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Old 04-07-2019, 04:30   #1
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American possibly buying in the UK

I'll try this question in a different forum. I'm an American strongly considering buying a boat in the UK and bringing it back. Does anyone here have experience with this situation? What do you anticipate the financing situation might be? US or UK lending institution? And I assume I'd have a set amount of time to vacate the country before being liable for VAT. Just testing the waters before I talk to brokers.

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:35   #2
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Wait till after Halloween and VAT will not be an issue.
Though to be honest if its not a new boat VAT does not apply, its a one off tax on new items.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:37   #3
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

Why? Does something happen then? :-)
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:40   #4
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Independence Day..
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:47   #5
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

Sounds good. I have Contessa 32 or S&S 34 fever. I may get you to bring me one back!
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:21   #6
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Sounds good, if its not a 'project'..
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:54   #7
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

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Wait till after Halloween and VAT will not be an issue.
Though to be honest if its not a new boat VAT does not apply, its a one off tax on new items.
Brexit will make absolutely no difference to VAT as that will still be levied on goods and services in the UK regardless of our status in/out or shaking it about with the EU.

HMRC operate a "sailaway" scheme for purchasers of new vessels, which is an EU wide thing, where an overseas buyer can purchase a boat VAT free as long as they leave EU waters within 30 days. This is open to EU citizens as well as non EU. I used it when purchasing my boat in the UK for delivery in Slovenia as we were sailing directly to Croatia (at the time NOT in the EU). VAT Free for Tourists also allows a non EU resident to claim back the VAT paid on any items that are exported (so lifejackets, life rafts, electronics etc).

If buying a pre-loved boat it is not an issue as the VAT will already have been paid but it is vital that the new owner has proof of that should they wish to enter the EU. There is a period of 18 month temporary importation for Non EU/EEA citizens before customs and importation duties would become liable.

VAT is NOT a 1 off tax on boats. Leave the EU for more than 3 years and come back and you'll have to pay it again.

Then you have to factor in the customs dues when you get back to the USA of course.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:07   #8
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

US duty for a used boat is 1.5% but when all the paperwork is done it ends up around 2%. If you buy a US or Canadian (or Mexican) built boat in the UK then it is duty free when bringing it back to the states. I think they also waive duty for boats over 30 years old. You may have to pay state tax of course.
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:14   #9
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Brexit will make absolutely no difference to VAT as that will still be levied on goods and services in the UK regardless of our status in/out or shaking it about with the EU.

HMRC operate a "sailaway" scheme for purchasers of new vessels, which is an EU wide thing, where an overseas buyer can purchase a boat VAT free as long as they leave EU waters within 30 days. This is open to EU citizens as well as non EU. I used it when purchasing my boat in the UK for delivery in Slovenia as we were sailing directly to Croatia (at the time NOT in the EU). VAT Free for Tourists also allows a non EU resident to claim back the VAT paid on any items that are exported (so lifejackets, life rafts, electronics etc).

If buying a pre-loved boat it is not an issue as the VAT will already have been paid but it is vital that the new owner has proof of that should they wish to enter the EU. There is a period of 18 month temporary importation for Non EU/EEA citizens before customs and importation duties would become liable.

VAT is NOT a 1 off tax on boats. Leave the EU for more than 3 years and come back and you'll have to pay it again.

Then you have to factor in the customs dues when you get back to the USA of course.
Will it still be VAT at the 21% or will it revert to Sales/Purchase tax at a lower rate..
VAT being a 1 off was in reference to the OP's situation not anything else.. although technically one could circumnavigate over 5 or 10yrs and still be fine.. depending on the territories one selects along the way..
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:48   #10
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

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Independence Day..
I love the way you phrased that answer!!
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Old 04-07-2019, 17:40   #11
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

With the information you have provided no one could possibly give you any useful advice at all.
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Old 05-07-2019, 00:04   #12
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

Find out any S&S in your country
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:25   #13
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Re: American possibly buying in the UK

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What do you anticipate the financing situation might be? US or UK lending institution? And I assume I'd have a set amount of time to vacate the country before being liable for VAT. Just testing the waters before I talk to brokers. Thanks
The major UK marine finance institutions prefer to lend on a new or couple of years old vessel. If the Contessa 32 is one of the originals then there is no chance from a UK lender. There are minimum amounts as well. Also they like you to have fixed assets they can get their hands on if you disappear with "their" boat.

I did look into this and gave up. It would have been easier to re-finance property than take out a marine mortgage which also has higher interest rates.

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Old 06-07-2019, 11:48   #14
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Originally Posted by rmcnabb View Post
I'll try this question in a different forum. I'm an American strongly considering buying a boat in the UK and bringing it back. Does anyone here have experience with this situation? What do you anticipate the financing situation might be? US or UK lending institution? And I assume I'd have a set amount of time to vacate the country before being liable for VAT. Just testing the waters before I talk to brokers.

Thanks
I have a Tanton cat ketch 43 which we are about to put up for sale an excellent USA boat here in UK selling as we now need to downsize as age is catching up with us can said photos and info if interested,air fare reimbursed if a sale takes place
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Old 06-07-2019, 18:34   #15
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American possibly buying in the UK

I closed on a 1972 boat in Scotland in 2015. No one, well no one I could find, would finance so I coughed up and paid cash.
I sailed her to Southampton and shipped her to us east coast.
The logistics you will need to manage are, at a minimum -
UK insurance
Shipping and its insurance if you go that way.
US insurance
Funds transfers (deposit and final payment) (I used transferwise)
UK removal from registry
US documentation
Apostiled bill of sale (important for documented vessels)
Customs broker and port agent on both ends
Crew logistics
EPA issues with engine. (None but can be a mess)
Duty. 1.5% at the time.
VAT was not an issue I had to deal with as the boat had been imported into the UK far enough pre-vat that she was considered VAT paid.

Iím sure there is more. My contact spreadsheet had about twenty names on it. That was kind of fun for me.

Was it worth it? For me, writing as I sit in the cockpit right now, yes. Without doubt.
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