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Old 10-03-2012, 11:07   #1
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Liveaboard in the Med - Logistics Pls

Bucketlist: cruise / liveaboard in the Med.

My husband is applying for a job with the US military in Italy. (We are US citizens. Would be covered by SOFA - status of forces agreement - but am unsure how it covers a boat.)

A friend of his suggested we buy our liveaboard boat once we get to Europe and use our housing allowance to pay for the boat. At this point it would just be a floating home that we could take on weekend trips. Once the 3yr job ends, we would want to stay/cruise the Med for a few more yrs.

I have tons of logistical questions...
- Mono or cat? We were thinking cat but are concerned re marina space and costs? We've seen lots of cats in Med charter fleets but not so many in marinas. In Croatia it was 1.5 x dockage for a cat.
- US / non-US flagged boat? Does it matter?
- Should we get a boat with the EU VAT paid / not paid?
- What about insurance?

Nothing in stone yet. Just sold our racing sailboat and need to sell the pwrboat and house. Lots of options. I've been madly reading noonsite for info.

Would love to hear your ideas. THX so much.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:43   #2
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

you need to check your SOFA, I believe you can bring your personal possessions with you that would include a boat bought outside the EU. The boat could then reside in the EU tax free, as long as you remain a resident ( and its not clear exactly when that ends). thats your best bet. i know many US service personnel bring their cars etc.

As to cat/monos, my store of popcorn is somewhat dimished after the "cost of women debate and the zombie thread" !!.

You will pay a lot more to marina Cats, is thats your gig, especially in the western med where places are at a premium. If you want to anchor out, then its not a problem.

If you intend to berth in Italy or France, make sure you have a permanent berth first. They are scarce ( though the recession is helping free things a bit). Id do the rounds of all the marinas nearby where you want to berth the boat and see whats whats. Quite a few marinas don't allow liveaboards, but many turn a blind eye. Getting a permanent berth near where you work may be the most difficult.


As to flag, its matter not a wit. US would be the most logical if you are bringing in a US boat. Depending on the exact SOTA rules, you may have to follow local registration procedures, these are fairly minimal in Italy.

As to insurance, YES you will need at least third party insurance or you will not be visiting any marinas. Presumably you will be insuring it anyway.

Given the state of the second hand market, there are good bargains in the Med at the moment, if you can beat the Aussies to the boat!!. also buying in the area you intend to live may mean you can work the berth into the deal.

I spent several summers in France and Italy on my boat, finding a permanent berth has the biggest pain and one that I address as soon as you can.

( I don't know where in Italy you will be so I can't be too specific).

You'll love living in Italy , agh the food!! ( well not exactly the dining out experiences, for which France is peerless, but the ingredients at the markets, ahh I can still smell the salsa verde and the quattro formaggio sauce. ( damm wheres that Ryanair timetable)..

PS:you made need to establish a shore side convenience address for Bank accounts etc, Official liveaboards are somewhat of an anomaly and it may be convent to use a friends apartment as a address etc
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:19   #3
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

Also check out if the new Italian Boat Tax will apply to you and your SOFA status - my understanding is it applies to residents of Italy.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:26   #4
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

its not a significant cost for normal leisure sailing yachts. ( and its the subject of a review as to its exact implementation). for sailing boats in the 14m to 17m range its about 900 euros a year.

The other thing is that VAT is being applied to marinas berths for the first time in 2012, thats a 20% rise.

But then think of all the upsides.

Dave
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:47   #5
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

THX multihullsailor6.
The latest from noonsite: The amendment, approved late Tuesday February 21st, by the 10th Commission of the Italian Senate for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, stipulates that the berthing tax will only be applied to Italian citizens who possess a vessel (regardless of whether it is kept in Italy, or overseas) even if it has a foreign flag. Foreign citizens who own a foreign-flagged vessel are exempt from this tax, regardless of their length of stay in Italian waters.
Good news for us.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:52   #6
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

I would be careful of that statement as I believe its misleading, my understanding is that Italian tax is applied to all tax residents not on a basis of citizenship but on residency. That translation would suggest that say Italians living in the US would be liable!!!!.

My understanding if you are qualified as a tax resident the tax applies. The issue was that when this tax was proposed it was going to affect all users in Italian waters. I believe that the above translation is sloppy,

Dave
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:57   #7
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

How does one qualify as a "tax resident?"
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:57   #8
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

I checked this and
"I said IT boat owners for simplicity, actually the tax affects anyone fiscally resident in Italy (which mostly means IT citizens, but there are exceptions: IT citizens resident abroad are not chargeable, wihlst non-IT citizens resident in IT are), who have to pay whenever they have the possession of a vessel.
"

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Old 10-03-2012, 13:04   #9
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathunter View Post
How does one qualify as a "tax resident?"

In general in the armed forces , the agreement means that you are not considered a local tax resident, you get paid by uncle sam and pay US taxes. Outside this normally being resident in Italy for more then 183 days in a fiscal year is sufficient to be regarded as a tax resident.

You need to check this out. as I said normally military personnel are not regarded as local tax residents its a special case. But its sounds like your husband is transferring under normal Nato SOFA rules and hence he's in no danger of being regarded as an "Ordinary Resident". You must be careful if you take any local employment ( which will be difficult as you will not have a EU work visa).


Just be also aware that once the SOTA agreement terminates and you want to cruise the med, you need to establish the situation,, normally your possessions return to the US, Your boat if not VAT paid will be allowed 18 months in the Eu before Vat is due. More problematic is that you will be subject to normal EU Visa rules allowing you 90 days out of 180 cumulative across all Schengen agreement countries ( all the EU except the UK and Ireland)


Dave

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Old 10-03-2012, 13:59   #10
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Re: Liveaboard in the Med - logistics pls

Many thanks, Dave. Feeling a bit less "in the dark" now.
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