The Expertise of MiB Yacht Services

Why Sell Your Boat with MiB Yacht Services

At MiB Yacht Services, during a boat sale, we consider that our mission is only complete upon obtaining the new boat documents. To get there, here are some cases and details.



Selling a French Boat to a French Client

When selling a French boat to a French client, the process is quite straightforward.

Step 1

First, we establish the compromise

The compromise is made following the models MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht broker association) (Mediterranean Yacht Broker Association) or ABYA (Association of Brokers and Yachts Agents). The compromise is in French, protecting the buyer from potential defects and the seller from a financial standpoint.

Step 2

Receipt of the compromise

This compromise is valid upon receipt of the 10% deposit as specified, deposited into a dedicated account. At this stage, the “non-encumbered” status of the boat is checked, whether it’s a sailboat, yacht, or catamaran.

Step 3

Organization of the expertise

The buyer will select his expert, and the expertise is fixed within a fortnight. Unless there is a surprise, the deed of sale will be signed afterwards.

Step 4

Completed Sales File

The balance is paid to the seller, the sale file is completed, and sent to the ddtm (frecnch Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea) for registration.

Selling a Boat to a Foreign Buyer

If the buyer is foreign, the procedure is obviously different.

Step 1

Translation of the Compromise

The compromise will be established in two languages. The expertise will likely take place in English. Some countries (Switzerland in particular) may require a specific format for the expertise.

Step 2

Handling the Sales Agreement

The bill of sale in French will remain unchanged. It is used to request a de-listing from the French flag. The seller must probably provide a tax clearance.

Step 3

Establish a Bill of Sale

In addition, it is sometimes necessary to establish a “Bill of Sale,” signed by the seller, with an authenticated signature.

Step 4

Obtaining a New Flag Letter

With these documents, and of course the builder’s CE certificate, the buyer only has to submit the file to their national administration to obtain their new flag letter.

Selling a Foreign Boat to a French Client

If the boat is foreign and is sold to a French client, the procedure is quite similar to selling a French boat to a French client.

Step 1

VAT (Value Added Tax) CE

First, you need to request the CE certificate and proof of payment of VAT CE.

Step 2

Customs Clearance

Next, we use a customs broker for the customs import of the boat.

Beyond these three types of boat sales, there are many variations and scenarios

Leased boats

As a reminder, a boat under leasing is owned by the bank, not the seller. In this case, the administrative process is very different.

The seller is the signatory of a leasing contract

He can transfer this contract to a new lessee. The bank that issued the leasing contract will then propose an amendment to this contract and approve a new lessee. The remaining capital owed will be compared to the cumulative remaining rents due to determine the amount of the lump sum to be paid to the seller.

The leasing contract

The leasing contract can also be terminated. The bank then sells the boat, either to its private tenant, to its “company” tenant, or to a nautical professional.

If the lessee buys back the leasing

If the lessee buys back the leasing, he becomes the owner and can then sell it in a “classic” way.

In case of sale by the bank

It should be noted that the bank can sell this boat, and that the VAT on the remaining capital due can possibly be recovered by a company, a professional, or even a non-EU buyer.

Tax-free sales

Intracommunity VAT Rules

A sale can take place “tax-free” between two EU companies from different countries (rules of intracommunity VAT), or to a customer domiciled outside the EU.

Advanced VAT

However, a VAT-inclusive sale may still allow certain buyers to recover the advanced VAT. This applies to companies subject to VAT. This type of sale will be accompanied by an invoice from the selling professional (bank, dealer, agent, etc.), which will show the net amount of the sale, the amount of VAT, and the total including VAT.

Regulations for the Navigation of Tax-Free Boats

Navigating in European waters with a “tax-free” boat remains highly regulated. While the case of a boat operating company is straightforward (VAT has been recovered and will be invoiced upon resale of the boat), the case for individuals is very different. An individual cannot stay in EU waters for more than a few months, whether they are French, Swiss, or from another nationality, and regardless of the flag. Before the deadline, they will need to contact a customs broker and proceed with the customs importation of the boat, under the risk of having to pay the VAT under constraint.

Examples of More Unusual Boat Sales

Adding VAT to Boat Listings Displayed Excluding Taxes

The boat listing is stated as “price excluding taxes.” This statement alone does not provide information on the total amount including possible VAT. The added VAT can be calculated on the total amount or on the remaining capital if the selling professional has this practice and the lease is still ongoing. VAT can also be paid in the country where the sale takes place, and European rates are not completely harmonized.

In the Case of a Boat Sale by a LOA Holder

A holder of LOA sells his catamaran, operated in management/leasing for 5 years. He paid a 20% down payment at acquisition, then spread the installments over 15 years. Be careful! It is likely that the amount owed to the bank does not exceed the actual value of the boat. The boat has been heavily used, has depreciated based on this usage, and the financial costs are significant over such a leasing period. You will need to start by asking the bank for the amount of the redemption value at the current date.

In Case of Selling a VAT-Included Sailboat to the Caribbean

It is crucial to note that in the case of selling a sailboat to the Caribbean, the VAT rates in the Overseas Departments (DOM) are not the same as those in mainland France. You might have an unpleasant surprise when your boat returns to mainland France. Have questions about boat sales administration? We are here for that, and to ensure you enjoy the pleasures of navigation.