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Old 09-05-2021, 12:18   #1
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Buying a Boat in Sweden

Hello!

We are hoping to be buying a boat in Sweden and were looking for some insight as to the paperwork side. It seems to be REAAAALLLLY lax here.

Is there no "title" on a boat here?
How do you confirm the person is the rightful owner with no liens?
Do we need some type of proof that VAT has been paid?

Thank you!
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Old 09-05-2021, 14:11   #2
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Buying a Boat in Sweden

No to all of the above. Sweden don’t have a register for smaller pleasure crafts like a normal 40ft sailing boat. If you plan to buy and use the boat in Sweden you don’t need a single paper. If you plan to go somewhere else it might be a good idea to have the original receipt (if it’s a newer boat) to show that EU-vat is paid and the purchase receipt to show it’s yourse. But as I said as long as you stay in Sweden no one will ever ask you for it
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Old 09-05-2021, 20:34   #3
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by Flod View Post
No to all of the above. Sweden don’t have a register for smaller pleasure crafts like a normal 40ft sailing boat. If you plan to buy and use the boat in Sweden you don’t need a single paper. If you plan to go somewhere else it might be a good idea to have the original receipt (if it’s a newer boat) to show that EU-vat is paid and the purchase receipt to show it’s yourse. But as I said as long as you stay in Sweden no one will ever ask you for it
Thank you!

If they don't have the original invoice showing VAT is paid is there any other way of proving it?
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Old 09-05-2021, 20:48   #4
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by svenskflicka View Post
Thank you!

If they don't have the original invoice showing VAT is paid is there any other way of proving it?
If the owner does not have recordation of VAT being paid then check with the previous seller, or from the boat manufacturer if is a newish boat as they may have a recordation of VAT being paid.
If the owner is an EU resident and the boat is located in Sweden then the owner should have already paid VAT if they do not have record of VAT having been previously paid.

VAT in Sweden is 25%. If the seller does not have proof of VAT being paid then discount your purchase by 25% and pay the VAT yourself. The owner's lack of record retention is a cost burden that the owner should incur. Pure stupidity if that is the case and VAT had been paid when due.

Best check on whether customs duty is due. What is the country of origin of the boat manufacturer? Has it been imported into the EU?
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Old 09-05-2021, 21:00   #5
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
If the owner does not have recordation of VAT being paid then check with the previous seller, or from the boat manufacturer if is a newish boat as they may have a recordation of VAT being paid.
If the owner is an EU resident and the boat is located in Sweden then the owner should have already paid VAT if they do not have record of VAT having been previously paid.

VAT in Sweden is 25%. If the seller does not have proof of VAT being paid then discount your purchase by 25% and pay the VAT yourself. The owner's lack of record retention is a cost burden that the owner should incur. Pure stupidity if that is the case and VAT had been paid when due.

Best check on whether customs duty is due. What is the country of origin of the boat manufacturer? Has it been imported into the EU?
The boat is a German boat, they are the third owners and said they never got the original invoice.
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Old 09-05-2021, 22:21   #6
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

Just curious ...if the onwers have no paperwork and there is no documentation, then how does someone know if the boat was stolen? What happens if the rightful owners find their stolen boat? How can someone not have the original invoice? Is this common practice in the EU?

Abe
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Old 09-05-2021, 23:32   #7
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

I am not suprised that they don’t have the original invoice. There is no need for it in Sweden. I understand that this seems like an odd practice for US citizens that are used to titles and boat registration but this is how it works. Off course it’s hard to know if the boat is stolen but for sailing boats I would say that this is just a theoretical problem in Scandinavia. It just don’t happen. I am the third owner of a boat originally from the UK and luckily have the original papers. I keep them safe for a future sale. What is common for swedes going abroad is to register their boat in the voluntary register kept by Svenska Kryssarklubben (Swedish cruising society) and then they can issue a “title” etc that can be used for customs reasons and flagging in and out of countries.
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Old 09-05-2021, 23:44   #8
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by sailingabe41ds View Post
Just curious ...if the onwers have no paperwork and there is no documentation, then how does someone know if the boat was stolen? What happens if the rightful owners find their stolen boat? How can someone not have the original invoice? Is this common practice in the EU?

Abe
I agree! For a country that likes to keep track of everything its citizens do, buying a used boat is really similar to buying a used bicycle here...
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Old 09-05-2021, 23:48   #9
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

Owning a boat without getting registered is the last frontier of freedom in Sweden . The state register everything else.
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Old 09-05-2021, 23:56   #10
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

I would ensure that the invoice from the seller shows that it's an EU registered boat sold by a private person and that the boat was in the EU when it was sold. Lack of original VAT invoice would not bother me.
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Old 10-05-2021, 09:08   #11
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

