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Old 05-10-2020, 20:12   #1
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VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

First post. I reside in Canada, purchased boat in Croatia. I'm interested to know other non-EU owner's experience in purchasing boat supplies and equipment and seeking VAT refund. As the owner is non-EU and the boat will leave EU, these purchases should be eligible for VAT refund. Anyone have success in doing this? e.g. new tender and motor? generator? Appreciate any experiences and advice that can be shared re: if this is possible and what process must be followed.

Max
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Old 10-10-2020, 01:17   #2
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

The process varies depending on what "EU" country you are in.



As a "vessel in transit", even if you are at the "start" of your transit you are entitled to order items from outside the EU TAX free and not pay import duty or VAT.



Items ordered within EU can not be supplied TAX free but within certain time period usually 3 months can be reclaimed when you exit the last EU country. You are required to complete a "retailers" declaration or in some instances retailers use "Global Blue" which is a refund agency. These forms need to be presented to the Customs authority on departure.



The biggest issue is that Customs able to stamp said forms only exist at airports (yachts can't leave from airports) or main commercial ports. Marinas on the whole do not enable this service so you will have to arrange your check out from the EU at a major commercial port.
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Old 13-10-2020, 19:44   #3
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

Thank you Tupaia for your reply. What you explain makes sense to me and seems consistent with what I have heard. I will investigate further and if I do have success with this I will share on the forum. I remain interested if there is experience out there doing this with these types of boat equipment purchases.

Thanks,
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Old 13-10-2020, 20:32   #4
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

Hi all,

to my knowledge, equipment needs to be able in principle to be transported in personal luggage.

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom...visitors-eu_en


Equipment for private cars or vessels does not qualify for VAT refunds if purchased inside the EU. At least customs in Germany have that rule (page in German):

https://www.zoll.de/DE/Privatpersone...ufen_node.html


It seems that this is also the case in Croatia:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...6hcfZz0qQwy3TJ


There may be some loopholes in Gibraltar (usually very popular to buy diesel) and the Canaries (no European VAT, but they have their own taxes). Maybe some cruisers who visited these places might have an idea where to buy best.
I would like to explore these loopholes to buy some expensive equipment (watermaker etc.) before crossing the Atlantic in 2022.

Regards,


-Richard (VK4WRS)
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Old 14-10-2020, 00:37   #5
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

The reference to hand luggage only, is to allow for inspection. Large items can be carried in checked baggage provided they are inspected by customs before they are checked in. There are special provisions for this even at German airports. Non of this applies if your boat is already in the eu.

You can't get refunds on mail order items even if you subsequently take the items out of the eu in your personal luggage.

You can however receive items for a vessel (in transit) by mail order from outside the eu without paying import duty or VAT. You may need an agent in some EU countries (Spain).

Vehicles as in cars as opposed to boats fall into a different category.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...KVNxYNeW_SxBhg

Gibraltar is NOT in the EU Customs / VAT area but can cause issues if you relay on this, in Spain purely political or France where they do not allow TI extensions for non-EU yachts.

Conditions also vary if the vessel is eu flagged and or the owners are eu residents or eu citizens.

The best approach is to speak to the local customs authorities in advance. Expect a NO if you are not prepared and have read the government websites on what should happen. There are so many rules that local officials will not be familiar with all the details.
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Old 14-11-2020, 20:50   #6
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

@rmaxwell
Did you find out anything further? I am also interested in this as now have a boat in Spain. I will likely take a few things with me on the plane as luggage but it will not be practical for the larger items.....
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Old 15-11-2020, 06:01   #7
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

I am a bit curious: What would theoretically be a good place to buy expensive equipment like a watermaker in terms of VAT? EU, Gibraltar, Canaries, Trinidad ?

