VAT on chandlery purchases and labor for non-EU boats


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Hasbun
Hasbun
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We were unexpectedly boarded today at dock in La Rochelle, France, where we have been for a few weeks. All our paperwork is perfectly OK, so we were given a signed paper.

What is interesting is that the Customs officer told us, in perfect English, that we should not pay any VAT on things purchased for the boat on the chandleries nor on any labor.

This put us immediately on alert and in a quick survey of other non-EU boats here in the docks we found some here report having been charged VAT and some report not being charged VAT on upgrades and repairs.

On a related point, quickly looking around on the internet for information on the aforementioned subject, we came across consultant 's reports that non-EU boats which are chartered are able to purchase tax-free fuel. We are certainly not charter nor have any interest in chartering, but why would this singular benefit apply only to non-EU charterers who until a couple of years ago were also free of other taxes?

Any leads most welcome! :)
Hasbun
Hasbun
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Update:

Got a €975 refund from a vendor/installer. He required passport and vessel registration.

Accastillage Diffusion chandlery stated over the phone they will not charge us VAT on a special order we have ready to pick up from them later today. Orders must be at least €180 (ex-VAT) to qualify. Only passport required.

BigShip chandlery won 't take action unless we present a VAT exemption document. Guess which chandlery we won 't be visiting any more.
Hasbun
Hasbun
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Update:

Major shipyard, 47 years in operation, indicated VAT exemption on refit requires working in advance with detailed estimates and a forwarding agent. Further added: "when you intend to proceed with refit works the forwarder recommends to declare a temporary importation admission to customs because fees are calculated on the value of the boat and the rough forwarder 's fee estimate starts at 1200€." Bottom line: we won 't get any refund from this particular vendor, as our project with him was not quite sufficiently large to make it worthwhile.

Still, our friends ' installer performing what we guess is a $25K project charged no VAT and did not involve a forwarder. Nor did our vendor who refunded. And the chandleries ' responses were also unique to each.

So this seems to be a bit of terra incognita.
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