Back in February, we speculated the cost to rent a private yacht in the fabled south of France was about to go up, due to a ruling by the European Union the VAT exemption on chartering yachts in France was not compliant with EU VAT rules. Now, France’s efforts to seek a VAT exemption have failed, as the European Court of Justice has ruled the French tax exemption for commercial vessels is illegal.
What does the ruling mean?
On March 21, the European Court of Justice (in European Commission v. France; C-197/12) held that French legislation providing a VAT exemption for some commercial vessels used for navigation on the high seas that carry passengers for remuneration or are used for commercial activities, “…does not comply with Directive 2006/112/EC (the VAT directive), specifically with article 148(a), (c), and (d).
“ With the approach of the summer charter season at hand, yacht managers and owners are scrambling to make sure all paperwork is in compliance with the ECJ’s ruling.”