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oldsilverfox

NCL Getaway "Food and Beverage port tax??"

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We've just come home from a one day sampler trip on the brand new NCL Getaway sailing from Southampton on her way to her home port of Miami.

To our surprise all the drinks that we bought were subject to an "F & B Port Tax" on top of the 15% gratuity.

For example two coffees at $3.50 each were charged $1.05 gratuity PLUS $1.40 port totalling $9.45. Expensive coffee.

We believe that this tax is a US based sales tax on food and beverages varying state by state, in this case to the port of Miami where the vessel is to be permanently based.

We are at a loss as to how this tax can be levied on a ship sailing on a round trip in UK waters and are awaiting a response from NCL UK.

We suspect that the ships accounts are pre-programmed to apply the tax when the ship will be docked in Miami and in the meantime no-one can override it.

In the meantime we will be requesting a refund from NCL.

FWIW.

Edited by oldsilverfox
Spelling !!

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I would have guessed it is a UK tax. The wait staff could not explain it? But thanks for the info I will ask tomorrow before buying anything.

 

Gesendet von meinem A210 mit Tapatalk

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Hi

Just got back from our one day cruise to nowhere on Getaway.

I too questioned the F & B Tax and basically because it leaves the UK and doesn't go anywhere except back to the UK, it comes under UK VAT rules which meant 25% added on.

They couldn't do Duty Free because it went nowhere.

Made it a tad more expensive but very enjoyable non the less.

Darren.:)

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Not sure why you would think it is a Miami tax? NCL has been pretty good about charging the required taxes for whatever country is involved, i.e. Spanish VAT etc. More likely it is a UK tax of some sort. Good luck with getting your $1.40 refunded.

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There is no Florida based tax that would be charged after the ship has sailed far enough from the port and never if the ship didn't originate from there in the first place.

 

That tax is a local tax and matches with UK's 20% VAT so I'd gues you were charged that - all prices onboard are advertised without taxes unlike in most EU countries.

Edited by Demonyte

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Many thanks to all of those who have replied. From the responses it sounds as though the UK VAT rate is being applied.

 

However.

 

We regularly cruise out of Southampton and we have never come across this tax being levied before. I can see the usual perverted logic that those wonderful folk at HMRC might use to apply this to a cruise that doesn't go anywhere, but how does this logic change when there is one or more non-UK ports added to an itinerary.

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However.

 

We regularly cruise out of Southampton and we have never come across this tax being levied before. I can see the usual perverted logic that those wonderful folk at HMRC might use to apply this to a cruise that doesn't go anywhere, but how does this logic change when there is one or more non-UK ports added to an itinerary.

 

It's not just HMRC, it's EU wide. If you do not leave EU tax area (as in call to outside ports, it doesn't matter if the ship visits international waters without calling port anywhere), you are not exempted from paying the VAT. Exactly the same happens in Mediterranean where Epic's summer cruises call only in Spain, France and Italy - Spanish VAT is charged all cruise long.

Edited by Demonyte

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I can see the usual perverted logic that those wonderful folk at HMRC might use to apply this to a cruise that doesn't go anywhere, but how does this logic change when there is one or more non-UK ports added to an itinerary.
The logic is that if the ship enters a tax jurisdiction where UK VAT may not be legally charged, then it will not be charged. It seems even more logical that whenever and wherever HMRC are legally able to collect VAT, they will very likely do so.

 

As a UK resident, you can at least be glad that your $1.40 will be staying "at home" :)

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However..........UK VAT rules (poss EU rules too) state

Prices advertised to the public in ordinary retail shops include VAT. No tax will be added to the price when you pay. This is a legal requirement.

and

Prices aimed only at businesses are usually shown with no VAT included. VAT will be charged on top of the price shown.

 

I also do not recall seeing NCL's UK VAT registration number on their receipts. If they claim to be charging UK VAT, and remitting VAT to the UK taxman, they need a UK VAT registration number, and need to display it on receipts.

 

NCL IMHO is breaking UK law relating to VAT.

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NCL IMHO is breaking UK law relating to VAT.
This is not a matter of casual opinion. You have provided a summary page from HMRC, not the actual legal texts. Is "ordinary retail shop" a legal term, and if so, what is its legal definition and does the coffee bar aboard the Getaway fall within this definition?

 

According to the page you linked to, the obligation to indicate a VAT number applies only to "non-retail invoices". The slip of paper you get from the barman isn't a receipt: you haven't paid for anything yet. If you ask for a final invoice after the completion of your cruise, it may very well contain NCL's UK VAT registration details (although again, you have not demonstrated that this a legal requirement).

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If you ask for a final invoice after the completion of your cruise, it may very well contain NCL's UK VAT registration details (although again, you have not demonstrated that this a legal requirement).

