With the changes to the Spanish Matriculation Tax now in force (see our article from November 2013), Spain is now properly open for business for luxury yacht charter and the enquiries are already coming in with the Balearic Islands attracting the most interest.
Speaking recently, Patricia Bullock, Founder and Managing Director of the Palma-based, Network Marine Consultants (NMC) noted that her company administered an “incredible 33 superyacht charter licences in 2014” compared to zero the previous year. Of those, 25 were for brand new superyacht licences for yachts up to 52 metres, with work currently underway on a 62 metre vessel. She added: “The worldwide yachting association, MYBA, estimated back in 2011 that there were around 802 large yachts for rent in the Mediterranean, of which only 17 were available in Spain. Of those 17, none were over 50 metres, only one was over 40 metres and they were all ageing and of low market value.”
In reality, however, for this first year, it seems some yachts are not rushing into registration pending the outcome of several cases currently before the courts. Sophie Aubertin, Charter Broker with YPI Charter, confirms this. “As the number of larger yachts is still low, many of the best yachts are already solidly booked,” she explains. “So it really is going to be a case of first come – first served. We do however have a good selection in the lower to mid-range size so many of our clients will at last have the chance to cruise in this stunning part of the world on some excellent quality yachts.”
To find out more about the Balearics click here
To find out more about yachts available for charter in Spain this year contact:
YPI CHARTER: email@example.com or call Monaco +377 99 99 98 60
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To find out more contact Alena on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +377 99 99 98 60
Ever since the French Commercial Exemption regime was declared illegal by the European Commission back in 2013, the French Tax authorities have been in ongoing discussions with the EU Commission with regards to possible amendments that will render the French system compliant with EU law. Notably this would provide a definition of “commercial vessel used for navigation on high seas” under the VAT Directive which would also include a condition of use of the vessel for navigation in international waters in order to benefit from the VAT exemption attached to the commercial use of a vessel.
Paris-based lawyers, Ince & Co have been involved in the consultations regarding the new draft administrative instruction which sets out which commercial vessels and charter yachts might continue to benefit from the VAT exemption. According to Ince & Co, in order to benefit from the exemption, vessels of 15 metres or more will need to be:
- commercially registered
- have a permanent crew and
- be used for a commercial activity
In addition, and this an aspect that concerns many yacht owners today, the vessel would have to “sail on the high seas” a condition deemed to be satisfied if at least 70% of the voyage is carried out outside French territorial waters in the previous tax year.
The 70% criterion is calculated on the ratio between the number of voyages with navigation outside French territorial waters and the total number of voyages made by the vessel.
For yachts commercially operated under charter agreements, it is expressly mentioned that one charter would correspond to one voyage. Picking up new guests or definitively disembarking guests would be considered as the end of the voyage and will trigger a new voyage. ‘Alongside charter’ will be subject to a specific treatment to be advised.
In addition, the draft instruction excludes from the 70% calculation any voyage which is not performed for commercial purpose (e.g. trials, going to the yard, etc.).
The administrative instruction mentions that the 70% criterion will come into effect in 2016, taking into account the voyages performed by vessels in 2015.
Of course this begs the question of how exactly that can be proved. Freddy Desplanques, Ince & Co Partner in Le Havre says: “My understanding is that we will apply the same way of [monitoring this] as we have before. If you can prove you have left French territorial waters with information in your logbook, or a print-out from your AIS, that should be enough to [provide] evidence.” It also seems that for the moment, there are no restrictions on distance outside French waters, or indeed how much time should be spent outside specified in the draft.*
Further new provisions will also address the change in status of the vessel i.e. when the vessel ceases to be registered as a commercial vessel and is no longer assigned to a commercial activity. Such change of status is evidenced by a vessel which switches its registration from commercial to pleasure. Such vessels will no longer be eligible to benefit from the FCE.
In order to benefit from the VAT exemption, a draft statement based on an agreed form will have to be provided to suppliers.
YPI will continue to report back to its clients on all developments as they occur.
For more information and advice, please do not hesitate to contact:
INCE & CO
Partner, Le Havre
T. +33 (0) 2 35 22 18 88
T. +33 (0)1 53 76 91 00
* Quote given to Superyacht Report. Click here to see the full article.
Despite the lack of support for a similar Bill implementing a mooring tax in France’s protected marine areas, the French Parliament recently passed an amendment that introduces a mooring tax covering the Bouches de Bonifacio and the Scandola reserves in Corsica. Whilst still not confirmed, initial reports indicate the charge could be as much as €20 per metre of hull.
Mirna Cieniewicz, Secretary General of the European Boating Industry, has started a petition against the introduction of the legislation. She explained: “This petition aims at forcing the French government to withdraw the Article 18a - introducing the mooring tax in marine protected areas - from the law, and at the same time send a strong message to the French Senate that, in case the Article 18a is maintained in the law to vote, they should vote against it and reject it.
“This is the very last chance to have Article 18a either withdrawn by the Government or rejected by the Senate during this last vote. The petition has over 1,200 signatures now and we hope it will continue to grow.”
Whilst the measure clearly only affects Corsican waters, there is a general concern within the yachting industry and amongst many owners that this could eventually be extended to cover all protected marine zones in France which account for 24% of the country’s entire coastline.
YPI Charter and Financial teams will continue to monitor this situation and will ensure YPI clients are kept informed on all developments.