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Old 20-03-2004, 21:05   #1
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Where to register a new boat?

Hello there
We are having a new boat built in France and we have to decide where to have her registered. Between my wife and I we hold French, Australian and Canadian Passports. We are currently resident of Australia. French registration does not seem very popular with french yacthies because of cost and because of the safty requirement the boat must comply with to achieve and maintain registration. Can anybody out there give me advice on this very boring subject? We are planning to join the ARC and possibly carry on up the US east cost and into Canada. The plan is to sail back to OZ one day. Would an Australian or Candian registration make sense? Thanks

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Old 20-03-2004, 22:23   #2
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Want to see a similar thread on this topic?

Chris, you might visit and look for the 'Documentation' thread in the Cruising Section.

As you already seem to appreciate, there is no straightforward answer to your question insofar as I'm aware. What nationality you choose will shape your equipment and fit-out obligations (how capable is the French yard of e.g. fitting the boat out in compliance with Oz or Canadian requirements?), where you plan to spend most of your cruising time (there would be some advantage for an EU-registered boat if/when cruising in EU waters), how the various tax obligations stack up against one another (if registering in the EU, don't forget to compare VAT rates as they vary substantially from one member state to the next; would you even - ever - pay a Canadian tax unless subsequently cruising long-term in Canadian waters?), and where you "think" you will ultimately resell the boat (which might require a buyer e.g. in Oz to reregister and be obligated to new tax liabilities, and which would inturn unavoidably lower your sales price when he compared your boat to other 'domestic' offerings).

Some feel that choosing a flag that's maximally 'acceptable' within the cruising venues they are planning is a good idea. (U.S. is "bad", Britain's Red Duster is "good") but for the cruising destinations you plan, I doubt that will make a big difference given your choices.

I can't imagine actually wanting to stay encumbered with French bureaucracy long-term, but that's a personal reaction of mine which you may not share. OTOH I am unaware of any French equipment requirements that you wouldn't otherwise want to honor given your offshore sailling plans - what do you think they might be?

All of that being said, if you really do plan to resell in Oz some day, I'm guessing 0z registration will ultimately prove a good choice when you look at the above variables.


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Old 21-03-2004, 00:49   #3
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Resgistration in Canada mightrequire payment of GST @ 7%, PST (8% in Ontario), and (I suspect) importation duty.
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Old 22-03-2004, 03:18   #4
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Thanks for your detailed reply. I seem to understand however that the payment of Sales Tax, GST or Import duty is not related to where the boat is being registered but where it is being used and where the owner is resident. Is it correct? If so registration place would not make a hughe difference.
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Old 22-03-2004, 04:32   #5
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In Canada...

Registration in Canada is not difficult, and can be a DIY project; thanks to the help of the bureaucrats. As well, you do not have to pay the duty or taxes for a boat that is not going to be "enjoyed" in Canada. You will have to pay the fees ($~4-500) and you will have to have it surveyed by a surveyor approved by the federal government (Mine cost $700 Can).

You have to have paperwork satisfactory to them, however; and they don't seem to make many concessions. Original paid invoice or bill of sale, proof of deflagging, surveyor's certificate and calculations, etc.
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Old 22-03-2004, 08:38   #6
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We bought our Canadian registered boat from a Canadian couple. The boat was built in England where it stayed for several years. Then it was brought to the states and sold to us.

Even though the boat was registered in Canada the owners did not pay duty and GST. In fact they sold the boat in the US in order to avoid paying the taxes which they said would have amounted to about 30%. They paid duty in the US which was about 1.5%.

Now I am looking at sales/use tax in the US. The boat is being taken from Maryland (where I bought it) and so I did not have to pay their tax. I will be keeping the boat in Georgia (across the river from my house and cheaper slip fees) which I have read does not have a tax on used boat sales. By the time I have to register it in Florida, in another 1-2 years, I will be over the 6 months ownership period and may not have to pay the tax in Florida. This may not work out to be entirely correct, and I will pay the Florida tax (6%) if required.
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Old 22-03-2004, 08:45   #7
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Everyone will want a bit of your money...

Chris, govt'l fees (duty, tax, use tax, sales tax) is not an 'either/or' scenario. Follow this example:

You buy a boat in the UK. You don't want to pay sales tax on the sale because you (eventually) plan to sail it in other you are given X days in which to leave the UK (and all the other member states of the EU) or be liable for value added tax which you would otherwise need to pay. You sail it to the U.S., at which point you will face a similar scenario OR it must be imported. (This would work exactly the same if I reversed the direction...but the costs would vary). You pay import duty (which went in Uncle Sam's pocket) and now you begin cruising up the East Coast. A state-appointed official (perhaps Fish & Game person, or a Marine Police officrer) comes alongside and asks how long you've been in 'his/her' state. If it's longer than that state has established by law, you now owe use tax because you have not paid a sales tax at least equal to their use tax assessment somewhere else in the U.S.

If at this point, you choose to depart for saner waters, you will most likely start the cycle all over again.

You are correct in that a major governing principle is where you use your boat. Unfortunately, that isn't the ONLY principle.

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Old 08-05-2004, 13:18   #8
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I have just registered a new vessel and the process is very simple. If the vessel is under 12 metres you don't even need a tonnage survey. You just need three photos ( and a slew of forms). The cost was $350. If you do not intend to bring the vessel back to Canada you do not have to pay GST or Provincial sales tax. You can find the details of the process at:
I repeat , you do not have to pay GST, PST, or any import duties if you do not bring the vessel back to Canada for use. You can bring it in for repairs, commissioning etc. but cannot use the vessel in Canada. Good luck.

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