Global Yacht Transport


Assistance for repatriating UK yacht owners to avoid post-Brexit tax penalties

Assistance for repatriating UK yacht owners to avoid post-Brexit tax penalties

We are seeing a surge in enquiries from yacht owners seeking advice and assistance about bringing boats back to the UK in time to avoid tax levies following the country’s departure from the EU. Peters & May is well-placed to assist with the complex customs paperwork and has introduced more frequent sailings between some of the more popular Mediterranean and Northern European routes due to the extra demand.

Since 1st January, all boats moved between the EU and UK now require customs declarations at the border and face paying import VAT, although for many, a ten-month window still exists in which to get boats home without facing this charge. The rules state that UK VAT paid yachts must return to the UK within three years of having left the UK or EU and not have changed ownership in the meanwhile to qualify for Returned Goods Relief on VAT. There is a final deadline in place of 31st December 2021 for yachts to return if they departed more than 3 years ago.

As the December deadline approaches, current travel restrictions mean that arranging to bring boats back under their own steam is more difficult. We are currently running regular monthly sailings between locations across the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, as well as Northern Europe and the Baltic. With a vast amount of experience in handling customs and duties declarations, we can make the process as stress-free as possible for yacht owners.

Richard Howatt, Peters & May Marine Sales Manager, comments: “With late changes having been made to HMRC’s guidance on how VAT on boats in the EU would be imposed, this has been a very confusing time for boat owners. We have been contacted for advice by many brokers, dealers and owners all looking for clarification about the regulations. Having operated in this field for decades, we’re particularly well placed to help; both to transport boats home, despite current travel restrictions, and to handle all the complexities of customs paperwork for clients.”

Brexit changes have also brought added difficulties for those hoping to enjoy long cruises in Europe in the future. UK residents are now restricted to spending a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days within the Schengen area, meaning it is no longer possible to plan leisurely extended trips sailing in EU waters. As a result, vessel transportation has become an increasingly attractive alternative, enabling yacht owners to maximise cruising time by spending the full 90 days exploring their chosen location.

Jesper Jensen, Peters & May Sales Manager for Germany and Scandinavia, adds: “We’ve been experiencing increasing demand for shipments from the Eastern Mediterranean in particular, to the UK and Northern Europe, including the Baltic Ports. Responding to this we’re running regular shipments to and from the Mediterranean, calling at Southampton, Northern Europe and the Baltic throughout the season.”

The Greek ports of Preveza and Corfu have been added as regular calls to our schedules for 2021, as this area of the Eastern Mediterranean is experiencing particularly high demand. Most southbound sailings will now also load in La Rochelle, France. To meet growing interest in transportation to the Baltic, we will also make additional calls at Northern European ports including Kiel, Rostock, Kristiansand, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

As a global transport solutions provider, we also run monthly sailings to the US and Caribbean, as well as regular liner sailings worldwide.

For more information about Peters & May sailing schedule see:

For information regulations affecting boats returning to the UK following Brexit visit:

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