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Is Your Boat Abroad?
John MacMullen and Ann Musgrave
141 Posts
25th April 2021 - 12:08 pm

You may know that, as a result of the Brexit process, there is the strong possibility of HMRC looking for payment of VAT (again) on UK registered vessels based abroad returning to the UK. Until recently there was an exemption until the end of 2021. I understand now that there may be a 6 month extension until mid 2022. With C19 travel restrictions this may well pose a problem to many.

If you should fall foul of this would you like to be made to pay 20% VAT on the HMRC assessed value of your boat on its return?

I would strongly urge all members (whether your boat is abroad or not) to sign the petition below which may result in the possibility of this most iniquitous charge being removed.

Regards and Good Sailing


John Tetlow
182 Posts
25th April 2021 - 3:38 pm


Peter Mulville
182 Posts
25th April 2021 - 6:24 pm

Signed. Now writing to my MP.

Dear Mr. Baker

With the travel freedom of membership of the EU, together with low cost flights, a number of people, including some of my Members, have chosen to base their yachts abroad. Others are on extended cruises.

With COVID and the changes to travel some have decided to return their yachts to a UK base. Others will return from a long cruise.

I understand that here is a strong possibility that HMRC will charge VAT, again, on a returning boat after, perhaps, mid 2022. The date is not confirmed. With current COVID rules it is not possible to get to a boat in say the south of France and sail her back. It might be possible next year - but sailing small boats across the Bay of Biscay does require a weather window.

I am not understanding this. A VAT paid boat leaves the UK, comes back and VAT is wanted again. This is not right. If it is 'right' why do not HMRC, when travel opens again, sit by the Eurotunnel exit in Folkestone and require VAT on every UK car returning from Europe? That would be lucrative - and the same principle applied.  

Please note that I am not talking mega yachts here. We are talking about, for my Membership, yachts that go for less than the price of a low mileage second hand Golf. 


Yours sincerely


Peter Mulville  

Hon Secretary

Twister Class Association

Allan Beswick
38 Posts
26th April 2021 - 10:03 pm

Way to go Peter


Tim Blacklock
1 Posts
27th April 2021 - 10:31 am

Good morning all.

For your information, we have just had Aethra transported back to UK from France on the back of a lorry. 

In order to avoid paying VAT on reimport of goods on a vessel built prior to I think 1985, we had to prove that she was on the UK on the 31st December 1992. As it happened we were able to show a work record from a yard in the UK on 23 Dec 1992, paid on 22 Jan 1993 and declare that she didn't leave UK in the interim. Which satisfied HMRC.

Also, the new rules on import costs meant that VAT was not paid on any transport and transport related costs (something the "arranger" wasn't aware of and I had to point them in the right direction on gov website to read and understand, which saved hundreds).


Petition signed.


John Tetlow
182 Posts
27th April 2021 - 11:22 am

Good morning Tim and welcome to the forum.

I know "Aethra" and your parents well.

I am considering bringing "Tammie Norie" back by road (she is in the same yard as was "Aethra").

Did you go out to France to prepare "Aethra" and supervise the loading? If so, how were you able to get permission to travel out there?

Also, how did you get her craned onto the lorry, as the yard (Comptoir Nautique) does not have a crane of its own?

Simon Carter
21 Posts
27th April 2021 - 8:08 pm


Peter Mulville
182 Posts
15th December 2021 - 7:17 am

As at 9th December 2021:

The three year condition for Returned Goods Relief for recreational boats is to be waived by the UK Government.

This means that VAT will not be recharged on boats that return to the UK. It only applies to boats that have been based in the UK under their current ownership, and to vessels which are the personal property of a UK resident and are being returned to the UK for personal use.

Boats that have been bought and kept in the EU and have never been in the UK under current ownership will still face paying VAT on entry to the UK.

John Tetlow
182 Posts
15th December 2021 - 7:23 pm

Applying depreciation at 15% during the 25 years I have owned my Twister, her book value for VAT calculation would be £258 if I brought her back to the UK in 2022.

VAT at 20% would mean I had to pay £51.60. I might just be able to scrape that together!

nb Before anyone gets any ideas, this does not mean I would consider an offer of £258 for her!


20211215-depreciation_tammie_norie_since_purchase_in_1997.jpegImage Enlarger

Stephen Moorey
226 Posts
15th December 2021 - 8:37 pm


Well congratulations are surely in order then.  25 years of devoted Twister ownership.



John Tetlow
182 Posts
15th December 2021 - 9:39 pm

smile  It seems to have flown by!

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