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Tag Archives: Tax Marine

We Say, “No Mas!” To Excessive Ibiza Yacht Charter VAT

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Piggybank painted in yellow and red with spanish flag on the side and a gold coin that says TAX dropping into the slot

If Spain is hoping to entice more private luxury yacht charter business in the Balearic Islands, they have a funny way of showing it.

Regular readers of our blog might recall the controversy surrounding Spain’s 13.7% yacht charter Matriculation Tax (blog September 14, 2013).  Heavy lobbying by the Spanish yachting and marina industries saw that tax removed. Spain, however, is still imposing far greater taxes on charters than fellow European Union countries like France, Italy and Malta.

Case in point – a specific yacht that is legal for charter in both Spain and France will incur TWICE as much VAT liability in Spain, even though the tax percentages are nearly identical!

A yacht charter example:

Formula 1’s Eddie Jordan often keeps his Sunseeker 155 motor yacht BLUSH in the Balearic Islands for the summer charter season. When there is demand, the yacht can easily reposition to the South of France for clients who prefer a French yacht charter vacation, even dipping into the coastal areas of Italy and nearby islands of Sardinia and Corsica.  The weekly charter rate remains the same between both destinations (€220,000 per week in high season), and the VAT rates are almost identical:  20% in France and 21% in Spain.

A client who charters Sunseeker 155 yacht BLUSH in Ibiza, however, will see a tax of €46,200 on his charter agreement, while a client chartering the yacht in Cannes, will incur a charge of just €22,000.

If you’re the client taking the yacht in Spain, one word comes to mind (well, maybe a few words…), most notably, “OUCH!”

So what is the explanation?  Why the drastic difference if the tax rates are nearly identical?  The answer can be found in Article 58 of European Union Council Directive 2006/112/EC.

We’ll let our company President, Jana Sheeder, explain why this is the case:

“The European Union  directive on VAT, as it relates to private yacht charter revenue, has a clause entitled, ‘criterion of effective use and enjoyment.’  This clause allows member states to implement a VAT reduction scheme. However, it is not compulsory.  Popular cruising destinations like France, Italy, and Malta all take advantage of this opportunity to reduce VAT.   Unfortunately, Spain does not.”

 

In our example above, the client who charters motor yacht BLUSH in France, ends up with an effective tax rate of 10%.   The client who charters this yacht in Spain pays the full rate of 21%.

Note – the tax savings only kicks in when the chartered yacht cruises beyond 12 nautical miles – in essence, into international waters and out of the borders of the European Union.  This is a simple task and almost all charter yacht captains will implement this strategy in order to save the charter customer 50% of the VAT rate.  However, even if a yacht in Spain sails beyond the 12 nautical mile boundary, the Spanish government still insists on collecting the full VAT fee.

The Member States of the European Union include:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

For those readers who enjoy the technical details, here is the verbiage of the directive:

In order to avoid double taxation, non-taxation or distortion of competition, Member States may, with regard to the supply of the services referred to in Article 56(1) and with regard to the hiring out of means of transport:

  • (a) consider the place of supply of any or all of those services, if situated within their territory, as being situated outside the Community, if the effective use and enjoyment of the services takes place outside the Community:
  • (b) consider the place of supply of any of all of those services, if situated outside the Community, as being situated within their territory, if the effective use and enjoyment of the services takes placing within their territory.

 

Alex Chumillas, the director of Tax Marine explains the directive and the result of Spain’s decision:  “As is clearly defined in paragraph (a), the provision seeks to minimise VAT taxation applicable to certain services, among them the hiring out of means of transport (for instance charter),” “However, the provision has not been implemented in Spain.  Therefore, chartering in Spain is subject to a flat VAT rate which does not benefit from any reduction, even when sailing beyond 12 nautical miles.

Paragraph (b) allows Spain to levy VAT charges on certain services that have been provided outside of Spain – if the services are enjoyed inside of Spain.  Let’s say a charter starts in Gibraltar.  The yacht will need to register for VAT and pay VAT on the length of the charter in Spain (and of course, pass then expense on to the charter customer).

By choosing to implement paragraph (b) only, the Spanish government has chosen to only apply the more burdensome element of the directive.  Is this the right thing to do to people wanting to experience travel in your country?

Gorgeous ocean and coastline in spain

 

Like they did with the repeal of the oppressive matriculation tax in 2013, let’s hope the legislators in Spain come to realize a reduction in VAT will make the Ibiza yacht charter market competitive with neighboring France and the rest of the European Union states that derive strong financial benefits from the private luxury yacht charter industry.

VISIT https://www.1800yachtcharters.com/yacht-charter-monaco/ for a sampling of private yachts for hire in the Balearic Islands and throughout the Mediterranean this summer, courtesy of 1-800 Yacht Charters.We will be happy to create The Superyacht Experience for you.

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