Greek Customs acknowledges rights of UK yachts to retain EU VAT status

Following a complaint to the European Union (EU) by the Cruising Association (CA) on the VAT Status of UK yachts in Greece after returning from outside EU waters, the latest announcement received from the Greek Customs authority acknowledges the rights of UK yachts to return to Greek waters and retain their EU VAT Status.

Greek Customs announced on 3rd June 2021 that, following a request to the EU Commission for clarity on this matter, they have followed EU advice and announced the acceptance of UK yachts returning from non-EU Countries to regain their Union Goods Status, provided they return within three years under the same ownership, with no changes to the vessel.

There is one area of clarity still needed, in that they ask for proof of the “yachts being in EU waters on the 31st Dec 2021”. This, the CA says, needs to be extended to anywhere in the world, excepting those in UK Waters on that date who now are UK VAT status. 

Christopher Robb, speaking on behalf of the CA, says there is now little doubt that “the principle of the Union Customs Code (Art 203 UCC) has been accepted, and that we will get the clarity needed which is so important for yachts coming from Turkey and other non-EU countries.”

Rules in brief:

a)    All UK yachts in Greece or the EU 27 will be treated as full Union Goods status and will therefore not require a Transit Log to be issued of any sort whilst they remain in Greek Waters, the yachts being “in Free Circulation”.

b)   On return to Greek Waters inside three years, UK yachts will need to apply for “Customs Procedures” (Returned Goods Relief) and provide proof of VAT payment in the EU 28 and proof of their “Presences in EU Waters on 31st Dec 2021”.

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