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Old 07 April 2009, 05:17   #1
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Vat

I am taking my RIB to Spain but have no evidence of VAT being paid. Is this a problem?
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Old 07 April 2009, 06:01   #2
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It's possible but extremely unlikely that the Spanish authorities will take any interest in a boat of this value.

You don't say whether you bought it new or used; from a private seller or trade seller. I'm guessing it was used and that it was purchased from a private seller, otherwise you would have a sale invoice or similar with VAT shown (if the seller was VAT registered). In that case, the sale to you was not taxable. On proper application of EU law, you have no need to carry or show that VAT was paid on any previous sale because liability to account for VAT lies, in general, with the seller, not the purchaser. You would have a liability to pay VAT if the boat was imported by you into the UK from outside the EU, which I assume was not the case.

[edit]
p.s.
If you have evidence that the last change of ownership (your purchase) was a transaction between two UK entities, that should (circumstantially) help satisfy the Spanish authorities that any VAT question is a matter for HMRC.[/edit]
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Old 07 April 2009, 06:11   #3
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You could also have a problem bringing it back to UK.
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Old 07 April 2009, 06:17   #4
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Originally Posted by jwalker View Post
You could also have a problem bringing it back to UK.
Why? If you take a personal chattel abroad and then return with it, why would you have a problem on re-entry? A boat is (in law) no different to any other goods.

The vague comment "you could have a problem" is unhelpful at best.
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Old 07 April 2009, 09:14   #5
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VAT on boats moving within the EU

The previous comments are partially correct - it is extremely unlikely that there would be any interest in a vessel of this size and value - however in order to prove that it is VAT paid can be extremely problematic in cases where the vessel has been through the hands of a number of privare owners. I would say that unless the authorities suspect that it has been imported from outside of the EU they would normally accept that it is a personal possession but this may need to be backed up with evidence of residence within the EU.

A vessel (of any size) retains it's VAT paid status for three years after leaving the EU but this time limit is removed if the original exporter then returns the vessel back into the EU - "returned goods relief" to be precise.

As for coming back into the UK I cannot see that this will be an issue as goods are on free movement within the EU and there are no borders. Again the only issue would be if there was a suspicion that the vessel had come into the EU from overseas.

I work in this area and deal with the VAT aspect of the marine industry and charters on a daily basis.
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Old 07 April 2009, 10:15   #6
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Originally Posted by Chief Wiggam View Post
The previous comments are partially correct -
So what part of what I posted is not correct?

The OP's profile shows him to be located in the UK. The only qualification I needed to add (and did) to my first post was that he had not imported the boat himself from outside the EU.

I wasn't trying to give an exhaustive analysis of VAT law - simply the reassurance that the simple fact that a person takes his own goods, purchased in the UK, to another country and then brings them back, does not place on him an obligations to carry or show proof of "VAT paid" status.

That, as you will no doubt acknowledge, is a bogus/mythical status that exists almost solely because it it is the interests of VAT authorities and self-professed marine VAT specialists to foster a sense of 'mystique' about VAT law.

Of course the VAT implications in some sets of circumstances can be more complicated, but in this case it's almot overwhelmingly likely that they're not.
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Old 07 April 2009, 13:52   #7
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Originally Posted by observer View Post
why? If you take a personal chattel abroad and then return with it, why would you have a problem on re-entry? A boat is (in law) no different to any other goods.

The vague comment "you could have a problem" is unhelpful at best.
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Old 07 April 2009, 13:57   #8
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Nick, I am assuming you have it on the SSR and a receipt saying you bought it in the UK from xxxx. If so your biggest problem is likely to be taking flares on the ferry, oh and ideally have any portable fuel tanks empty. They are a bit touchy about these.

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Old 07 April 2009, 15:05   #9
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That chap's profile says he owns a Wahoo, which if I recall costs about £120k+vat, so not a cheap boat as per first comment.
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Old 09 April 2009, 05:09   #10
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Originally Posted by Observer View Post
So what part of what I posted is not correct?

The OP's profile shows him to be located in the UK. The only qualification I needed to add (and did) to my first post was that he had not imported the boat himself from outside the EU.

I wasn't trying to give an exhaustive analysis of VAT law - simply the reassurance that the simple fact that a person takes his own goods, purchased in the UK, to another country and then brings them back, does not place on him an obligations to carry or show proof of "VAT paid" status.

That, as you will no doubt acknowledge, is a bogus/mythical status that exists almost solely because it it is the interests of VAT authorities and self-professed marine VAT specialists to foster a sense of 'mystique' about VAT law.

Of course the VAT implications in some sets of circumstances can be more complicated, but in this case it's almot overwhelmingly likely that they're not.
Calm down Dear - it's only a forum for like minded people.
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Old 09 April 2009, 05:19   #11
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observer is right and well done, but you know what twats they can be at the ports on both side of the water
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Old 10 April 2009, 03:05   #12
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If it is problems in Spain you are worried about and you go where I do, which is the Bay of Rosas on the North Mediterranean Coast, I think it is extremely unlikely that you will have any problems with any officialdom there at all.

It has been a long time since I have been asked by any official to present any form of documentation and I have kept various boats there on and off over the last 20yrs. Tempting fate saying this I suppose and no doubt next time Iím out there will be loads of them giving me a hard time asking for this and that.

The Rib I have down there at the moment was trucked down a couple of years ago and I did give the haulage contractor a copy of the vat invoice just in case but they said they didnít need it. I also sent down on the same vehicle half a dozen packing cases with no paperwork at all apart from a contents list.

I had planed to truck my current boat from Spain to Scotland but have put this on hold for a bit. I have not anticipated any problems with UK customs when coming back into the UK.

There are however, stories of people falling fowl of officials in the south of Spain but I am not aware of these difficulties relating to VAT documentation. I think there are one or two other members who occasionally come on this forum who live and or work in Spain and they may be able to advice of any potential pitfalls in their area. There should be some threads on the subject if you search around for them.

Having said this I do always keep onboard laminated copies of documentation such as SSR, Radio Licences, Insurance Certificates and Certificates of Incompetence etc but no vat invoice of purchase. Incidentally this year my broker sent insurance certificate through in English, Spanish, French and Italian. I didnít ask them but they just did it.

Hope this helps a bit.
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