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Old 20-10-2020, 08:53   #1
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UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

Hello all, I have just spent some time trawling threads for the answer and whilst I found some oblique answers they may not be relevant post - Brexit.

Simply- how do long term sailors/circumnavigators from the UK deal with the 3 year rule on VAT / Returned Goods relief? One obviously doesnít want to sail off from home port to return over three years later and be re-charged VAT by the ever friendly HMRC.... I understand that pre-Brexit just stopping in overseas dependent territories of the EU (Martinique etc) would work, but now?
Thank you in advance- and if there is already a thread covering this accept my apologies and point me in the right direction

Thanks
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Old 20-10-2020, 09:15   #2
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

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Originally Posted by Jbwh View Post
Hello all, I have just spent some time trawling threads for the answer and whilst I found some oblique answers they may not be relevant post - Brexit.

Simply- how do long term sailors/circumnavigators from the UK deal with the 3 year rule on VAT / Returned Goods relief? One obviously doesn’t want to sail off from home port to return over three years later and be re-charged VAT by the ever friendly HMRC.... I understand that pre-Brexit just stopping in overseas dependent territories of the EU (Martinique etc) would work, but now?
Thank you in advance- and if there is already a thread covering this accept my apologies and point me in the right direction

Thanks
in the very distant past you would apply for a temporary export permit,along with your currency declaration form which would be checked and stamped on departure and return

not sure what the new rules will be,as at this point neither do the government
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Old 20-10-2020, 10:35   #3
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

This might work!
While you are still an EU citizen, register your boat as Irish!
I see many English boats in Irish marinas (mainly due to cost of South England marinas and availability of cheap flights.)
Even during the virus there are regular flights to Ireland from all over the UK.
Give these guys a ring!

https://boatregistration.ie
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Old 20-10-2020, 10:55   #4
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

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in the very distant past you would apply for a temporary export permit,along with your currency declaration form which would be checked and stamped on departure and return

not sure what the new rules will be,as at this point neither do the government
Thanks for that: at least there is precedent, albeit who knows what will happen in the near future. I thought there had to be something: so may people must do it they canít all be practising the crossed fingers approach to the VATman. Something to investigate
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Old 21-10-2020, 08:34   #5
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

Having been in the Caribbean for a few years I sailed back to the UK. Though heading for Scotland i was running low on gas and a few groceries so decided to drop in St Mary's, Scilly isles for a few hours. I went in to see immigration etc to announce my presence and explained my situation.......they really were not interested. They thanked me and that was it! Sure I've got evidence of vat payment but there was no interest in at at all. Sailed back home to scotlsnd and that was it. I mean, how many times do they want vat payment on the same vessel? I Got lucky? No idea!
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Old 21-10-2020, 08:52   #6
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

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Having been in the Caribbean for a few years I sailed back to the UK. Though heading for Scotland i was running low on gas and a few groceries so decided to drop in St Mary's, Scilly isles for a few hours. I went in to see immigration etc to announce my presence and explained my situation.......they really were not interested. They thanked me and that was it! Sure I've got evidence of vat payment but there was no interest in at at all. Sailed back home to scotlsnd and that was it. I mean, how many times do they want vat payment on the same vessel? I Got lucky? No idea!
Thanks- I have heard similar from others, but I'm still worried that I would meet the one HMRC bod who wants to make a point! So am just trying to get to the actual rules.... I take it you did nothing before departing other than booking out as per normal, no letter to HMRC or anything? Perhaps I just need to chill about it, but the potential bill would pain me!
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Old 21-10-2020, 09:01   #7
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

The HMRC are havering at present. Their proposals were truly ridiculous so the Cruising Association has gone back to them to point out just how ridiculous they are being. Unfortunately tax authorities are not known for sensible thinking when they can see an easy money win, so UK boaters, write to your MP!
The situation is still flexible, so the more you can push, the better. Keep checking the HMRC site if it may affect you.
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Old 21-10-2020, 09:08   #8
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

