Join Date: Jul 2002
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importing a yacht into UK
To restate the question, you want to know what UK/EU tax liabilities exist should you purchase a boat not previously registered inside the EU and then sail it into the EU (most likely, the UK) with the idea of selling it.
There are several layers to the answer. First, the EU has nicely sewn up access to their brokerage marketplace from outside by establishing a Recreational Craft Directive (RCD), grandfathering every EU boat from world cruiser to derelict rowboat into the RCD scheme, and then requiring any non-EU boat being sold in the EU to become compliant with the RCD. This is a complicated issue and you would be wise to read the October (I think) issue of Yachting Monthly, wherein a British national discusses sailing his Baba 30 down the NA Pacific Coast, thru the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic to his place of birth in England, only to have HM Customs impound the boat (and threaten him with jail) because he wasn''t RCD compliant but had registered the boat in Britain at the time of purchase when back in Canada. Ian (the author) gives a nice summary of the RCD as it applies to his (and your) circumstances. In his case, he concluded he would apply for Category D RCD classification (the equivalent of lake sailing vessel) because it was the only application he could do himself, without ''experts'' that are RCD-authorized and very costly. (This is an illustration of the EU at its finest...and most typical, I''m afraid).
So...taking a boat there to sell will present you with an RCD compliance issue.
Insofar as boat ownership is concerned, if you are ''established'' outside the EU (as determined by HM Customs) and then purchased, registered, *paid tax on the purchase* and subsequently used the boat for 6+ months - and all owners have been outside the EU for 12+ months - then you might be eligible for permanent Transfer of Residence Relief (TOR) issued by HM Customs, should you subsequently enter the EU with the boat. For an explanation of this, you might want to download the C104 Application at:
http://www.hmce.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel= pageLibrary_Forms&propertyType=document&id=HMCE_CL _000306
and also read the booklet on this subject which you can download at:
http://www.hmce.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel= pageHome_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_000289&propertyTyp e=document
Note in particular pgs. 11 and 12, which address Temporary Importantion.
This is a tedious topic to discuss. I wrote up an article on this VAT topic that you can find at http://www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/Whoosh%20Main%20Page.htm - select the Cruising in Europe choice and then the VAT article.
It is very, very easy when looking at boat prices in Europe - and most especially Britain, which sells boats at the most inflated of prices - to believe that purchasing a boat in the U.S. makes for a convincing economic argument. But if you want to take the boat back into the EU - and sell it - the tax collectors and Brussels bureaucrafts have made it very difficult for you.