Sailaway boat scheme (VSWB) (until 31 December 2020)

Produced by Tolley
Sailaway boat scheme (VSWB) (until 31 December 2020)

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

  • Sailaway boat scheme (VSWB) (until 31 December 2020)
  • Definition of a sailaway boat
  • Eligible persons
  • Boats that are excluded from the VSWB scheme
  • Procedure
  • HMRC Personal Transport Unit (PTU) address
  • Buyers
  • 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:

  1. delivered to an authorised skipper located in the EU

  2. transported, under its own power, to a country outside of the EU (exported)

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 (until 31 December 2020) 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 (until 31 December 2020) guidance note for more information.

Boats that are excluded from the VSWB scheme

The following cannot be zero-rated under these provisions:

  1. boats that are exported via a trailer (see above)

  2. parts and accessories (this may be zero-rated as a retail exported if the relevant conditions have been satisfied)

  3. commercial supplies (these may still be zero-rated for VAT purposes as an export)

  4. boats that

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