No, i just left the country 2012. I had been planning to drop into St Marys on the way down but it was dark, tide running and pretty bouncy so just continued on to Spain. I know, yotties want away from bureaucracy, petty rules and regulations or at least keep it down to the legal minimum and keep a low profile. I'm not advocating it, just my experience. Be glad to hear how others cope
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Old 21-10-2020, 09:10   #9
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

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Originally Posted by Jbwh View Post
Thanks- I have heard similar from others, but I'm still worried that I would meet the one HMRC bod who wants to make a point! So am just trying to get to the actual rules.... I take it you did nothing before departing other than booking out as per normal, no letter to HMRC or anything? Perhaps I just need to chill about it, but the potential bill would pain me!


No, i just left the country 2012. I had been planning to drop into St Marys on the way down but it was dark, tide running and pretty bouncy so just continued on to Spain. I know, yotties want away from bureaucracy, petty rules and regulations or at least keep it down to the legal minimum and keep a low profile. I'm not advocating it, just my experience. Be glad to hear how others cope
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Old 21-10-2020, 09:29   #10
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

I understand that starting 1/1/2021 the UK rules are: if your boat goes out of UK for > 3 years then VAT is due when it comes back to UK. Boats are designed to travel. How the government thinks that it is morally right to charge twice for the same thing I do not know. However, with regard to Brexit, nobody knows when the 3-year period starts. Indeed there have been hints that HMRC might consider the 3-years started when the boat left the UK even though it has remained in Europe subsequently. At the moment nobody knows the starting time of the 3-year rule ! (What a way to run a country !) I violently object to the 3-year rule, and have written to my MP requesting if the government really wish to charge two lots of VAT. However, if ownership changes or the boat has been significantly modified (presumable for the better) then the 0-year rule applies ! While in the past UK customs have not worried too much about UK boats returning to UK, there is nothing to stop them being more interested in the future, and even applying what apparently is UK law ! Are UK sailors objecting to this law ? Silence could be taken as acceptance.
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Old 21-10-2020, 10:01   #11
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

Try contacting the RYA as I am sure they will be aware of this problem for their members.
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Old 21-10-2020, 10:20   #12
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

I am in the same situation, the EU has stated that any vessel in EU waters on 31 December will retain EU status, according to the RYA. I also believe that the UK has never in the past invoked the three year rule. Again according to the RYA the UK government has yet to make up its mind if it will introduce the three year rule. In the mean time I will do my best to keep EUVAT status. Incidentally you can only register a vessel in Ireland if you live in the country, but if you have EU vat status you can keep it there
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Old 21-10-2020, 10:24   #13
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

Just a question, how do they know you left? I mean, im going to untie and head out. I don't plan on telling anyone apart from the odd post on a forum saying hi guess where I am! (I loved waldo as a kid)
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Old 22-10-2020, 02:09   #14
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

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I am in the same situation, the EU has stated that any vessel in EU waters on 31 December will retain EU status, according to the RYA. I also believe that the UK has never in the past invoked the three year rule. Again according to the RYA the UK government has yet to make up its mind if it will introduce the three year rule. In the mean time I will do my best to keep EUVAT status. Incidentally you can only register a vessel in Ireland if you live in the country, but if you have EU vat status you can keep it there
I hear you, but my question is more about a boat already accepted as UK VAT paid, leaving from and returning to UK. It may well be that the Brexit issues directly impact this by making HMRC more aware of the issue, not sure. Guess Iím keeping my head down until itís sorted: no plans to go for a while anyway......
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Old 22-10-2020, 03:10   #15
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Re: UK VAT and (3 yr+) circumnavigation

another alternative is to create a shell company in the cayman islands or any other tax haven, you then sell the boat to the company for a nominal sum,you can then apply for cayman islands registration.

you then when entering the uk will be able to apply for a temporary import permit that lasts 18 months,leaving uk waters re sets the TIP.

costs about £2500 to set up the company and get the registration,and about £500 a year to keep the company running.

Just out of interest did any of the concerned posters vote for brexit,thinking it would save them money and make life easier?
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