking for a good place to leave it over the winter. Anyone familiar with Tunisia for this purpose? ........Pohono
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Old 14-08-2008, 04:11   #2
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I've heard that you just need to leave and be able to prove it, i.e. going to Gibraltar and getting a receipt for filling up the tank can be sufficient.

the applicable EU legislation can be read here.
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Old 14-08-2008, 07:55   #3
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We still don't find anything in those three pages that say how long one needs to have the boat OUT of the EU. However, it also appears that if you take the boat out before 18 months, you can bring it back for no longer than a total of 24 months. So basically, regardless of how often you take the boat out of the EU, you cannot stay longer than a total of 24 months. We've never heard that before. We thought the clock started over with 18 months each time it is back in the EU. We may be reading it wrong - it reads like it was translated from Greek. I hope we're reading it wrong.
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Old 14-08-2008, 09:24   #4
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Since the section about leaving didn't mention a time frame there is no time frame, that was what I got from that. Since the Med is full of non-EU registered boats that are older than 2 years I'm fairly certain that the clock gets reset.
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Old 14-08-2008, 13:35   #5
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How long......

Many thanks for your help and the document. We're hoping you're right!
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Old 30-08-2008, 00:19   #6
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It appears to me that the EU has a tough time makingits members do what it says to do. In fact it appears to me that many European countries have an even tougher time than we americans do trying to make our locals do what Washington wants. Just as the Chinese central government cannot get locals to do what it wants very often. Remember the tank driver who did everything but turn and run from a solitary student? But the scary part is that leaves us at the mercy of locals. I gather Greece is taxing a lot of us. And France seems pretty agressive. Spain is doing something a little different. And of course, all information seems to be at least 2nd had if not 3rd or 4 th or evenmore remote. If You are sailing around a lot, you might wnat to find a favarable spot with low apprasals and pay the tax. Particularly if you plan to sell the boat in Europe. I can't evern find out how to find out what the tax on my old boat would be. I have found the Imray pilots have worked hard to try to find out what the deal is but even they read a bit like - its any bodys guess. If someone has a lead of who to ask here in Italy, I would like to hear from them. Oh well - sweet mystery of life.
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:40   #7
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The rule is only that you have to leave the EU every 18 months. This can be for one day, but you need proof (customs stamp, marina or fuel receipt, something that proves the boat was there and not just you). We have been questioned by customs in France, Portugal and Spain. Only France asked about the 18 months and we had been to Morocco and that was fine.
I had heard that some countries did not reconize Gibraltar as "out of the EU" for VAT reasons, but I talked with someone at YachtHelp in Gib - they handle the paperwork for getting mega yachts "stamped" in Gib to avoid VAT. He said if it was not reconized everywhere they would not be as busy as they are. Just look at the mega yeachts....always flagged outside the EU.

With Morocco, Tunisia, Croatia and Turkey all great places to visit it should be easy to say within the 18 months. That is our plan.
Jim
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Old 11-09-2008, 00:24   #8
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OUT of the EU

Jim - thank you. Sounds like you have the experience to validate that in-and-out in a day will suffice. Will let you know if we run into any exceptions to the rule.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:53   #9
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Note that the above applies only to BOATS...not individuals. Much of Europe's PEOPLE regulations are governed by the Schengen Treaty (15 countries) which permit non-Euro citizens to remain in ANY/ALL of the signatory countries a total of 90 days in every 6 months.
See complete detail at Jack Tyler's great Euro Prep site here:
The Schengen Treaty
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Old 01-02-2010, 15:45   #10
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It remains a mystery. France and Greece appear to look pretty eagerly to find ways to tax non citisens (even other EU citisens) others are pretty loose. I have been told by a reliable source that customs looks at the marinas books and if it shows you entered the marinna on Dec 31 , 2009 that 's that. It appears you can hang arond a lot longer than it says you should if you keep your head down.
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Old 01-02-2010, 16:10   #11
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You have to be out 6 months and in 18 months !
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Old 01-02-2010, 16:19   #12
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At the risk of adding confusion - important not to get confused between boat and individual.

Boat might be good for de facto VAT free import (Temporary Importation Relief) within EU waters for up to 18 months, but quite possible for an individual to become a resident within an individual EU Member State a lot sooner - the effect of becoming a Resident will vary between EU Member States for national, local and wealth taxes........but can also trigger VAT being due on the boat - simply because as a (brand new ) EU resident (passport don't matter) you have just imported your boat.........and ordinarily all EU residents with boats based in EU waters have to pay the VAT.

The "trick" is that when visiting a country - not too stay long enuf to become a Resident - after 6 months seems to be time frame, albeit enforcement / luck / caring no doubt varies between EU Member States......and it don't have to be either an elective, an agreed, nor even a conscious decision - just stay "too long" (the principal kinda being that a Guest is always welcome to stay for Xmas, but stay until the Summer and you get charged rent ).

And the kicker is that just because you become a resident for tax / boat VAT purposes you do not automatically gain any immigration rights to remain.......

Pretty sure the above is correct - but do your own Googles / don't blame me etc etc
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Old 01-02-2010, 16:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Note that the above applies only to BOATS...not individuals. Much of Europe's PEOPLE regulations are governed by the Schengen Treaty (15 countries) which permit non-Euro citizens to remain in ANY/ALL of the signatory countries a total of 90 days in every 6 months.
See complete detail at Jack Tyler's great Euro Prep site here:
The Schengen Treaty
Also note that there are time limits on EU citizens in some countries
eg; Portugal, as I found out as a result of breaking my norm and spending a winter aboard in a marina....
Keep on the move every couple of months and anchor whenever possible.... marina a last resort.
Tunisia is great but check by phone/e-mail first as its become very popular coz of lower prices than Europe... you may get there and find them full...
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Old 02-02-2010, 15:06   #14
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The EC Regs state....

See the following (sorry for the long URL): http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs...cle_994_en.htm

This is a FAQ sheet from the EC concerning the "Temporary Importation" of goods into the EU, by non-EU nationals. Basically the answer to the original poster's question is:

"Can you have another period of Temporary Importation? How long must you wait?
Yes, you are not limited to a single period of temporary import. You can sail the yacht out of the EU and when you came back again for another holiday a new period of temporary importation can begin. The customs rules do not provide for a 'minimum period' during which the goods must remain outside
of the customs territory of the EU.
" (emphasis added).

While this is from the EC regs, the author of the FAQ caveats that the answers cannot be cited as fact! Mud can't get any clearer than this.
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Old 03-02-2010, 13:09   #15
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There is no time required to be out of the EU, A day should be enough, but again the directive allows local Customs to control TI procedures and they can vary what they accept. Since spain has a "thing" about GIB, some spainish customs will not accept being in GIB.

Its also worth noting that while GIB is outside teh VAT area its not outside the "Customs Union of the EU". So there is some argument. By the Ceuta across the strait is a free port and is outside the EU

Quote:
Also note that there are time limits on EU citizens in some countries
eg; Portugal, as I found out as a result of breaking my norm and spending a winter aboard in a marina....
No there is not. EU citizens are free to live and work in any EU country without hindrence. However they must pay local taxes like the locals. You cant be a sponger.
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