I discovered that Lezlie Henson’s Paradox was for sale at Kema, Houston, Texas, USA, and I contacted her to explore the possibility of buying and importing the boat. She made enquiries regarding the costs of shipping and came back with the sad news that it would be as much or more than she wants for the boat, that’s in the region of 3,000 US dollars or £1,861.00. I decided to do my own estimate of how much it would cost to become the owner with the boat sitting in my garage.
I started my research by contacting a local shipping agent based at Felixstowe, Essex, England.
They came up with the following figures: Freight, in a sealed 20’ container from Houston to Felixstowe 2,100 dollars (£1,309); Transmission Handling fee at Felixstowe £125.00; Import Service payment £25.00; Port Security charge £35.00; Custom’s Clearance £55.00; LOL (Lift on lift off) £60.00; and RHD (Removing boat and trailer from container) £155.00. The total of these amounts come to £1,764.00. To this must be added UK VAT and import duty, plus the cost of handling the boat before and after she has been shipped. I don’t know for sure the VAT rate for the boat and trailer, but they are both likely to be in the region of 17.5% which works out at £326.00 approximately. I think import duty is 1.7% which equals about £28.00
Furthermore, one must add the price of the boat and trailer, bringing the grand total to £3,979.00 (6,390 UD dollars).
To learn more about VAT and import duty I did an in-depth study of the UK Customs and Excise website, but I could not find the answers. After phoning them I discovered that it would be necessary to know the correct Commodity Code, without which the correct VAT and import duty cannot be ascertained. Because ‘Tardis’ is an unfinished, amateur built boat she has be assigned a particular Commodity Code. After spending several minutes waiting on the phone I was told I would need to speak to guys at a different department which would not be open until tomorrow.
The issue is further complicated because the boat comes with a second-hand trailer which has its own VAT code. This means that both the trailer and the boat must have separate invoices to determine how much VAT must be paid. The total figure for buying and importing Lezlie’s Paradox, including the trailer to the UK would be in the region of £4,000.00.
Remember, ‘Tardis’ is unfinished; hardware and materials for her windows must be purchased. Shaping and fitting them and finishing the boom have to be done. That is not the end of expenses and labour, because I believe she lacks a yuloh, anchors, fenders and the usual cruising gear, but I think she has a single burner Coleman stove fitted to gimbals.
If I lived near Houston I would be there in a flash to hand over the money Leslie wants in exchange. I believe‘Tardis’ must be exceedingly good value for money.
Leslie’s World (Where details of ‘Tardis’ can be found)
HM Revenue and Customs - Imports and purchases from abroad: paying and reclaiming VAT