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Tax free deliveries of consumable goods on superyachts


With increasing pressure on governments to raise revenue, ever-changing rules, and differences in tax regulations for (especially) alcohol in relation to other products, Riviera Yacht Support clarifies some fundamental rules regarding the delivery of tax free goods to yachts in the EU.

To purchase goods, including alcohol and provisions, tax free, the local Customs Office needs to be satisfied that the goods are to be exported permanently, and consumed outside the EU (not in port or on a static charter, for example).

For a supplier not to have to pay the VAT/TVA bill they need to keep and show duly approved Customs documents, and so might you. This proof involves fees as well as the presentation – in advance – of the vessel’s commercial registration, applicable charter agreement, and crew list. The goods cannot be legally consumed in port or used for ongoing boat-stock.

This is the only legal way of effecting a tax free delivery directly to a yacht in the EU. Any supplier who may offer ‘loopholes’ (for example, invoicing to, or from, a company outside the country of delivery) is taking the risk of prosecution. Not just to themselves, but also on your behalf.

More and more vessels are being boarded this year. The penalties can be most extreme, and are not limited to fines, but may include prosecution, and can certainly delay the vessel. They do not take their boots off when boarding, and might bring dogs. Not much fun the day before a charter begins.

Commercial registration does not equal the right not to pay VAT on goods consumed within the EU (in port, at anchor or on static charter) but only for exported items (fuel, for example, as well as equipment for the yacht itself). You pay the tax on a drink at the bar in the airport. Only with your boarding card can you buy a bottle tax free to take away. It is the same law.

Riviera Yacht Support
+33 (0)4 93 34 06 43
[email protected]

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