Charter Yachts News: Spanish Matriculation Tax (19 January 2014)

By Alex Chumillas Amat – Tax Marine Spain, S.L.

Following the amendment of the Spanish Excise Duties Law (Law 38/1992), introduced by the Law 22/2013, and published 23 December 2013 on the Spanish Official State Gazette (BOE). Tax Marine is pleased to inform about the latest changes in Spain concerning the yacht charter activity.

On one hand the amendment of the article 66.One.ñ of the Excise Duties Law and its current interpretation by the Spanish Tax Authorities seems to open the possibility for yacht owners (UBO) to use their vessels for a 3 months period in Spanish waters and to apply for the matriculation tax exemption if the yacht intention is to be engaged in commercial activity.

This new provision is a very important change compared with the existing previous situation, which did not allow a single use of the yacht by the ultimate owners and relax the requirements to keep the matriculation tax relief.

On the other hand, the wording of the new article 70.Bis, seems to establish that if the owner wants to use its yacht for a period exceeding the mentioned 3 months time in Spain, the matriculation tax will be due proportionally to the time exceeding this period.

The current rates defined in the article 70.Bis of the Law, in case the 3 months time is exceeded are:

· First 12 months exceeding the allowed period of use: 3%
· Next 12 months and up to 24 months: 2%
· Over 25 months : 1%

It is expected during next month to be published a binding opinion from the Spanish Directorate of Tax (Direccion General de Tributos) clarifying the terms and conditions how these provisions will be implemented.

Our firm expects to be in a position in the next weeks to clarify another important issue: the understanding of the Spanish authorities with regards the non EU flagged yachts.

Tax Marine is a founding member of The Barcelona Nautical Cluster actively and permanently involved with the national and regional authorities to achieve a clear tax and legal frame for the charter activity in Spain.