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Alan de Enfield

Red Diesel Rules Rumble On

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Lifted from Narrowboatworld

 

THE European Union has confirmed that it still intends taking our government to court over our current law allowing boaters to use red diesel at reduced taxation.

Though an agreement was reached  in 2008 whereby boaters can purchase red diesel for propulsion, paying the required standard rate of tax, and the proportion of the diesel used for heating and lighting to be purchased at a lower rate of tax, the European Commission passed this to the European Court of Justice in July 2014, claiming that we were not properly applying European excise rules.

Taking action

It was on the 1st September 2017 the European Commission announced it was taking action against the United Kingdom in relation to Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, claiming that the UK has failed to fulfil its obligations under Council Directive 95/60/EC of 27th in regards to the sale of red diesel.

No doubt boaters hope that this will drag on until we leave, and then the EU hopefully has no jurisdiction over our laws...

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5 minutes ago, Phil. said:

Thankfully this is one area that the eu can be told to shove off soon, very soon.

Yep absobloomin lootely but of course we should have voted to stay so they could tell us what to do :rolleyes:

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I do not understand the why the EU have a problem . 

Surely the system of taxes is not the same in every EU country?

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3 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

Yep absobloomin lootely but of course we should have voted to stay so they could tell us what to do :rolleyes:

You Sir are stirring!

8 minutes ago, Phil. said:

Thankfully this is one area that the eu can be told to shove off soon, very soon.

Do you honestly think the government will change the situation after we leave the EU?

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9 minutes ago, MartynG said:

I do not understand the why the EU have a problem . 

Surely the system of taxes is not the same in every EU country?

That is exactly the point.  The EU WANTS a system of taxes that IS the same in every country, which the EU will control.

The EU also wants a single system of everything else, much of which it has already achieved.  Again, all under the control of the EU.

George

10 minutes ago, Jerra said:

You Sir are stirring!

Do you honestly think the government will change the situation after we leave the EU?

Probably not, but at least they will not have to go down the EU road and force the use of white diesel for everything (unless you are one of the fortunate ones with twin tanks.  Even then, sourcing two different types of diesel canalside will be impossible).

George

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9 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

Probably not, but at least they will not have to go down the EU road and force the use of white diesel for everything (unless you are one of the fortunate ones with twin tanks.  Even then, sourcing two different types of diesel canalside will be impossible).

George

So even out of the EU you will in effect still be being told what to do by the EU!   I know devout Brexiteers won't be able to accept that but it is IMO the situation.

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16 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

That is exactly the point.  The EU WANTS a system of taxes that IS the same in every country, which the EU will control.

The EU also wants a single system of everything else, much of which it has already achieved.  Again, all under the control of the EU.

The taxes and benefits are considerably different between EU countries.

My boss is German and he says a  beer in Germany is 50p for 500ml bottle. The same brand of  beer in the UK is £3. In a german supermarket I understand water can be more expensive then beer.

Apparently, in Germany  childrens clothing has vat added as do books . Not so in the UK.

Are the EU also  saying we should have less tax on beer ? Or are  the Germans to be forced to add more tax on beer?

 

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13 minutes ago, MartynG said:

The taxes and benefits are considerably different between EU countries.

My boss is German and he says a  beer in Germany is 50p for 500ml bottle. The same brand of  beer in the UK is £3. In a german supermarket I understand water can be more expensive then beer.

Apparently, in Germany  childrens clothing has vat added as do books . Not so in the UK.

Are the EU also  saying we should have less tax on beer ? Or are  the Germans to be forced to add more tax on beer?

 

Give them time.  There is a lot to do, but the EU has all the time in the world to extend its tentacles.

George

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15 minutes ago, MartynG said:

The taxes and benefits are considerably different between EU countries.

My boss is German and he says a  beer in Germany is 50p for 500ml bottle. The same brand of  beer in the UK is £3. In a german supermarket I understand water can be more expensive then beer.

Apparently, in Germany  childrens clothing has vat added as do books . Not so in the UK.

Are the EU also  saying we should have less tax on beer ? Or are  the Germans to be forced to add more tax on beer?

