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New 1% Tax in Venezuela - All Foreign Yachts Being Checked

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 25, 2009 10:01 AM

Published: 2009-09-25 10:01:21
Countries: Venezuela

An update to the previous report posted here.

It now emerges that although foreign boats belonging to foreign citizens cruising in Venezuela do not have to pay this new tax, they are however having to under-go stringent checks in order to verify they are exempt from paying.

How the New Tax is being applied

• Foreign boats belonging to foreign citizens (or boats in transit) WILL NOT PAY THE NEW 1% TAX and may stay in Venezuela for up to 18 months (renewing the Cruising Permit every six months as always).

• The 1% Tax is going to be applied only to foreign boats which belong to Venezuelan citizens and it will be calculated on the basis of how much the boat is worth according to the boat´s insurance policy.

Carlos Vázquez of Bahia Redonda Marina, Puerto La Cruz (PLC), explains why all foreign yachts are being checked.

“The Venezuelan Tax Office and Customs or "Seniat" a few weeks ago started an inspection in all the marinas and boat yards in Venezuela. The inspections were initially focused on foreign flag boats belonging to Venezuelans, as a way of obliging these owners to import and nationalize the boats and pay the import taxes.

During these inspections Seniat detected other irregular issues with some foreign flag boats belonging to foreign visitors that had overstayed the permitted time for the boat to be in Venezuela. There were other irregularities including misinterpretations of the law by local authorities, and even a stolen boat with false papers was detected.

Seniat decided that the best way to clear up this situation was to take note of all foreign flag boats and at the beginning of this week identified them with a Seniat sticker obliging the owners to go to the Seniat office and present the following documents in their original form:

· Registration Certificate of the boat
· Local Cruising or Stay Permit (in force)
· Last Arrival notification issued by Seniat
· Passports

Once these papers have been checked by Seniat and everything is in order, a notification is immediately issued which indicates that the Seniat sticker can be removed and the boat is legal.

Foreign flag boats belonging to Venezuelans have to follow a different criteria.

Yesterday, several foreign cruisers went by themselves to the Seniat offices and presented their papers, and according to their comments, the interview was very professional and they felt well attended. Senait immediately issued them with a notification that all was in order and the stickers were removed from their boats, and the situation returned to normal.

The marina has organized return transport for clients to visit the Seniat offices next Monday”.

These details were also confirmed by cruisers on the SSCA Discussion Board.

Ben Findlay, also in PLC, reported to noonsite on 23 September;
“The Venezuela authorities have banned all foreign yachts currently here from leaving. EVERY foreign yacht/boat in PLC has been approached and stickered, photos of the vessel have been taken and when I said I want to leave next week I have to travel 1/2 hour to the port captains office and plead my case with all my papers. I will be doing this tomorrow. I personally would NOT recommend coming to Venezuela. Nor will we be returning by boat with this current unstable government. I have been coming here since 2004. You never know what is going to happen next.

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