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Old 10-02-2010, 04:05   #1
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Importing a Boat from USA to EU

Hello to everybody.
I've found the boat of my dreams a 32' cruiser and I am ready to transport it from Florida USA to the EU.
I am Greek and for the last 4 years living in Greece, before that and for the last 25 years I lived in England. My wife is British but now a Greek citizen register with Greek authorities and tax. My son lives in Switzerland and register with Swiss authorities and tax.
Does anybody know how to go about this and I am re fairing to import duties and VAT.
If the boat comes straight to Greece I will have to pay 22% on the(price of the boat + transport fees + insurance fees) which mounds to about 13000 euros, and all that in cash. The problem is that they value the boat a lot more to what its really worth. I am paying $33000 but they value it at $60000.
I don't want to avoid paying VAT its just that we are struggling write now for all that cash.
Please anyone give us some advice. We as a family don't care which name the boat is going to be register to, or where in Europe to be initially transported to. We just need more time.
Many-Many Thanks
George
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:34   #2
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George,

unless the boat already has a CE certificate, I think you'll also have to pay the costs for this certification (~€1100 for a 30 footer) plus the import duties and VAT. It might be better to use a flag of convenience (BVI, Malta, etc.) and then all you have to do is ensure that the boat leaves the EU at least every 18 months so that it remains legally present without unde government fees.
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:47   #3
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Yes I know I am getting CE certification for the boat from Florida.
I still do'nt know where or how to register the boat or if I can use this flag of convinience that you refairing to
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:24   #4
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George - if you go to any dock in the Med you'll see that many of the boats are registered somewhere outside of the EU, these are called "flags of convenience". You can get a red ensign (Red Ensign Group) flag regardless of where you live or what your nationality is. With that flag your boat can remain the EU for 18 months at a time, if you stay longer then EU VAT is due. Also, those countries do not require a CE certification. Since your boating license depends upon your vessel's country requirements, it is also legal to be skipper of your boat without having the local license, i.e. I have a British flag and can thus sail my boat in Germany without being required to have a German boating license which I would need as a German citizen.
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:45   #5
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Thanks Zanshin for a quick responce. The other problem that rises is that been a Greek citizen living in Greece I can't have an off shore register Plesure boat,(the Greek goverment lately is vetry strict about that) if I have this boat delivered to Greece only my son who lives in Switzerland can drive it and only for 6 months a year.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:09   #6
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I would advise you to first sail to the Azores (or have it delivered there) and pay EU VAT there. You can "negotiate" with the officials about the boat value there, plus the VAT is much lower (was 13% don't know now). This is EU VAT so valid anywhere in the EU.

A flag of convenience doesn't work for you as you already know. We have it and only get away with it because we are not EU residents anymore (emigrated from Holland).

cheers,
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:19   #7
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I considered importing a used boat from US a couple of years back. To make sure where I was standing, I had a couple of long telephone discussions with the customs and tax officials. In terms VAT it was all very clear: it will have to be paid and there was no way to go around it. There was also some very interesting other requirements, e.g., users manual on local language.

I ended up buying my boat locally. Adding VAT to purchase price just made local alternatives more interesting. Another issue was being able to throughoutly inspect the boat and even test sail it. It was a lot of money, so it was nice to be sure.

Registering a private vessel under a convenience flag sounds like an interesting option. It actually sounds too good to be true, and I have never heard it being done here. We hate (our very high) taxes here, so I just suppose, that if it would work in practice, it would be used a lot. However, I do not know on what extents the regulations are unified in EU on this matter. Maybe there are some national differences.
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Old 10-02-2010, 14:38   #8
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ggeopap do what all your country man do register your yacht under a greek flag and as a charter yacht by doing so you dont have to pay vat etc and also you get to pay only a third of what private yachts pay in marina fees
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Old 10-02-2010, 23:35   #9
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Hi,thanks for the comment.This boat has Petrol engines and you can't register a petrol boat as a charter yacht.It looks like I am 13000 down.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:50   #10
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If you register in the BVI you can create an IBC (International Business Corporation) for around $500 per annum, with yourself as the owner. Then the yacht is registered to a corporation and you, as a Greek citizen and resident, wouldn't own it but perhaps could arrange with the company to get free use of it in the EU

I recall walking the docks at Nice and was surprised how few boats were registered in France, most flags were Caribbean or the Red Ensign ones (mainly Malta and Gibraltar)
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Old 11-02-2010, 13:20   #11
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unless the boat already has a CE certificate, I think you'll also have to pay the costs for this certification (~€1100 for a 30 footer) plus the import duties and VAT. It might be better to use a flag of convenience (BVI, Malta, etc.) and then all you have to do is ensure that the boat leaves the EU at least every 18 months so that it remains legally present without unde government fees.
An eu tax resident cannot use the 18 months VAt excemption. VAT is due immediately on entry into the EU.

Technically VAT is due in the country of destination , ie normally where you live, ie Greece. You can try and import it through say the azores, another good place is Palma de Majorca. But again in theory since you are the importer, it should be paid in Greece.

My best advice is to try and argue the agreed price down and just pay the VAT, everything else will just leave you looking over your shoulder.

The boat must have a valid CE ( RCD) certificate, you can get a Class D ( sheltered waters) cert quite cheaply, but a full Class A cert could cost upto 10K.


All the nonsense about corporate registration is BS, if you do that you must show business use and show that this is not a tax dodge. Simply corporately registering it is no way enough
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Old 11-02-2010, 19:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I would advise you to first sail to the Azores (or have it delivered there) and pay EU VAT there. You can "negotiate" with the officials about the boat value there, plus the VAT is much lower (was 13% don't know now). This is EU VAT so valid anywhere in the EU.

A flag of convenience doesn't work for you as you already know. We have it and only get away with it because we are not EU residents anymore (emigrated from Holland).

cheers,
Nick.
VAT in the Azores is 15%, went up in '2007'... but they do not argue with the 'Bill of Sale'... 2001 Beneteau 331 bought in the BVI's for $60,000 was accepted at face value in 2007.... As your wife is English you could register it under the UK Small Ships Register (25GBP for 5 years) providing she has an address she can use in the UK... sister/brother... and delegate a home Port thats nearest to them. I do know there are many UK flagged boats in Greece so maybe having it in her name could be a way out.... cannot gaurantee it as a permanent solution tho'.. but it could buy you some time
How much is the Delivery costing you...???
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Old 20-02-2010, 02:09   #13
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Disaster. I did'nt buy this boat after all. After a lot of complications and misanderstandings and a stuppid-stuppid sales person I was'nt able to buy this boat. Got my deposit back anyway,but no expences.. I think I am not going to regreat this anyway. I fount another boat that I will buy,from marbella Spain. A Sea Ray 28. Flying there next Friday.Smaller and cheaper,and tax paid. Now I am thinking wich is the easyer way to ring it home.
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Old 25-02-2010, 12:34   #14
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It will probably work out better for you anyway. You have to be very careful buying boats from Florida - there's thousands of hurricane damaged boats there which have been superficially "patched up" then sold to unsuspecting buyers.
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