 

The EU wants the tax rules to be the same across Europe. But the tax and duty rates can vary. So we can have zero rating on articles which incur a real VAT cost elsewhere. That's why the white diesel tax isn't  an issue in Europe - in other countries the rate of fuel duty is so much lower that leisure boaters aren't hit with the same cost if they have to use 100% white.

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29 minutes ago, Jerra said:

So even out of the EU you will in effect still be being told what to do by the EU!   I know devout Brexiteers won't be able to accept that but it is IMO the situation.

NO!  I specifically said they would NOT go down the road the EU is attempting to force.

George

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5 minutes ago, furnessvale said:

NO!  I specifically said they would NOT go down the road the EU is attempting to force.

George

If the same rules are kept as the EU has (in your opinion) forced on us then they are still dictating to us what to do.   That is if our government doesn't repeal the regs which have us making a declaration the regs are there because of the EU.  Ergo we are still "being dictated to" by the EU, otherwise we wouldn't have the regulation.

 

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I voted to leave but it was a difficult 49:51 type decision, but now seeing how the negotiations are going I am convinced we need to get out.

So, last week we went over to Europe to buy a new boat, that will be £150,000 Euros they said, "but I haven't told you what I want yet" I said. "Its EU rules" they said, you agree to give us 150,000 then and only then we might give you a boat, but then again we might not.:)

...............Dave

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On your first para, I am in total agreement! A bit of short term gain to avoid being invaded - metaphorically - not by Germany, but by a bunch of self-serving Eurocrats. They are much cleverer than Hitler was!

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If the rate of duty is allowed to be different in different countries what is the EU complaining about ?

Perhaps it is use of red diesel the EU are objecting to , not the rate of duty ?

 

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53 minutes ago, David Mack said:

The EU wants the tax rules to be the same across Europe. But the tax and duty rates can vary. So we can have zero rating on articles which incur a real VAT cost elsewhere. That's why the white diesel tax isn't  an issue in Europe - in other countries the rate of fuel duty is so much lower that leisure boaters aren't hit with the same cost if they have to use 100% white.

To be honest there's not much difference in the price of fuel in France and here. Nobody wants to pay more for diesel than they have to but its difficult to defend the use of low tax fuel for a leisure activity, it makes sense for plant and machinery and tractors and the like, maybe for HGV's as well but that's a whole different argument. But pleasure  boating? We have to use white diesel for the boat in France - its the law- and after a while you don't really think about it. Please don't throw things, its been a long day.

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2 minutes ago, Bee said:

 We have to use white diesel for the boat in France - its the law- and after a while you don't really think about it. Please don't throw things, its been a long day.

Its the law in France.

Not the law in the UK.

In the UK we do (should) pay full duty on the diesel that is used for propulsion. It is only the portion of  fuel that is used for domestic purposes that attracts  a lower rate of duty.

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There rather seems to be the narrow view relating to inland waterways on this rather than where the EU sees a problem. We are charging a lower rate on red diesel for leisure use so a boat can come across from France to a UK marina if they wish and fill up with red diesel and then go back to France, Belgium etc and use it to travel around. Both France and Belgium don't allow the use of red diesel for leisure purposes so if you are caught in a French or Belgium marina with red diesel in your tank you will be heavily penalised, even though you have legally put the fuel in, in the UK. That is effectively where the conflict lies.

There are three options available to unify the approach. We all have the same rules on red diesel use, all British leisure boats that have used red diesel are banned from any EU waters or they carry on penalising any boat in other EU waters who have filled with red diesel. At the moment those sailors who travel to the EU  have to ensure that they have never used anything other than white diesel in their tanks even if they generally sail in UK waters where the use of red diesel is permitted. The UK inland waterway use has just been caught up in this wider conflict.

Even once we are out of the EU the situation will still remain the same for UK boats, having fuelled up in the UK will still be penalised by the French and Belgians should they turn up in their ports with red diesel in their tanks.

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16 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Even once we are out of the EU the situation will still remain the same for UK boats, having fuelled up in the UK will still be penalised by the French and Belgians should they turn up in their ports with red diesel in their tanks.

 

Not sure that is correct – do you have any evidence that this would happen?

