Accountants for Boat Owners

What’s the tax situation for boat owners?

Maybe it’s because of our office locations in towns on the Kennet and Avon Canal, The Wilts & Berks Canal and the river Thames that we are often approached by boat owners, and the marinas who refer them to us, with enquiries about tax and the boat.

Aside from income tax, owners of boats may be liable for additional taxes. The good news is that there may be tax breaks too, depending how you structure your boat business affairs.

Boat owners may choose to keep their vessel purely for their own personal use, though many rent it out as a holiday let. In addition to the marina and business licence fees on the river or canal, there will be other business costs to consider.

Are all boats equal for tax reasons?

No! But we can advise on the following, to name a few:

  • narrowboats
  • houseboats
  • river and canal boats
  • ships and barges
  • pleasure boats
  • static boats eg restaurants and bars

The tax position can be complicated by many factors, so we suggest discussing your specific circumstances with a specialist accountant.

Questions which will affect your tax liability

  • Are you renting out your Narrowboat and if so, to whom? Is it to a single holiday management company eg your marina, or are your renting it directly to a number of people?
  • Do you own your mooring, or is it rented or leased?
  • Is your rental boat owned privately or by a company?
  • Are you VAT registered?
  • How long do you plan to keep the boat as an investment?
  • Will you be using the boat yourself, in addition to letting it out?
  • Will your boat rental be classed as a trade (self-employment) or rental income? This will affect whether you can claim Capital Allowances.
  • Should you have to pay Stamp Duty when you buy your boat (or mooring?)
  • Are you liable for Capital Gains Tax, and are you eligible for business asset disposal relief when you sell your boat?
  • If you only use your boat for yourself, family and friends, do you need to worry about paying tax on it, or can you even claim any tax back?
  • Can you write off any losses against your other income?
  • Under what circumstances do you need to submit a Self Assessment Tax return?
  • If you are buying a boat solely for your personal use, what tax should you pay, and are there any tax reliefs you could claim?

Why ask UHY Ross Brooke?

Our tax accountants cover a variety of specialisms, including CGT (Capital Gains Tax), Income Tax, Capital Allowances and Stamp Duty, which means that we have the expertise to guide you on this potentially complicated matter and can help you to minimize your tax liabilities.

Since we already act for clients who rent out their boats, so we have the expertise that can benefit you.

With offices in Newbury, Hungerford, Swindon and Abingdon, we may be close to your mooring. And if we’re not very local to you, that’s ok because we’re also happy to discuss your situation with you online.

Get in touch and see how we can sort out your tax questions.

More information

Licencing information and fees

Personal tax or business tax?