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Old 18-03-2015, 07:33   #1
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Purchasing Vessel in Europe

Can someone with experience please share with me the logistics and intricacies involved in a United States citizen purchasing a vessel in Europe. The selection of 3 cabin catamarans seems to be far greater than here in the Americas, and prices in Europe appear to be much better as well. However, before I spend the effort to locate vessels I would like to have a look at, I'd like to know what I'm in for as far as the purchase, registration, taxing, transporting back to American waters, etc. . .
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Old 18-03-2015, 08:00   #2
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

When you get the purchase paperwork together, take it to an American Embassy and have them give you a certificate of ownership. It use to cost about $90. They look everything over and basically guarantee that it is a legal sale and that you are the new owners in the eyes of the US Government.

Most countries usually give you 30 to 90-days to get the boat out of their country without having to pay taxes.

US import taxes for a used boat is around 1.5% of the current valve. Sometimes you can dicker with the Customs agent over how much the "current" valve is. We did, and it saved a bunch of money.

Getting it to the US can be done a bunch of ways. The cheapest and easiest is to sail it back yourshelf.

And your right about the exchange rate. The Euro is nearly equal to the dollar so you can probably get a good deal. Marine gear and parts may also be cheaper, so load up with what you need if it is.

When we bought ours (a long while ago) the British pound was down to nearly the same as the dollar so it was a super buy. We also bought a new Volvo diesel engine & trans for the boat at the same time for only $1500!

If you can take a couple of months of to buy the boat and sail it back, it can really be great adventure. But plan on some things going wrong so hopefully you can do your own repairs.

Good luck!
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Old 20-03-2015, 05:37   #3
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

Interesting, no VAT if I get the vessel out of the country within 30 days? Does this mean get the vessel out of the EU within 30 days, or just out of the country of purchase?

Let's assume I will not sail the vessel back to the U.S.A., leaving me with the options of either paying someone else to crew it and sail it back, or have it shipped back. Any idea how much either of these options would cost? Would it be difficult to find a crew to sail a 38 - 40 foot catamaran across the Atlantic to the U.S.A?
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Old 20-03-2015, 05:49   #4
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Originally Posted by jacks88 View Post
Interesting, no VAT if I get the vessel out of the country within 30 days? Does this mean get the vessel out of the EU within 30 days, or just out of the country of purchase?

Let's assume I will not sail the vessel back to the U.S.A., leaving me with the options of either paying someone else to crew it and sail it back, or have it shipped back. Any idea how much either of these options would cost? Would it be difficult to find a crew to sail a 38 - 40 foot catamaran across the Atlantic to the U.S.A?
Only applies to Brand New boats..
No VAT claw back on Second Hand as its a once in the products life Tax.. as long as it stays in the EU..
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Old 20-03-2015, 06:22   #5
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

So if we weren't planning to take the boat back to the USA (just visit her 90 out of 180 days), could we skip out on the USA import tax since we aren't importing it? Will that create any issues getting the boat CG documented?

Does anyone have a good source for someone to handle review the paperwork on an itlaian purchased private sale? I don't want to find out after the fact that there is lean on the boat or some other snag.
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Old 20-03-2015, 06:35   #6
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Contact someone at one of these companies and ask for recommendations in the area of interest..
Admiralty and Maritime Lawyers in Rome, Italy - HG.org
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Old 20-03-2015, 07:13   #7
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

Sound advice from Boatman above.

It is very important you know exactly what the VAT status is on a boat you plan to buy. This should be supported by a clean VAT certificate.

Keep in mind – if you buy a used VAT paid boat in Italy – the owner will most likely try to recover the VAT he has already paid, and this will be reflected in the asking price.

If you but a new boat – as a US citizen – you will not have to pay VAT, and you can keep it in the EU for approx 6 months, and even longer if you meet certain exit/foreign visit requirements.
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Old 20-03-2015, 07:39   #8
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

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Contact someone at one of these companies and ask for recommendations in the area of interest..
Admiralty and Maritime Lawyers in Rome, Italy - HG.org
These link to maritime legal firms. Am I overthinking this or is a full blown lawyer really needed?

For reference, we are looking at a $20,000 boat. I'm good with paying a few hundred for someone to do a review of the paperwork to make sure everything is legit but my experience with lawyers suggests it will get out of hand pretty quick. If we are looking at several thousand, the boat is no longer the deal it looks like now.

I was hoping maybe it would be a brokers service where they provide some standardized forms and look over the paperwork to make sure it looks legitimate.

I have asked and the owner indicates it is VAT paid at the listed price. I will require documentation as part of the sale. I will also plan on making the offer contingent on a survey (any recommendations on surveyors in southern Italy?)

Sorry if I'm taking over the thread but it seems so close to the same subject seems better to keep it together.
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Old 11-06-2016, 12:25   #9
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

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Old 12-06-2016, 07:38   #10
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Re: Purchasing Vessel in Europe

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Interesting, no VAT if I get the vessel out of the country within 30 days? Does this mean get the vessel out of the EU within 30 days, or just out of the country of purchase?
It means out of the EU. Check if the vessel is already tax paid. Unlike in USA, the EU only requires tax to be paid once on the boat, not each time it changes hands.
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