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Old 21-12-2007, 13:16   #1
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Importing a Boat to Thailand

I have gotten myself into dutch with Thai customs concerning my boat's visa and am being advised that the cheapest way out would be to import the boat into Thailand. My question is, if I go this route, will this cause difficulties when I try to bring the boat back to the US? Will I have to pay duty? Come to think of it, will I have to pay duty regardless? I have no experience with this sort of thing so I thought I would put the question out to those who have.

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Mike
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Old 21-12-2007, 13:59   #2
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I think we need more detail. Are you importing to register or to just get it there to sail around???
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Old 21-12-2007, 14:57   #3
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Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
I have gotten myself into dutch with Thai customs concerning my boat's visa and am being advised that the cheapest way out would be to import the boat into Thailand. My question is, if I go this route, will this cause difficulties when I try to bring the boat back to the US? Will I have to pay duty? Come to think of it, will I have to pay duty regardless? I have no experience with this sort of thing so I thought I would put the question out to those who have.

Thanks,
Mike
Unless Thailand has some reciprocal agreement with the US for these specific taxes (in the same way that VAT paid in the UK would also count as paid in Greece, despite the greeks never getting the cash) then their simply is no link. I very much doubt there is a link - no business reason I can think of for their to be.

Therefore you pay import taxes into Thailand and into the USA (IF you later import the boat and IFthe USA had import taxes on S/h boats - somehow I suspect they do!).

And I would not expect a refund from Thailand, even if you were meant to get one And if you later want to you can ALSO pay import taxes anywhere else you choose to import the boat!

But I recall reading that the import taxes on Boats into Thailand was quite low, cos' it is not a major activity nor a threat to local industry.......certainly not anywhere near the import taxes on Cars. And you are certainly in the right country to "negotiate" the value of a s/h boat for taxation purposes
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Old 21-12-2007, 15:01   #4
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You need to trace and establish the boat title history. I can see why it might be cheaper to import the boat than hassle about other issues and all that but for your own sake at least try to assemble the history with documentation. You will need to do that to get it documented with the USCG. They generally want the original build certificate (no copies). If it was made in the US there would be no duty required here. You will need to establish a solid title. I would work the problem backward as something easier on the front end might hurt you later on.
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Old 21-12-2007, 15:11   #5
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Del,
The boat is already there and is being rebuilt. It has been there under a temporary visa which has been renewed once. I was under the impression that the renewal was good for one year but it turns out it was good for only 6 mos so it is 6 mos overdue. To complicate matters the original visa was not stamped by customs (their fault) and the renewed visa was lost by the contractor (my fault). The upshot is that customs wants to arrest the delivery skipper and the boat. I'm told they will be happy if I import the boat and pay the VAT which is actually cheaper than the late fees and fines. The plan is to bring the boat back to the states once it is done and it is currently documented with the USCG.

What I am wondering is if by importing the boat to Thailand I have to give up my US registration and will that cause difficulties when I bring it back. I haven't been able to come up with any answers off the web and so far my operatives in Thailand are unsure.

Mike
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Old 21-12-2007, 15:27   #6
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What I am wondering is if by importing the boat to Thailand I have to give up my US registration and will that cause difficulties when I bring it back. I haven't been able to come up with any answers off the web and so far my operatives in Thailand are unsure.

Mike
Short answer is: "i don't know".

Long answer is: as long as you do not have to re-register her as a Thai Vessel then importing is only about taxes, same as most places. It has no inherent link with ship registration. Methinks that this is only about taxes. In any case as long as any Thai registration does not involve actual de-registration in the US you can simply just ignore anything yer do in Thailand when returning to the US.

Methinks that the vessel started life in the US and accordingly is documented as having already paid all applicable taxes so when she returns (simply from a longgggg voyage) their is nothing to pay import tax wise. However, if you did tell them you had spent XXX 000's of Dollars on her in a foreign land then they could well slap a bill on the boat (they would in the UK). Of course exactly what you told anyone upon re-entry to the US is down to you.........
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Old 21-12-2007, 15:29   #7
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Therefore you pay import taxes into Thailand and into the USA (IF you later import the boat and IFthe USA had import taxes on S/h boats - somehow I suspect they do!).
That's what I'm afraid of!

Quote:
You need to trace and establish the boat title history. I can see why it might be cheaper to import the boat than hassle about other issues and all that but for your own sake at least try to assemble the history with documentation. You will need to do that to get it documented with the USCG. They generally want the original build certificate (no copies). If it was made in the US there would be no duty required here. You will need to establish a solid title. I would work the problem backward as something easier on the front end might hurt you later on.
It wasn't easy, but I did all that a couple years ago. If I import to Thailand do I have to give up my USCG documentation?

Mike
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Old 21-12-2007, 18:21   #8
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A friend of mine just went through this. Although in his case he was ahead of the game and his 6 month stay had not expired.

He was coming up on 6 months and had no time to move the boat out of Thai waters. The Thai "official" first offered to stamp the paperwork that he "had" left and come back even though he hadn't. My friend said this was totally unacceptable. He worked up the chain of command a little and got an "official" extension (without leaving and no bond) including a groovy three colored stamp ;-)

All above board. In your case I am not sure if you can do this either a) remotely or b) after the fact.

Fundamentally they are interested in you paying import duties if you are staying longer than 6 months. Make sense until you are on an extended layup. You maybe be able to negotiate a refundable bond which would also make sense. They just wat to assure that you are not going to sell the boat there without having paid duties which is their right as a government.

By bonding the boat, they hold the money and refund it when you leave. I don't view this a registration issue.

Thailand is very cruiser friendly and they hold several regattas during the year. 6 months is a long time to be in their waters, though.
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Old 30-12-2007, 16:04   #9
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By now you must have made several good color copies of your US documentation...
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Old 30-12-2007, 16:26   #10
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I see no relation between import duties and registration (documentation). It is no different than registering a boat in Rhode Island, and leaving it in Connecticut for more than 30 days which would require the sales tax to be paid in Connectiuct. That does not affect your documentation one bit. Taxes are taxes, registration is registration.
You are going to grease their palm one way or the other. Make it easy on yourself and don't worry about the Coast Guard. I don't think the Thai government reports to them, anyways.
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