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Old 08-02-2010
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myocean - yes, it is real. If you are German, for example, you would have to do an official "Abmeldung" from Germany, or elsewhere in Europe prove that you no longer reside in the EU; this is important so that you can, upon return, state that you are an expat returning. It would be in your best interests to consult a professional tax person in your country of residence - it would be terrible to return after a 5-year circumnavigation to be told that, for tax purposes, you never left and you would be liable for the VAT of your boat immediately upon entering the EU!
If I sell my current boat (status is VAT paid) and purchase a new one I will do the same thing - get everything without VAT and export it, then after finishing my trip around the globe re-enter and have a legal, VAT paid, boat. I currently have an official residence outside of the EU so don't have any problems "proving" that I'm an expat.
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