European Yacht Broker Association                                          



This page contains general information only. Any queries should be made to HMRC's National Advice Line – 0845 010 9000


Boats being used in the EU should have VAT-paid status unless they are just visiting (see right). The original VAT invoice, from when the boat was either first bought in the EU or when it was imported from outside the EU, is usually sufficient evidence. A boat that is VAT-paid but is sold outside the EU loses its VAT-paid status and therefore VAT must be paid if the boat is brought back into the EU.


The above requirement applies to all boats built or brought into the EU since 1 January 1985, or on the joining dates of States that have become EU Members since then. Boats already in EU Member States and territories on 1 January 1985 pre-date the requirement.


The evidence of VAT-paid status will generally be an invoice, showing the VAT element and a VAT number, or similar document, such as a completion statement. Boats sold between companies should show the VAT element on the invoice.


Some EU states (notably Holland) ask for the original invoice, but otherwise a certified copy kept on board should be adequate. Keep the original and a couple of certified copies safely elsewhere. It is vital to pass this information on when the boat is sold, as it may be requested by Customs officers in either the UK or elsewhere in the EU.


In the case of home-builds and fit-outs, copies of all the major invoices should be kept and passed to subsequent owners to show VAT-paid status. Customs Notice 8, para 6.3 sets out further details.


Please note that HMRC do not have copies of individual VAT invoices from boat builders, dealers or other boat sales transactions.


Any queries should be referred to HMRCs National Advice Line – 0845 010 9000. If they seem unsure, ask for the matter to be referred to the HMRC Unit of Expertise on Yachts. Request any advice in writing, keep it with the boat's documentation, and pass it on to any subsequent owners.














EYBA© 2003