Sailaway boat scheme (VSWB)

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Sailaway boat scheme (VSWB)
  • Definition of a sailaway boat
  • Eligible persons
  • Boats that are excluded from the VSWB scheme
  • Procedure
  • Bookkeeping requirements

This guidance note provides an overview of the VAT zero-rating rules that can be used in respect of a boat that will be exported to a destination outside of the EU.

Definition of a sailaway boat

A sailaway boat is:

  • delivered to an authorised skipper located in the EU
  • transported, under its own power, to a country outside of the EU (exported)

De Voil V4.335 (subscription sensitive); VAT Notice 703/2 ; 112/2006/EC, Article 146(1)(b) ; VATA 1994, s 30(8), 30(10); SI 1995/2518, Reg 129; VSWB2000
Eligible persons

The boat must be used for private purposes by an overseas visitor who intends to export the boat, under its own power, to a country outside of the EU. The boat must be exported within 6 months of the delivery date. The delivery date is normally the date that it leaves the supplier / manufacturer's premises. The boat must not be used for commercial purposes under this scheme.

It should be noted that before 1 January 2012, the VSWB scheme could only be used by UK residents who purchased a boat that they intended to export to a non-EU destination. From January 2012, VAT must be charged on the sale of a boat to UK resident customers, unless it is possible for the sale to be zero-rated as the export of goods to a non-EU country. Please see the Exporting goods to non-EU countries guidance note for more information.

If the seller arranges for the boat to be exported, either using a trailer or its own skipper, these provisions cannot be used and the sale of the boat can only be zero-rated if it meets the normal export zero-rating provisions. See the Exporting goods to non-EU countries guidance note

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