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Heading to the Mediterranean this Summer?

By Val Ellis — last modified Jun 05, 2015 01:18 PM
A timely reminder for non-EU yachts visiting the Mediterranean and other European countries. Be extra-diligent with your paperwork and keep an official record of every country you check into and out of in order to avoid VAT being charged on your yacht and, maybe, a heavy fine.

Published: 2013-05-20 23:00:00
Topics: Cruising Information , European Union
Countries: Belgium , Bosnia , Canary Islands , Channel Islands , Croatia , Cyprus , Denmark , Estonia , Finland , France , Germany , Gibraltar , Greece , Ireland , Italy , Latvia , Lithuania , Malta , Netherlands , Poland , Portugal , Romania , Slovenia , Spain , Sweden , United Kingdom

Heading to the Mediterranean this Summer?

European Union Flag

Many yachts exploring Europe and the Mediterranean, wish to make the best of their time, having made a long ocean crossing, and plan to stay for at least two summer seasons.

It is important to note that non-EU registered yachts (with a non-EU crew) may only stay in the European Union territory for a continuous period of 18 months before being liable to pay VAT on the value of the boat. This period can be extended by 6 months if the boat is recorded by Customs as being out of commission for a period of time.

This 18 month ‘clock’ can be re-set by visiting a non-EU country (e.g. Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Norway) for a short period. It is essential to ensure that the exit from the EU country and the stay outside it are properly recorded. Gibraltar, although outside the EU VAT area, does not count for this purpose. It is important to also note that even though the UK Channel Islands are NOT part of the EU, not all Customs officers understand this and using a stay there to re-set the VAT clock may cause difficulties.

Another point to note, is that Croatia is due to join the EU on the 1st July 2013 and, therefore, can no longer be used as an ‘outside the EU’ country as was previously the case.

The fact that several European countries are experiencing severe financial difficulties may well encourage some Customs offices to be over enthusiastic about collecting VAT which they believe to be due and yachts can appear to be an easy target. If planning to leave the yacht for a significant period of time, it is advisable to research which boatyard or marina and which country is best. Also, visit the local Customs office and ensure that all parties are happy with the paperwork.

See Noonsite EU VAT page for more details.

Remember too, that most of Europe is part of the Schengen Area Agreement which limits the time non-EU citizens can remain there to 90 days in a 6 month period.

See Noonsite's European Union page for more information.

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