 

Here you go

 

If you make retail sales and you make a sale of goods or services for £250 or less including VAT, then when a customer asks for a VAT invoice, you can issue a simplified VAT invoice that only needs to show:

• the seller's name and address

• the seller's VAT registration number

• the time of supply (tax point)

• a description of the goods or services

 

Also, if the supply includes items at different VAT rates then for each different VAT rate, your simplified VAT invoice must also show:

• the total price including VAT

• the VAT rate applicable to the item

 

I have an NCL "Preliminary Invoice" (the one left on your door on debarkation day) that includes drinks with VAT (albeit Spanish VAT) paid. There is no VAT breakdown. I didn't however ask for a VAT Invoice.

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In the meantime we will be requesting a refund from NCL.

FWIW.

 

Can I suggest you start by asking for a VAT invoice :):):) I would be very interested in seeing what they provide.

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I didn't however ask for a VAT Invoice.
And what are their legal obligations in that case? You have suggested that NCL is "breaking UK law relating to VAT", which is a rather serious accusation.

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Hello Silverfox,

 

I was on the same cruise. I have spoken to NCL and have been advised that

the port tax is UK 20 per cent tax and if I have any issues with that, I need to put it in writing.:(

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And what are their legal obligations in that case? You have suggested that NCL is "breaking UK law relating to VAT", which is a rather serious accusation.

 

Prices advertised to the public in ordinary retail shops include VAT. No tax will be added to the price when you pay. This is a legal requirement.

If the bar onboard is counted as an "ordinary retail shop", they are breaking the "legal requirement" by adding tax to the displayed price. All bars and ordinary retail shops that I've gone to in the UK show a VAT inclusive price.

 

If they are selling into the trade, ie business customers/VAT registered customers, they are permitted to show prices exclusive of VAT.

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Hello Silverfox,

 

I was on the same cruise. I have spoken to NCL and have been advised that

the port tax is UK 20 per cent tax and if I have any issues with that, I need to put it in writing.:(

 

The UK does not have a "port tax" of 20%

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http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/102/article/4/made

 

“selling price” means the final price for a unit of a product, or a given quantity of a product, including VAT and all other taxes;

 

“shop” includes a store, kiosk and a franchise or concession within a shop;

 

where a trader indicates that any product is or may be for sale to a consumer, he shall indicate the selling price of that product in accordance with the provisions of this Order.

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If the bar onboard is counted as an "ordinary retail shop"
That is the question; do you know the answer? Perhaps you could contact HMRC directly, that way we will have a definitive answer and the Government can commence legal proceedings against NCL.

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The big problème of That is Ncl must advise the guest before no ? I also saw That 30 min after living the doc they told me bécasse we was Still on the port they add to put That tax ..

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You can bet your life that if there were a way round this VAT charge that NCL's beancounters and lawyers would have found it by now (think Epic's 7-day Med itinerary). The amounts involved are significant.

 

NCL certainly do not want to have to do this because:

1. More expensive drinks = less sales/profit

2. The PR hassle (e.g. this thread)

 

Why do you think the UK law is to show VAT inclusive prices?

1. so the customer knows the total price they are paying (fair enough).

2. They do NOT realise how much VAT they are paying (cynically, the real reason)

 

OP - You will have no chance of getting that VAT back - NCL is required by law to collect it on behalf of the UK government and remit it to them - note the word collect.

 

You pay VAT on every drink you buy in a UK pub - can you reclaim the VAT? Thought not. Same thing - Getaway is a (very big) floating pub after all...

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Re VAT invoices and price displays:-

 

The purpose of a VAT invoice (detailed or less detailed i.e. <£250) is to support the reclaiming of Input VAT if you are a registered VAT trader. OP is not and is the end user of the food and beverage so it is irrelevant. (I teach basic VAT law and practice to accounting students)

 

I bet if you contact Hampshire Trading Standards re price displays they will wibble about jurisdictional issues and locations and it will go nowhere. I can be sure of one thing - they ain't going to pay for a TSO to go to New York or Miami to investigate (because that is where the ship will be)! (I know, I used to be a TSO many moons ago!)

Edited by SteveH2508

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OK, if this really is a UK VAT charge on food and beverage presumably this should also be applied to the surcharge levied in the premium restaurants ?? If not why not ?

 

How does this tax work?

 

a) Selling price = ( menu price + gratuity) x VAT

 

or

 

b) Selling price = ( menu price + VAT) x gratuity.

 

Either of the above options raise even more questions.

 

For those who suggest that I am concerned over $1.40, it appears that there is a lot more (NCL Revenue) in this than at first glance.

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Steve - I think the questions are

a) are NCL collecting VAT on behalf of HMRC and if so where's the evidence (VAT reg/VAT inv etc) and

b) are they breaking the law by doing so in the current manner (ex VAT pricing)

 

There are going to be lots of TA jollies coming off Getaway and they will want their VAT refunding.

 

As above poster, it was not clear on Spirit last month when VAT would be charged......some nights it was and some it wasn't. A disclaimer on the menu isn't good enough.

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OK, if this really is a UK VAT charge on food and beverage presumably this should also be applied to the surcharge levied in the premium restaurants ?? If not why not ?

I agree!!! And the gift shop and the photo booth.

 

Could you ask for a VAT invoice to see what it says please oldsilverfox? I think that has to be the starting point.

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