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post #1 of 10 Old 08-02-2010 Thread Starter
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Relevance of VAT when selling a boat in EU

Hi Togehter!

I will have the possibility to import my yacht into the EU tax free (as I will move there after a long sailing trip from outside the EU. I live outside now). This is clarified. The base is that all goods which belong to your household when moving are tax free, including a yacht.
I think about selling the boat there after a certain period of time for a price X, "tax included" (as there is no more tax to be paid).

Question 1:
Does somebody know what is common in the boat market in Europe?
Do most of the boat buyers in the EU pay VAT for their boats (and will like my offer) or do most of them find a way to get around the tax (and will not like my offer)?

Question 2:
The idea behind is that if I manage to buy the boat tax free and sail e.g. round the world with it, I can compensate about 20% loss in value by doing this tax free import afterwards. Would that work due to my special situation that I change the country of living (now vs. after the trip)?

Ulf
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-02-2010
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Ulf,

I'm in the same boat - when I return to the EU for residence with my boat it will not be subject to VAT. There are big differences in the VAT status depending upon the region your boat will be in.

For location in the Med or close the "edge" of the EU many boats are not VAT paid and leave the EU at least every 18 months in order to reset their VAT-clocks.


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post #3 of 10 Old 08-02-2010
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And that t is a situation that is tighter and it will be even more in the future.

A boat without VAT will de very difficult to sell in Europe because the chances are that the future owner, sooner or later, will have to pay the VAT. Of course you can always sell it cheaper taking into account the VAT.

That is not the only problem; you have to see if your boat is EC certified, otherwise it will have to be certified.

One possibilities is to stop at Azores, declare a very unrealistic small value to the boat and pay VAT there (they don't know much about boat prices). The VAT in Azores is different from the rest of Portugal and one of the lowest in Europe.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-02-2010
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The rules, at least officially, is that an EU resident purchasing a boat that is in the EU would immediately have to pay VAT.

I've read that Malta offers a 7% VAT option that is accepted elsewhere in the EU, but haven't followed up on the matter.

Regardless, if you declare the boat as part of your personal possessions when returning to the EU as an ex-Pat and you've had that boat for more than a year (it could be 6 months, I'm not certain of the timeframe) then the boat is considered VAT paid for tax purposes and you will have an easier time selling it.


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post #5 of 10 Old 08-02-2010
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CE Certification

As Paulo alludes to above, it will have to be CE certified in order to be sold legally, unless it is built earlier than June 1998. That includes all systems, including (but not limited to) engine, batteries, though-hulls and so on and so forth. Furthermore a manual MUST exist. A CE certification is a heck of a lot of work, just so You're aware.
There are some exemptions for race boats etc, but I doubt you can get an exemption for your boat.
Paying VAT in Malta sounds like the way to go for that part, but the CE part could well be the more expensive.
Personally I think CE certification sucks, as it also prevents some from building one-offs.
Hope this helps, even though it wasn't the most positive post

Watch great footage about the story of one manís slow odyssey around the UK:
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-02-2010
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VAT in Malta is 18% in Azores is 15%.

Zanshin, the VAT that you refer is only for leasings.

EU Yacht Registration at 5.4% VAT in Malta || LEGAL MALTA

Last edited by PCP; 08-02-2010 at 09:39 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-02-2010 Thread Starter
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Is it real?

All together this sounds great but is it correct?
1. I would buy a new boat (in France with CE Cert.) without VAT because I start a circumnavigation and do not stain in the EU.
2. I move into the EU with my boat as personal possession (at the right point of time)
3. The boat gets the "tax paid"-status
4. I sell e.g. in France or Germany (at the right point of time) with a value 18-20% higher compared with a boat without "tax paid" status.

Is this real??
So given that there is a market for this (finally used) boat and I do not have a loss in value of more than 20% I can do my voyage with any such boat "free of charge"?
So why not buy a real expensive one and enjoy the time?

Ulf
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post #8 of 10 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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post #9 of 10 Old 08-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Than you Zanshin for your competent answer.
I am currently living in Switzerland and think this is a great VAT strategy.
The question is certainly what is the typical loss in value of a brand new boat over the first 2-3 years...
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Relevance of VAT when selling a boat in EU

Hi Zanshin!
Do you have any news regarding this VAT issue?
I am going to sign a contract soon to buy a new boat. It would be great to hear from somebody who has in fact done this and gained the VAT. This is just nice to know in advance, just for peace of mind.
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