Non-EU boats will currently be arriving in the EU- take for example a boat arriving in Italy from  Turkey. The Skipper of the boat is not fined for not having EU ‘taxed’ fuel in its tanks..

As a non-EU member why would it be any different for UK registered boats?

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Not sure that is correct – do you have any evidence that this would happen?

Non-EU boats will currently be arriving in the EU- take for example a boat arriving in Italy from  Turkey. The Skipper of the boat is not fined for not having EU ‘taxed’ fuel in its tanks..

As a non-EU member why would it be any different for UK registered boats?

I think that you will find that any leisure boat that turns up in EU ports with red diesel in their tanks are penalised. The guy I regularly sail with, who often crosses the Channel, had his tanks flushed to ensure that no red diesel is present in them. The EU rules are that red diesel is for commercial use not leisure. That is the point really, we want special exemption from the general rule (again). If your guy from Turkey turns up with white diesel that has been subjected to normal duty in Turkey there is no way that any customs officer will be able to prove that it isn't EU fuel. If he has red diesel in his tank it rather highlights that it hasn't had duty paid on it and he would be subject to penalty.

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I think that you will find that any leisure boat that turns up in EU ports with red diesel in their tanks are penalised

 

 

EU Inconsistency:

 

Specific Advice for Boaters visiting Netherlands:-

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London, has confirmed that the new legislation (as detailed in the Customs October 2012 News Release), introduced in January 2013, applies to diesel purchased in the Netherlands but has no impact on visiting yachts that have red diesel in their main fuel tanks purchased legitimately outside the Netherlands. The official policy for the use of Red Diesel in the Netherlands remains as follows: 

"You can fill up your tanks with red diesel, but not take more fuel with you then the amount [capacity] of your tanks. You have to be able to show the receipt, which can’t be older than 1 year old. On the receipt should be written that “the difference in tax between white and red diesel is paid by [to] the UK Government (the 60/40 notice)”. According to the Dutch Customs this should be on the receipt automatically [we take this to mean it must be printed not hand written]. If you keep to these points and can show the above mentioned papers and notes the Dutch Customs can’t fine you.

 

Specific Advice for Boaters visiting France:-

The Customs Attaché of the French Embassy in London has confirmed that:

1. If the owner is a British resident and the vessel is in French waters on a temporary basis (holiday), the vessel may arrive in France with red diesel in its tank, refuel with correctly taxed diesel during its stay in France and return to Great Britain without a problem.  

2. If the vessel is to remain in France for an extended stay, invoices for diesel purchases should be retained for three years to demonstrate that duty paid fuel has been purchased since the boat’s arrival in France. Your fuel invoices, should be kept on board to demonstrate you have acted in good faith, should your boat’s fuel be subject to inspection.  

You should however be aware that it is prohibited to purchase rebated diesel for recreational boating in France.

 

Specific Advice for Boaters visiting Belgium:-

On 26 September 2017 the RYA secured confirmation from the Belgian Ministry of Finance that controls in Belgium for red diesel remain suspended until further notice.

It is unlawful in Belgium to use red diesel for propelling a private pleasure craft. Boating in Belgian waters with marked 'red' diesel in your fuel tanks put you at risk of receiving a fine (of €500 - €5000). This has been the case since the beginning of this decade.

However the Belgian Government has now acknowledged that its approach is different to that of its near neighbours (France and the Netherlands). Belgian customs has therefore suspended all controls [for marked 'red' diesel in pleasure craft] until further notice. 

It should however be noted that this is not a change to the Belgian legislation. It is simply a statement that the law will not be enforced in the short term

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Despite what the Belgians have said I understand fines have since been imposed .

Perhaps the best plan is to avoid Belgium altogether. 

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15 minutes ago, Wanderer Vagabond said:

If your guy from Turkey turns up with white diesel that has been subjected to normal duty in Turkey there is no way that any customs officer will be able to prove that it isn't EU fuel

Turkey is not in the EU so no EU duties or taxes will have been paid on the fuel in the tanks.

I understand in Turkey, all diesel for boats (leisure and commercial) is duty-free.

Are you suggesting that they would be charged duty & VAT etc on the  amount of fuel in their tanks ?

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