Sailors race to reclaim VAT millions

Blick Rothenberg, the London-based accountants for the 150-year-old event, said it was encouraging participating companies, based outside the EU, to reclaim VAT from Customs & Excise.

According to the 8th and 13th directive of the European Community, an overseas business can reclaim the VAT element of its expenses in a European country where they are not registered.

And Customs can expect many claims from competitors and sponsors. Nearly 200 competitors have entered the race, with more than half of these based outside the EU. The firm said while awareness of the reclaim system was low, it was ‘getting more and more calls each day from competitors and their sponsors asking what they can claim’.

‘We are supplying this service for the Jubilee committee to entrants as a form of customer relationship management. It is an added-value service, that will help overseas entrants get their money back,’ Howard Smith of Blick Rothenberg’s VAT reclaim company BRAL told

‘It is a total win-win situation for everybody,’ he said. ‘It is their right to claim the money back and it could make a substantial difference to their budget’. The firm says a net saving of 15% on budget is possible.

Companies can claim on a large range of items including such things as accommodation, car and crane hire, engineers, cleaning, repairs, moorings, storage, fuel and catering.

The costs in mounting a challenge for the 150-year old trophy can run into the millions. ‘Just a support boat can cost as much as Pounds 150,000,’ Smith said.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the cup, this year’s race takes place around the Isle of Wight, in Cowes, sight of the first America’s Cup Challenge in 1851. Traditionally the race is held in the seas of the nationality of the winning boat. Last year’s race was won by Team New Zealand.

The America’s cup takes place from 18 to 25 August.


America’s Cup Jubilee

EU’s Taxation and Customs Union

Blick Rothenberg

European Commission issues VAT guide

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