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Old 08-11-2012, 07:13   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Boat: Gulfstar CSY 50
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Importing a Vessel to the EU


So I've made an offer on a vessel and now planning on going to Panama to pick it up. My plan is to sail it back east and end in the Med. As it's not VAT paid I will need to pay that as soon as I get it back here.

So my question is:

How do they work out the VAT? Is it on the price I paid or on some other formula? I'm buying it privatly so there won't be a formal invoice, is proof of the transfer enough?

All advice welcome as usual!

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:06   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Caribbean
Boat: Jeanneau 57
Posts: 1,757
Re: Importing a Vessel to the EU

Break your purchase into separate steps

1. Bill of Sale and proof of ownership
Is the vessel currently Panama flagged? If so, or if it is flagged to any country, then you need to de-flag the boat. This can be simple or complicated depending upon the country and how solid the proof of ownership papers are and if there are liens on the boat.

2. Then you need to choose a new flag. If the U.K. then with your de-flag paperwork and bill-of-sale you could do a Part III registry. The vessel doesn't need to be in U.K. or EU in order to be registered and no VAT is due.

3. I believe that you will need to have proof of "CE" Certification in order to import the boat into the EU unless it is older than a certain number of years

4. VAT assessment is best discussed before heading into EU waters with the tax authority of the country that you intend to clear into the EU. If you show up with an invoice of "Bought for USD1" then they'll surely decide to make their own determination.
-Zanshin (SV Zanshin)
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