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Ruling Spells End of France Yacht Charter VAT Exemption


Today’s blog involves the end of the France VAT exemption.  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.


 With the majority of Mediterranean yacht charter vessels in France registered as commercial vessels, the VAT exemption these yachts have enjoyed for years will end.  Luxury yacht charter customers will now find the yachts they rent subject to VAT, and this expense will almost certainly be passed on by the yacht owners to the charterers.   

Photograph of a yacht with brown rock mountains in the background. Yacht is at profile. Swimming pool at back of yacht, and side balcony out over the water, at the waterline. No people present.



On March 21, the European Court of Justice (in European Commission v. France; C-197/12) had a belief.  It held that French legislation providing a VAT exemption for some commercial vessels used for navigation on the high seas.  Specifically 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).


 The approach of the summer charter season is at hand.  Yacht managers and owners are scrambling.  In specific, to make sure all paperwork is in compliance with the ECJ’s ruling.”


Consequences for non-compliance may go from large penalties to even seizing the yacht. For more background and detailed analysis of the ruling, click on


In conclusion, for a summer yachting vacation in the Med, contact us.  1-800 Yacht Charter Consultants at calculate your total charter cost,including possible VAT.

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About admin

Ms. Jana Sheeder is President of 1-800 Yacht Charters. Providing The Superyacht Experience(tm) since 1976. Private luxury yacht charter vacations in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Bahamas, South Pacific, South Florida, Miami and The Florida Keys, Italian Rivera, Belize. Megayacht charter company focused on generosity, Pay It Forward, Random Acts of Kindness, Giftivism, giving back to the ocean, to the needy, and the environment with every superyachting charter. Providing eco-friendly alternatives while on yacht charters and known for 6-star customer service, experience, and generosity.

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