Update on French Customs for US Built Yachts Engaged in Charter

Posted: 8th April 2019 | Written by: Thierry Voisin

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Following a meeting between ECPY and the French Customs on Friday, below is a summary of the new regulations applicable to yachts engaged in charter or transport operations.

Concerning the 25% additional duties for US-built yachts

ECPY confirms that an American-built, commercially registered yacht, formally imported into the EU before 22nd June 2018, will not have to pay the additional 25% custom duties upon her return to Europe if she is imported under the Returned Goods Relief regime. This is applicable even if the yacht has been previously permanently exported, or in absence of export declaration (alternative proof will need to be produced).

Under this regime, the vessel will benefit from the same exemptions as under the French Commercial Exemption (FCE) or the French Reverse Charge, depending on the vessel's previous regime.

If the previous regime was the French Commercial Exemption, the vessel would still need to be able to prove compliance with the 70% rule, concerning trips outside French waters (a provisional or permanent commercial activity statement will need to be submitted to the French Customs upon request for the Returned Goods Relief authorization).

ECPY also confirms that US-built yachts that have not been formally imported before 22nd June 2018, and those that have been imported before this date but have changed ownership (change of owner on the certificate of registry), will not benefit from the additional customs duty exemption and will have to pay the additional 25% custom tax. 

US-built yachts that have not been formally imported into the EU before 22nd June 2018 will have the possibility to charter under the status of Temporary Admission for private use, whether commercially or privately registered, without having to pay the 25% additional duties. Charter under private registration will only be permitted if authorized by the flag.
 
Please note some restrictions:

  1. The inability to have EU-resident charterers aboard

  2. The fact that not all EU countries allows private yachts under Temporary Admission to charter (France and some other state accept this situation)

For non-US built yachts coming to Europe to charter, whether EU or non-EU commercially registered

Importation under French Commercial Exemption or under the French Reverse Charge remains applicable for all non-EU yachts and some specific EU yachts seeking to have unlimited charter activity. This is the only situation that authorizes a charter with an EU resident charterer.

For non-EU yachts that have not been imported (commercial or private)

These yachts can perform charters under Temporary Admission for private use but they cannot have an EU resident charterer.

For secondary vessels (chase boats) accompanying the main yacht and having their own registration

We are still waiting for clarification from the French Customs regarding the possibility for an EU resident charterer to use secondary vessels during a charter.
We expect an answer by the end of April.

In the specific case of a cruise/transport contract

The cruise/transport contract can be used without limit for imported vessels. However, under the situation of a commercial vessel placed under Temporary Admission (for commercial use) using a transport contract, the yacht will have to leave EU waters at the end of the charter or change its custom situation (ie leave Temporary Admission status for commercial use).

 

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