Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
Does anyone know if there's a way to establish whether EU VAT has been paid on an aircraft?

I'm currently looking at an aircraft in the USA and I know that it has spent time in Europe, seemingly on both the Danish (OY) and Luxembourg (LX) registers.

The current owners in the USA can't seem to find relevant records and, absent tracking down the prior owner(s) (somehow), I'm not sure where to turn.
By air52
Plenty of N reg aeroplanes have ‘spent time’ over the years in Europe without ever becoming ‘vat paid’
The safe and sensible assumption to make is that if the vat receipt is not to hand, the vat was never paid. Even if the vat was paid, the chances of getting dupplicate paperwork are miniscule.
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By Flyingfemme
Even if VAT was paid you will probably not be able to claim it as paid. The rules are mostly applied against boats but the same principal applies..........
If a VAT paid item leaves the EU for any significant amount of time it requires VAT paying again on re-entry. If the item has been sold meanwhile, regardless of time, it requires VAT paying again.
So, if it were VAT paid on exit from the EU, only the owner that took it out can claim VAT paid on bringing it back and ther time limit is usually (AIUI) three years.
It is a problem often faced by earthrounders in yachts..
By Mick Elborn
The rules regarding VAT on returned goods are in Notice 236.

As Flyingfemme said, there is (normally) a time limit of 3 years. From Notice 236:

To be eligible for VAT RGR you must:

Be shown on the original export declaration as exporter and the re-import declarations as the importer.

The goods must be re-imported in an unaltered state, apart from any work that may have been required to maintain the goods in working order.

Any work done must not have upgraded the goods to a higher specification or increased their value.

To remain eligible for RGR the goods must not have been exported for the purpose of repair or process. However, if they are being returned unaltered, relief may be available.

The goods must be re-imported within 3 years of the original export

Longer periods will be considered by us on application to NIRU on the full eligibility requirements for waiver of the 3 year time limit.
That's all pretty clear, thanks.

There has also been mention of import duties in addition to VAT. Does anyone have any insights into that aspect?

This aircraft was manufactured in 1995 (US made) and seems to have been originally registered in the EU before starting its current life back in the US around the turn of the century.
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By PaulB
Without getting into a big debate about the B word, will VAT status of aeroplanes change when moving between EU countries and the UK?
By riverrock
Would presumably depend on any future agreement, or lack there off. Many options have been muted.
VAT is essentially an EU tax, administered in each member country (with each country able to vary some parts of it, within limits).
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By Flyingfemme
There should be no duty if the aircraft is flying.......a certificate of airworthiness is the "exemption proof" these days. Parts are more complicated and require authorisations that may be too onerous for a small organisation of individual.
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By PaulB
riverrock wrote:Would presumably depend on any future agreement, or lack there off. Many options have been muted.
VAT is essentially an EU tax, administered in each member country (with each country able to vary some parts of it, within limits).

But loads of countries have VAT or some sort. I accept though that depending on the deal (or not), the situation is fluid.
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By gyrotyro
If the aircraft was built before 1971 then it is exempt from vat.

I know because I once tried to pay vat on a pre 71 aircraft and HMRC refunded my money.
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By Flyingfemme
Where did you get that from? We've paid VAT on plenty of pre-71 aircraft..........If it was (provably) in the EU before 1971 and has stayed ever since, plus is/was privately owned, there is no VAT. But that would not stop any aircraft being subject to VAT within the EU if it had been traded by VAT registered enterprises who claimed back the VAT they paid.
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By Flyingfemme
No. Most of the foreign territories of EU countries don’t fall into the VAT net. The Canaries are Spanish but have their own taxes, much like the Channel Islands and UK. They tend to be Protectorates rather than a little chunk of Mother Country. Same is true of Martinique, Guadeloupe etc.
VAT is a sledgehammer to crack a nut and the burdens (and persecution) fall mainly on the small man who is an easy target. The implementation causes cash flow problems for business and offers huge opportunities for fraud and theft - missing trader and carousel frauds.