UK based cruising community benefits from VAT changes

The Cruising Association has announced that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has followed through its proposed positive change to the application of Returned Goods Relief (RGR) for recreational craft resulting in many boat owners no longer becoming liable to pay VAT on the return of their boats to the UK.

The changes have considerable benefits for the UK based cruising community, says the association.

Where a boat currently abroad is eligible to obtain relief from VAT through RGR, there will be no requirement to return the boat to the UK by 30 June 2022 in order to obtain this. As long as an owner can demonstrate that the boat has been located in the UK at some point in their ownership, RGR for boats will not be time limited.

Owners of UK-based boats which are VAT paid will be able to go on extended cruises without the worry that VAT may become payable when they return the boat to the UK at the end of the cruise.

With the proposed changes now UK law, the cruising community will be able to enjoy cruising outside the UK for extended periods with the assurance they will not incur additional UK VAT charges. That, however, is subject to the following conditions:
– the person importing the boat into the UK is the person who originally exported it
– the boat will be used in the UK for non-commercial purposes
– the boat is substantially unmodified during its absence.

For absences from the UK of more than three years an application needs to be made to HMRC for a waiver, but HMRC has indicated that waivers will be routine, provided that the conditions are satisfied. There is no need to show exceptional circumstances to justify why the return did not occur within three years.

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