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VAT on yachts: a complex situation

Yachts are perhaps the ultimate luxury asset and, given their price tag, they tend to attract a lot of attention from tax and customs authorities. It is not unknown for EU customs officers to board a yacht to demand evidence that VAT has been paid on it.

If you are fortunate enough to live in that space, it’s vital you hold the necessary evidence that confirms VAT has been paid on your yacht.

Our head of VAT and Customs Michael Ashdown says it’s a complex situation and one that has been compounded by the end of the Brexit transition period.

Some yachts owners are facing demands from HMRC for VAT when they bring their yacht to the UK even though VAT may already have been paid previously somewhere in the EU.

HMRC has been in discussions with a number of yachting bodies and has agreed a relaxation in the rules up to 30 June 2022 that may assist some yacht owners in these situations.

The position will vary depending on the unique circumstance of the yacht and its owners and where the yacht was located on 31 December 2020.

Harwood Hutton has experience of working with yacht owners and can help them deal with a VAT queries in relation to yachts, including Benefit in Kind and Inheritance Tax issues.

We also work with a number of other yachting professional who may be able to assist with the flagging of a yacht or the contract to purchase/sell a yacht.

Please get in touch if you require assistance in this area.

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