European Registration for US Citizens

HClews

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We (American citizens) are considering buying a Dutch Replica Barge - a 55-ft Piper Nivernais - which is currently lying in southern France, but which is owned by a Brit and registered (with an SSR #) in the UK.

We plan to keep the boat in France - with possible trips to Belgium and The Netherlands over the next 3-5 years.

The question is, what options do we have for registering this boat? From what I can gather, we cannot continue the present UK registration without (at least partial) ownership by a UK citizen. French registration appears to have the same limitations. So it appears our only option is US Registration - or Documentation?

I've heard it's possible to register a boat through the American Embassy or Consulate, but cannot find any info on this. Also, would US registration jeopardize our VAT status (VAT was paid in the UK) for a future EU buyer? And, is there any time limit that a US flagged vessel can remain in France?

I'd appreciate your comments.
Thanks,
Henry Clews
www.snodoglog.com
 

rtchina

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A possible solution would be to own the yacht via a UK company. It could be a none trading company in which case the annual costs are very low, in fact you could probably file on line. I don't know if this is possible with the SSR though. This is probably why so many yachts fly the Red Ensign, even when the owner is from more distant shores. You could also explore Malta as it is in the EU.
 

Grehan

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Registering in Belgium is much easier than France - quite a few French as well as 'English abroad' inland craft are so registered. Much less onerous conditions. Might suit your situation if you don't fancy a similar SSR route, SSR also being essentially self-policing, self-certifying.
US flagging will give you more potential problems - see our page on VAT, boats and the EU.
The D.B.A is an excellent organisation for barge sized boat owners - lots of expert advice available including from non-EU owners on exactly this kind of topic.

BTW - where in Southern France?
 

rtchina

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Though it is true that registration is nothing to do with VAT, it can bring a higher level of interest from customs since the question is, how long has the boat been in the EU, whereas registration in an EU country does indicate that the yacht actually has a "right" to be there. Better to avoid questions than to prevoke them.
 

phantomlady

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I know people of European nationality who have bought British flagged vessels and re-registered them on the SSR using the English address of a friend. I'm not sure of the legality of this and I am not recommending anyone do it - I am just stating that I know a few people who have done it.
 

HClews

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Thank you so much for your help & suggestions.

I gather, as long as the boat remains in the EU, her VAT-paid status is not jeopardized.

I think we'll try to find a way to continue with a UK SSR registration using a UK address provided by one of our partners. Like most things, the simplest alternative is often the best.

Thanks again,
Henry
www.snodoglog.com
 

duncan99210

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Just a quick point about VAT - once paid on an item in anywhere in the EU, that's it. You can take the object in and out of the EU at your pleasure, it will always be VAT paid. Just remember to preserve the proof of VAT payment (usually the original bill of sale) so that it can be produced when an offical wishes to check up on the VAT status of the object.
 

Tranona

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Just a quick point about VAT - once paid on an item in anywhere in the EU, that's it. You can take the object in and out of the EU at your pleasure, it will always be VAT paid. Just remember to preserve the proof of VAT payment (usually the original bill of sale) so that it can be produced when an offical wishes to check up on the VAT status of the object.

But if it is sold outside the EU then VAT may be payable if it is re-imported by a person different from the one who took it out.
 
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