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Old 25-02-2021, 05:16   #1
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Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Hello. I'm planning to buy 1.5kk EUR boat this year. My boat will come from US to EU by cargo ship. Boat was built in EU, EU VAT not paid.
My passport is Caribbean. I have EU residency, and temporary staying in EU. I'm not a EU taxpayer, I'm following tax residents rules.

I have read many threads here as I can.
So, the questions are: Is it right idea to register Polish flag with my EU ID residency card, and not paying VAT? Or better Gibraltar boat Registration?
What the best registration choice with a Caribbean passport?
When the boat come by cargo to EU, will the customs ask me to pay EU VAT?
I'm not avoiding EU VAT, if it needed I will pay, but actually next years maybe I will sail out of EU. Just to pay EU VAT in vain, it is not a smart deal.
Thank you in advance.
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Old 25-02-2021, 05:41   #2
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pirate Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Why not flag and register with your passports country and use the 18mth temporary import rule.???
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Old 25-02-2021, 05:53   #3
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

You need to pay VAT since you are an EU resident. Flag does not matter just use your country flag.
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Old 25-02-2021, 06:33   #4
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

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Why not flag and register with your passports country and use the 18mth temporary import rule.???
Because I'm not living in my passport's country, and never been there)
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Old 25-02-2021, 06:36   #5
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

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You need to pay VAT since you are an EU resident. Flag does not matter just use your country flag.
For example, my EU residency country is Slovenia. So, if boat come from US to Spain, I should pay VAT in Spain? Despite on fact I'm not EU taxpayer?
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Old 25-02-2021, 09:05   #6
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

someone here should know the answer, but it might help to clarify your EU status (citizen vs resident):

you are a citizen of Slovenia? hold the passport, right?

but are you also a resident (living in the EU, with an address and paying income taxes or property taxes in Slovenia)? it seems you are not. you say that you have "temporary residency"?

you hold another passport as well, one from an island in the caribbean?
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Old 25-02-2021, 09:49   #7
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pirate Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

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Because I'm not living in my passport's country, and never been there)
In that case you must have dual citizenship rights.. what is your country of birth, that will bear on the answer.
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:02   #8
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Not clear what your situation is but, generally, I would say that it would be better to have the boat already flagged before shipping. Then its status upon arrival in the EU is clear. Also, if you are a resident of the EU and have no other residence or ties to another country then you will be deemed a resident of the EU for tax purposes. Lastly, flagging the boat Polish or in any other EU nation state will force you to pay VAT.
Boatman61 gave you the best advice. Highly likely you do not need to be a resident of your home country to register your boat there before shipping. That would be the best solution IMHO.
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:07   #9
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

If you are resident in the EU irrespective of nationality or citizenship then then the boat you own for private use must have free circulation in the EU i.e.VAT paid. Normally you will pay this at the first port when the boat enters the EU, in your case I assume when it is offloaded from the transport vessel. If your passport contains some way of identifying your residency in the EU then if you tried to import under the temporary importation 18 month rule free of VAT you run a real risk of detection and significant problems.
As others have said, flag of registry is irrelevant to EU VAT, but common sense says an EU flag may stimulate a border force investigation into VAT status.
If your boat has a CE mark and is fairly recent, it should be ok in meeting the technical requirements for full importation into the EU other wise you might have to obtain a CE mark and that can be expensive. The problem goes away with temporary importation using the 18 month rule.
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:17   #10
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

If you are a resident of an EU country, you are supposed to pay the VAT to the first EU country that you land it. Supposed to pay is the key word here. As an EU resident, you are supposed to pay on Day One.

I imported my US-built and US-flagged boat into the EU after I was already in The Netherlands for a few years, but as I wanted to eventually sail around Europe and knowing that the Norwegians and the French pay special attention to US-flagged boat, I paid the VAT and paid for a PCA survey.

I was controlled by the French Douane once and they told me that I paid too little for my 1973 Pearson 36, they wanted to reevaluated the vessel and charge more VAT. I just told them that I had been refitting the boat for the past 10 years, they should have seen her when I bought her...LOL
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:19   #11
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

As an EU resident, one is ineligible to use the 18 month rule.
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:28   #12
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Ok I will see if I can clarify this. First you are not the only one, lots of people get very confused around registration but it is actually quite simple. On disclaimer, I am not speaking as an 'expert' with professional qualifications in this area. I lived in the UK and moved to Canada where I now have citizenship so have been through some of this.
Vat. If you permanently import a boat into the EU you pay Vat (if due) in the country where you take delivery of the boat. Vat rate differ so you may need to look at where you take delivery of the boat. That does not have to be where the boat will eventually live. Second point on VAT is that it only applies to boats built after a certain date. If the boat was built before VAT was introduced purchase tax would have been paid so VAT is not due. You do not have to prove any tax was actually paid it just goes on build date. This now only applies to classics but I can't off hand remember the date.


