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Old 23-01-2011, 14:40   #1
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Registering a Boat in Spain

Hi everyone,

I'm about to purchase my first boat in Spain and need your wisdom and guidance.

The boat's original owner was Austrian, and the boat was initially registered in Austria. He then sold to boat to the current Spanish owner, and de-registered the boat in Austria. But the current owner sailed the boat in Spain for 3 years without ever registering it officially. So the boat does not currently have a title, though it does have a sales contract marking the current owner as the legal owner. I guess the current owner never felt the need to be registered because he never left the Balearic Islands. He also did not pay EU VAT.

What do I need to do to legally register the boat under my name? I'd like to do everything above board and take no legal risks. What is the process for registering a boat in Spain?

The language barrier with the current owner, as well as his disregard for the rules, has made the task of figuring out the right path very difficult. I would greatly appreciate any and all pointers.
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Old 23-01-2011, 14:57   #2
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all you need is a bill of sale from the current owner and the deletion certificate from the austrian. where do you intend registering it?
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Old 23-01-2011, 15:06   #3
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I'm no expert in the subject but do know someone who had a similar problem. The ONLY way to do it properly is to get the ships original documents from the place it was last registered, ie, in this case, Austria.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say he 'de registered it'. As far as I know, there are only two ways to de register a boat from the home country, 1. Transfer it onto a new flag or 2. Report it lost or sunk.

You cannot simply turn up and 're-register' a boat under a new flag with no documentation. Sales contects are NOT proof of ownership or legal title. All they do is help keep a record of the history and come in handy for insurance purposes in the event of a claim.

Sounds very suspect and complicated to me, personaly, i'd walk away or insist that they provide you with full title before you hand over your money.
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Old 23-01-2011, 15:13   #4
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What do I need to do to legally register the boat under my name?
Being a Spain resident would be a requirement.

The title is registered in your country or places that allow it "Isle of Jersey" works.
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Old 23-01-2011, 15:19   #5
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Sounds very suspect and complicated to me, personaly, i'd walk away or insist that they provide you with full title before you hand over your money.
Agreed and possibly a large outstanding import/VAT duty & registration bill if your not careful. The Spanish economy is in dire straits, anything they can tax including wealthy boat owners is now fair game.

Since the current owner isn't the original owner the chances of chasing down the original registration in Austria are slim.

BTW there are some countries that don't have any legal requirement to register a boat providing it is used in home waters, the UK is one.

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Old 23-01-2011, 15:22   #6
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Sounds very suspect and complicated to me, personaly, i'd walk away or insist that they provide you with full title before you hand over your money.
Agreed and possibly a large outstanding import/VAT duty & registration bill if your not careful. The Spanish economy is in dire straits, anything they can tax including wealthy boat owners is now fair game.

Since the current owner isn't the original owner the chances of chasing down the original registration in Austria are slim.

BTW there are some countries that don't have any legal requirement to register a boat providing it is used in home waters, the UK is one.

Since the boat is in Spain as is the vendor why not ask him to register it in Spain, pay any taxes due and then buy it.

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Old 23-01-2011, 20:25   #7
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If you are a spainish tax resident, and I presume your are becuase you wish to register the boat there, be aware that on top of VAT is a spainish matriculation tax of 12.5% ( levied on all means of transport imported into spain). It is the cause of a lot of "dodgy " boats in Spain.

I would make it a clause in the contract that the seller must ensure registration in Spain. Certainly at the very least he should get a letter stating that the registration authorities have no objection

On balance Id walk away unless theres a good reason not to.

However the customs office in Palma, seems to be very flexible, thats my experience. so teh VAT issue may be easily resolved, Make sure that the seller settles the VAT before you close the deal, as he can argue that vat is levied on the financial value of the boat and not the sale value. I had that done and ended up effectively paying 6% VAT on the actual sale price.

But you need to be sure you can register it in Spain. That needs a deletion certificate, a VAT paid document, a certificate of CE conformance ( if built after 1995) and the various bills of sale from owner to owner.

Note on teh VAT , if the seller was meant to pay the VAT and didnt be careful, make sure hes pays it and not you as technically he could b be penalised.

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