UK owners required to carry VAT documentation ‘at all times’ post Brexit

Nordhavn 55 Expert Witness representation to determine qualifying ship fpr VAT purposes

In a recent notice published by HMRC – Notice 8: sailing your pleasure craft to and from the UK boat owners are being told to carry ‘documentary evidence supporting VAT status . . . at all times’. This is because, post-Brexit, owners ‘may be asked by customs officials to provide evidence of [a] vessel’s UK VAT status’.

The evidence suggested by HMRC includes an original invoice or receipt, to show that VAT was paid on purchase. If an owner built the boat themselves, they’ll need to have invoices for materials used in the construction to hand.

But, as one boat owner expressed to MIN: “Who has that? I have no idea where I’d find that.”

HMRC is keen to point out that a registration document on its own does not prove the UK VAT status of the vessel, as there is no link in the UK between the registry of the vessel and the payment of VAT.

The HMRC notice continues with advice for buying boats post-Brexit.

‘When buying a used pleasure craft from any VAT registered business in the UK, you should make sure that the invoice shows separately any VAT that the business has charged to you on the supply of the pleasure craft,’ says HMRC. ‘If you are buying from a business that does not charge VAT on the transaction or from a private individual in the UK and the seller states that UK VAT has previously been paid on the vessel, you should obtain evidence from the seller that VAT has previously been accounted for.’

The notice also covers customs requirements for leisure owners who sail their crafts to or from the UK.

It answers questions about flying the ‘Q’ flag, notifying National Yachtline and about which goods need to be declared including prohibited and restricted ‘foodstuffs’.

More information can be found in the notice or by contacting HMRC by email.

Acknowledgement to Marine Industry News

For more information contact European Marine Services Ltd. 

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