Re: Covid, Spanish VAT and the18 month temporary importation rule



For what it is worth, I found the strictest countries to be Spain and Greece and the most liberal, Malta. Of course, this was my experience several years ago, and as you know the customs officer that you approach varies, some strict, some not. Some Ships Agents get away with everything, some get away with nothing. Some owners are shown leniency from an official, while the same official is strict with another vessel's owner. 

Another side note: I really hated to meet with a customs official who was just "lectured to" by an English speaking person, telling him how to do his job. That official assumed the worst with me, simply because I spoke English.

I would try another Ship's Agent, hopefully 3rd-party recommended. I heard that these disputes can wind up in a local court with a judge making the final decision. Even though this can be expensive hiring a lawyer, in the end, this could be good for you, unless the judge had a not-so-good experience with someone he associates with you (like my example above).

I hope this helps, at least somewhat.


CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
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On Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 8:25 AM Joerg Esdorn via <> wrote:

My boat - US flagged - is in Spain on the hard and I am getting close to the maximum 18 months temporary importation period for VAT purposes.  Keeping the boat in Europe past the 18 months would mean that I owe VAT on the value of the boat.  Yet I cannot currently travel to the boat from the US and have had to cancel my entire season, including a sail to the Faroe Islands to get out of the EU customs zone and reset my 18 months.  The EU indicated in March that local customs offices should show flexibility in situations like mine.  So I engaged a customs agent is Spain to get me an extension of the 18 months to next summer.  They just got back to me that they could not help me.  Has anyone had success with Spanish customs (or French customs) on this issue?  I’m thinking of sailing the boat to France if the French are more helpful.  Many thanks for any help you can provide!

joerg Esdorn
A55 Kincsem, Vigo Spain

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