Regards,

-Richard (VK4WRS)
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Old 15-11-2020, 06:55   #8
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

you cannot avail of " yacht in transit" rules to avoid VAT on supplies ,( you never could ) the procedures are setup for commercial shipping entities and there are forms/rules and procedures done via a ships agent ( and involve bonded stores etc )

Secondly you can only qualify for VAT returns from "designated " shops that are participating in the VAT refund scheme , these are typically high value tourist shops , not boat supplies

Any item you get shipped to you in the EU , irrespective of the flag of the boat, once its in EU territorial waters will require VAT to be paid either at purchase or at import ( plus customs duties and clearance fees )

You cant dodge VAT legally sorry
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Old 15-11-2020, 06:56   #9
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmuir View Post
@rmaxwell
Did you find out anything further? I am also interested in this as now have a boat in Spain. I will likely take a few things with me on the plane as luggage but it will not be practical for the larger items.....
If you are stopped , you will have to import the items and pay VAT , duties and fees , not to mention potentially a fine for not declaring the items in the first place
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Old 15-11-2020, 06:58   #10
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

Quote:
You can however receive items for a vessel (in transit) by mail order from outside the eu without paying import duty or VAT. You may need an agent in some EU countries (Spain).
again, this is a practical impossibility for most small private yacht owners and teh setup costs outweigh the whole benefit, the clearance process is laborious, and customs will simply not accept " yacht in transit" scribbled on the outside !
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Old 15-11-2020, 13:30   #11
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
If you are stopped , you will have to import the items and pay VAT , duties and fees , not to mention potentially a fine for not declaring the items in the first place

Thanks but note I am not suggesting to smuggle anything or not declare things. All good.
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Old 15-11-2020, 13:44   #12
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

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Originally Posted by nmuir View Post
Thanks but note I am not suggesting to smuggle anything or not declare things. All good.
sorry ,wasnt suggesting your were , merely outlining all the issues
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Old 15-11-2020, 13:59   #13
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Re: VAT refund on boat supplies in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupaia View Post
The process varies depending on what "EU" country you are in.



As a "vessel in transit", even if you are at the "start" of your transit you are entitled to order items from outside the EU TAX free and not pay import duty or VAT.



Items ordered within EU can not be supplied TAX free but within certain time period usually 3 months can be reclaimed when you exit the last EU country. You are required to complete a "retailers" declaration or in some instances retailers use "Global Blue" which is a refund agency. These forms need to be presented to the Customs authority on departure.



The biggest issue is that Customs able to stamp said forms only exist at airports (yachts can't leave from airports) or main commercial ports. Marinas on the whole do not enable this service so you will have to arrange your check out from the EU at a major commercial port.
can I say that almost all this post is incorrect

EU VAT/Customs law is the only harmonized fiscal code in the EU , but it is harmonized and other then special cases largely based on accession derogations , is identical across the EU , even if the paperwork isnt actually identical or the procedures may be different the underlying EU law is the same

There is no such thing as a simple " vessel in transit " rule or designation , there are a set of procedures where a vessel can under certain circumstances and regulations obtain spares and stores free of duties and taxes. There are very specific rules and they are largely designed for commercial shipping

As a private non commercial vessel ( ie a vessel not wrapped up in a company) , The tax status of the beneficial owner is what will be regarded as a defining principle. If for example you are a eU established beneficial owner, you will never be able to normally avail of any VAT exemptions



Quote:
Items ordered within EU can not be supplied TAX free but within certain time period usually 3 months can be reclaimed when you exit the last EU country. You are required to complete a "retailers" declaration or in some instances retailers use "Global Blue" which is a refund agency. These forms need to be presented to the Customs authority on departure.
There is NO generalized VAT reclaim scheme , EU vat law has specific initiatives aimed at tourists , shopping in designated stores that participate in a VAT refund scheme, This also applies to new boat purchases and cars/planes etc .( the new means of transport VAT rules) Outside of the designated sectors there is no generalized relief from VAT once the purchaser ( the boat is irrelevant ) is currently inside the EU customs union nor is there any generalized reclaim ability if you leave the EU. ( ( customs do NOT refund VAT , the only people that can do that are the retailers that took it from you in the first place )

Think about it why would the EU encourage you to buy outside the EU !!!

EU VAT law is very clear , the retailer must exercise caution in removing VAT from any sale, where any doubt arises , the retailer must apply and remit the vat and leave you to argue about it with the relevant customs authorities
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