Hi svensflicka,


Yes, the paperwork requirements in Sweden are far more lax than other places, for sure. What helped guide me in the process when I purchased there, was to focus on the requirements of the "flag" country in which I intended to register the vessel, and the requirements of the countries in which I intended to sail. Once you know where you intend to register your prospective vessel, you can do your best to ensure you have proper documentation to satisfy the authorities of the nations you intend to visit... and from this, your registration will likely guide whether or not you need to be concerned with showing proof of VAT payment. For example, if you are moving the vessel from Sweden to your house in Greece, you'll want to be sure you know what Greece requires for vessels registered in X country. Hope this helps, and do enjoy Sweden!
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Old 10-05-2021, 09:29   #12
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by svenskflicka View Post
The boat is a German boat, they are the third owners and said they never got the original invoice.
If it is a German boat, the boat should be registered in Germany? Otherwise it is a Swedish boat. Th cutoff point is 12x4m. If the boat is below either figure there was no need to register in Sweden. (Recent changes have changed that to 15m length, independent of beam). For vessels sailing abroad, the Swedish Cruising Club keeps a register on behalf of the Swedish government. I think you need to be resident of Sweden to be able to register, but not sure.

The age of the boat is important for the VAT. If older than 1995, I would just ignore it if no receipt. That was before Sweden joined the EU. Nobody is ever asking for old boats. For newer boats, unfortunately, you may need it.

Where do you intend to bring and register the boat?
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Old 10-05-2021, 09:56   #13
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

The best way for Europe is to get a Flag Certificate - there you have to hand in the invoice etc.. and then your boat is internationally registered.
Although there is not much effort in it. One paper form, picture and invoice and a passport copy.
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Old 10-05-2021, 10:11   #14
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by svenskflicka View Post
The boat is a German boat, they are the third owners and said they never got the original invoice, well that is a .
Okay, so Paper Chase Game Time. Devil is in the Details and one is seeking a preponderance of evidence of ownership status and of custom's duty / VAT paid status to provide credible assurance to the authorities.

One starts with asking the proper questions so as to gain complete knowledge of the boat's history as to ownership transfers and travels - exportations / importations.

This is not rocket science it is merely a documentation search and gathering mission.

"The boat is a German boat.":

Does that mean it was manufactured in Germany? The reason I ask is that if it was made outside the EU then it would need to have been cleared through customs as an import and there should be a customs declaration document to record it entry into the EU at which time VAT would have needed to be paid so as to avail the good [the vessel] free circulation in the EU. An owner is required to keep the original invoice which has the VAT remittance number on it for a certain number of years after purchase, I don't recall the number of years. The tax authorities can trace back the remittance of VAT by review audit of the vendor / seller / importer if they have the VAT remit number to investigate. If they don't have that as a starting point then they have no means to initiate a search for a payment. The transaction would be a ghost.

Does that mean it is flagged by Germany and is registered with say the BSH?
I am not familiar with the many, many ship registries of Germany, but they could require proof of VAT paid status to be entered into the registry; you can check that in Germany, contact the specific ship registry that it is listed with for detailed inquiry. An EU flagged vessel is required to have paid EU VAT once the vessel enters the EU at its first port of entry into the EU; an EU flagged boat that does not enter the custom's territory of the EU, does not need to have EU VAT paid. To be flagged a boat owner must be able to provide documents providing supporting evidence of ownership, such as a signed transfer title document, a bill of sale, a signed transfer of registration for a non-titling jurisdiction. What documentation do they have to provide evidence of ownership?

By way of example - the USA Coast Guard guidance in their Frequently Asked Questions
"HOW IS VESSEL OWNERSHIP ESTABLISHED?
If the vessel is new and has never been documented, ownership may be established by submission of a Builder's Certification (Form CG-1261), naming the applicant for documentation as the person for whom the vessel was built or to whom the vessel was first transferred. Also acceptable are a transfer on a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, a copy of the State Registration or Title, or foreign registration showing that the applicant owns the vessel.
In the case of a previously owned vessel, the applicant must present bills of sale, or other evidence showing transfer of the vessel from the person who last documented, titled, or registered the vessel, or to whom the vessel was transferred on a Builder's Certification or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin. If title was transferred by some means other than a bill of sale, contact the National Vessel Documentation Center for assistance."
Nota bene: A Bill of Sale is evidence of ownership it is not proof of ownership.

USCG FAQ continued:

"WHY AND HOW IS BUILD EVIDENCE ESTABLISHED?
Evidence that a vessel was built in the U.S. is required for a vessel which is to be used in the fisheries or coastwise trade. Build evidence is normally established by submitting a Builder's Certification on form CG-1261. That form must be completed by the person who constructed or oversaw the construction of the vessel or an official of the company that built the vessel who has examined the records of the company to determine the facts of build. The Original Builder's Certification or Facts of Build Letter must be presented with your submission. A copy will NOT be accepted."
Note a copy of the document is not acceptable, the owner must present THE ORIGINAL, else the USCG will not issue endorsement for fisheries or coastwide trade under the Jones Act. Never loose the originals, keep them secured in a bank deposit box and keep certified copies of such documents on board the boat.

Was the boat registered under any other flags?

