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Old 05-01-2002
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Boats and Taxes

Just wondering if anyone has info on Vat taxes. I''m considering buying an ETAP in Belgium and sailing it to the Caribbean. I''m a U.S. citizen but planning on living aboard the boat and sailing the Caribbean.

Am I responsible to pay this Vat tax (and what is it?) and do I also have to pay taxes in the U.S. - or how does that work? (do I pay where ever I register the boat? And can I register the boat anywhere?).

Any info would be helpful since I am a first-time boat-buyer.

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Old 05-01-2002
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Boats and Taxes

The Value Added Tax (in French, TVA: Taxe a la Valeur Ajoute) is a European tax on luxury goods. Yachts, as expensive toys, are the quintessential luxury goods, and probably have quite a hefty percentage tax. A commercial fishing boat the same size is not a luxury, and might have much less tax on it. (The taxes vary from country to coountry.) The good news: since you are exporting the goods (your boat) you can probably be exempted from the tax. The bad news: you may have to pay the tax up front and get reimbursed after you clear European customs for the U.S. Leaving for the transatlantic trip from the country you buy the boat in would probably be a smart idea if you don''t want the paperwork (and therefore your reimbursement) to get lost. You need more detailed information, which you can probably get from Etap in Belgium or from their dealer here. (They want to sell you the boat, no?) You can also contact the Belgian Embassy or Consulate - they probably have a VAT person whose sole job it is to cut checks for companies that are importing goods from Belgium like linens, chocolates, and such, after he verifies the paperwork. They should be quite helpful as well. Bon vent!
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Old 05-03-2002
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Boats and Taxes

VAT is simply sales tax. In the UK it costs an astounding 17.5% (not sure about Belgium), but the good news is you are exempt provided you export the purchase within a specific timeframe.

The bad news is you will likely need to pay import duty if you plan on eventually registering/documenting the boat in the US.

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