Registration. There are 2 levels of registration in all EU countries. The boat can be registered as a local inshore craft that will not leave coastal waters or visit other countries. This goes on simple residence and is independent of citizenship. So if you are a legal resident in Poland and want to sail in polish waters you can use this route. Actually lots of people do use local registration and then sail to other countries generally without to many problems but it is technically incorrect. In your case with other passport issues I would be cautious about doing that.
The second level of registration is full international registration that applies to all ships traveling internationally whether you are a yacht or a tanker! This one DOES go on citizenship, where you reside is irrelevant. You have 2 options. If the ship is owned by a company it can be register in the country where the company is located so the company must be registered first and can then register a ship. If the ship is privately owned by an individual then it must be registered in that individuals county of citizenship not residence. I some countries if you have PERMENANT residency then you are counted as a citizen for ship registration but generally not if you have any time limited or residency that must be renewed periodically. So if you are an EU citizen you can register in the EU, if you are a Caribbean citizen you can register there and if you have duel citizenship you can choose. Once you register the boat it then comes under the rules for that registration, called your flag country. This can make a difference. For example if the boat is registered in Europe then things like radios must also be licensed there and under European rules and you must have a European radio operators license. This can make a big difference to the cost of equipment and generally European licensed gear is more expensive.
Hope that helps
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Old 25-02-2021, 10:43   #13
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usersail View Post
Hello. I'm planning to buy 1.5kk EUR boat this year. My boat will come from US to EU by cargo ship. Boat was built in EU, EU VAT not paid.
My passport is Caribbean. I have EU residency, and temporary staying in EU. I'm not a EU taxpayer, I'm following tax residents rules.

I have read many threads here as I can.
So, the questions are: Is it right idea to register Polish flag with my EU ID residency card, and not paying VAT? Or better Gibraltar boat Registration?
What the best registration choice with a Caribbean passport?
When the boat come by cargo to EU, will the customs ask me to pay EU VAT?
I'm not avoiding EU VAT, if it needed I will pay, but actually next years maybe I will sail out of EU. Just to pay EU VAT in vain, it is not a smart deal.
Thank you in advance.
Reference: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom...ats-faq_en.pdf

Your EU residency will result in EU VAT on import of vessel, unless the vessel is considered "household goods" and that requires that you have used the boat in a foreign country for six months and you resided in a foreign country for 12 months before your household goods were repatriated back to the EU when you returned to reside in the EU. VAT being a "privilege" tax associated with your privilege of being a resident of the EU, similar to say the Sales or the Use taxation of most States of the USA.

If the vessel is provided with EU nationality [EU flagged] and imported to the EU is will be subject to VAT. If the EU flagged vessel remains outside of the EU then it is not subject to EU VAT.

The importation of the good [vessel] to the EU would induce customs declaration and duty, but the good [vessel] may be exempt from EU customs duty if it was manufactured in the EU.

A good that was VAT Paid status but was exported from the EU for more than three years becomes subject to reimportation and is subject to VAT and customs duty anew.

Your citizenship is a factor as to registering your vessel in countries that are NOT flag of convenience countries.

EU residency is key to determination of VAT. Non-residency AND non-EU nationality of the vessel [i.e., non-EU flagged] are also key to whether one could import the vessel under temporary admission [i.e., the 18 month period before required discharge of the importation by exporting the vessel from the EU to a foreign place or port].
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Old 25-02-2021, 15:07   #14
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

Thank you very much for all.
boatman61 I have only Caribbean passport (CBI program, not born in Caribbean).

wolfgal I have EU ID residency card for one year, with option to prolong. I'm not spending more than 180 days in my EU residency country.

No dual citizenship.
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Old 25-02-2021, 15:28   #15
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Re: Flag for boat, VAT not paid, US to EU by cargo ship

After reading of all advises, I am inclined to think that I will pay EU VAT in Netherlands in day one, when she will be landed.

1. Is it possible to pay VAT in Netherlands if I don't have a Netherlands tax number?

2. Is it bureaucratic to pay VAT in Netherlands? Or easy and fast?

3. Can I flagged an boat in advance before arriving to EU? Do I need just an agreement, invoices for the flag process? She is now under US flag.

Thank you
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