Can you obtain an "Abstract of Title" from the nation's ship registries? The abstract should provide a trail of ownership, copies of all bill of sales, the builder's certificate, and also of recorded mortgages, satisfactions and releases of mortgages, and any notices of claims of liens. As part of your purchase contract, you should require both representation and guarantee of clean title transfer, no encumbrances and that the owner will pay for any and all encumbrances that arose before the sale to you.

Are the owners residents of the EU? If so what country?

Has the vessel left the EU for three years before returning? If so then it would have lost VAT paid status upon its importation back to the EU.

Where was the boat upon the end of Brexit Day? In the EU? Or in the UK? The boat will retain the Custom's and VAT status in either the EU or the UK depending on which territory it resided upon Brexiting and it will not have custom's or VAT paid status in the territory it was not residing upon Brexit Day.

All goods [e.g., a boat] need to have proof of VAT paid status or to be in temporary admission status to be able to freely circulate in the EU. Without proof of VAT paid status one could be charged VAT by any EU border customs agency. They can impound / seize the boat until payment is made. If proof is lost then the owner is liable for payment of VAT. No ticky, no laundry. Customs does not have legal standing to avail waiver of collection of duty and VAT when there is not proof of such payment.

"The third owner" Well the good thing is that is not an extended ownership trail.
Does the third owner have a bill of sale from the second owner?
Do they have a copy or an original of the bill of sale from the first owner to the second owner?
Do they have the original builder's certificate issued to the first owner?
If the boat was imported into the EU, do they have the original custom's declaration?

Oh, yeah if the boat has been exported there likely should have been an export declaration; by way of example, if the boat was of German origin and then exported to Sweden for sale, then a notice of export of some sort should have been filed with German authorities so they can properly record trade statistics and similarly upon import to Sweden so that Sweden could record trade statistics. Some countries have severe civil penalties if one does not properly clear exit procedures and reportings. One typically finds out about that the hardway, when the owner or a new owner tries to have the boat returned to the country it exited without clearance. When one crosses boarders one often has to complete both an export clearance and an import clearance and one should no the rules of each and every border crossing both exiting and entering. Freelance wandering about can become a real fubar.

Well worst financial case custom's duty and VAT may need to be paid [including fines for late payment], and there are mortgages and liens that need to be resolved, just Euros, possibly lot's of Euros.

FYI if the boat is of USA origin, either new or used, as of 2018 the EU has imposed a retaliatory 25% custom's tariff on all American sourced boats and accoutrements. That retaliatory tariff is scheduled to rise to 50% next month, June 2021. So I hope that the boat is not declared a recent import from the USA, else it will be slapped a hefty duty taxation. One would be surprised how many persons do not know of the onerous duties associated with the USA tariff wars, [not just with the EU mind you and not just with boats]. I will refrain from any mention of the POTUS that instigated the trade wars so as to keep to the forum decorum of the CruisersForum. Much "collateral damage" associated with trade wars.

And worst case as to ownership is that the vessel is lacking as to availing assurance of rightful ownership, and of releases of mortgages and notices of claim of liens. Not having clear title could [read will] make registration difficult or impossible and make future transfer or resell very difficult.

Determine under which flag nation you wish to register the boat if you purchase it and then ascertain each and every document that will be required to avail obtaining such registration, then go get such documents. If you can't then I would recommend that you pass on purchasing the defective titling of the boat, let it become someone else's unresolvable issues, as they will be of equal concern to any future buyer of the boat.

Kind of reminds me of reviewing the title document trail for the purchase of the 100 acres for our first manufacturing plant here on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The original patented deed from the U.S. Federal government as an allocation of the tribes reservation to a Salish tribal member, and the next transfer was a thumb print quit claim deed of the allotted property from a member of the Salish tribe with an attestation by a Bureau of Indian affairs agent that the deed document had been verbally translated from written English to the Salish language and that the seller understood and accepted the title transfer of his land to an early non-native settler; albeit we all know that the Salish did not culturally accept that individuals could "own" a portion of their tribal domain so such contrivance was ridiculous to begin with and the odds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs agent had adequate polyglot skills to fully explain the document is doubtful at best. Certainly the original treaties with the tribes were totally F'd Up as to the potential of mutual understandings of the negotiations, so were any other contrivances such as the subsequent changed in USA policy to then "allot" portions of the reservation to individual members of the tribe was a failure as to equity and law. The Salish member applied his inked thumb print in lieu of a signature or mark as they did not have a written language. To him the paper was an unknown and essentially useless thing. It would be grand to have had the privilege of meeting the gentleman, I always enjoy time spent with any of the elders, very few are pure blood and not many are fluent in their native languages. Hate to see the diminishment of our true native culture by us majority non-native immigrants [aliens] to the Americas.


All the best.

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Old 10-05-2021, 10:38   #15
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Re: Buying a Boat in Sweden

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Originally Posted by Bliedstrupp View Post
The best way for Europe is to get a Flag Certificate - there you have to hand in the invoice etc.. and then your boat is internationally registered.
Although there is not much effort in it. One paper form, picture and invoice and a passport copy.
No, please. Once they start registering boats, they will find a way to tax them
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