Greek Customs has acknowledged that British yachts can retain their EU VAT status when returning to Greece from non-EU waters. This does not apply to yachts that were in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition.
Greek Customs has recognized the right of UK yacht owners to retain EU VAT status when returning to Greece from non-EU waters.
This does not apply to yachts that were in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period - 31 December 2020.
The move by Greek authorities follows a complaint filed with the EU by the Cruising Association (CA).
Greek Customs announced on 3 June 2021 that after asking the EU Commission for clarification on the matter, it followed the EU advice and announced the acceptance of British yachts returning from non-EU countries to restore the status of Allied Products, provided that they will return within three years with the same owner, unchanged on the ship.
CA said it was still seeking clarification as the Greek authorities want proof that “the yachts were in EU waters on 31 December 2021”.
CA believes that this should be extended to anywhere in the world, except for vessels that were in UK waters on that date and have UK VAT status.
Speaking on behalf of CA, Christopher Robb said that there is now little doubt that “the principle of the Union Customs Code (Art.203 UCC) has been adopted and that we will get the necessary clarity that is so important for yachts arriving from Turkey and other countries outside the EU ”.
In short, the rules are:
- all British yachts located in Greece or in the EU 27 will have the status of a full-fledged union product and, therefore, will not need a transit log, while they are in Greek waters, the yachts will be "in free circulation";
- Upon returning to Greek waters after three years, they will need to apply for “customs procedures” (returned items) and provide proof of payment of VAT in the EU 28 and proof of their “presence in EU waters as of 31 December 2021”.
Note: This must be officially approved by "anywhere in the world except UK".
- Obligation under the Transit Log: all yachts are obliged to report to the port police when entering or leaving a Greek port. In every part of Greece, this duty is performed irregularly, and in the Ionian port it is most lenient.
To clarify these rules, CA is asking the Minister of Shipping for clarification, especially since this could significantly increase the workload on the Greek coast guard (port police), which is already overloaded with work.
- Anchorage: It is only when you enter the port and are anchored to the shore that there is a need to report it. And in this case, some overly zealous customs officers sometimes go too far. The CA achieves clarity in its work.
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