Clients have expressed concerns about the continuing uncertainty regarding the tax regime for charters in Spanish waters, particularly for non-EU flagged yachts.
Alex Chumillas Amat of Tax Marine Spain S.L. reports that, with recent amendments to Spanish law, charterers in 2015 will be able to take advantage of an amendment to the Spanish Matriculation Tax, whereby non-EU flagged vessels may be licensed to operate from the Balearics and exempted from the 12% Matriculation Tax that would otherwise have applied.

Against this background, corporate service providers, Affinity Management Services, have recently announced the successful granting of the first Balearic charter licence to a non-EU vessel. The process involves applying for an exemption from Matriculation Tax and obtaining a Spanish VAT registration. Notwithstanding this positive development, there remain several tax issues to be aware of when chartering in Spain, not least the potential for tax on charter income. This is especially relevant when the owning company is based in a jurisdiction without a double tax treaty with Spain - which could leave the owning company with a 24% income tax liability, as well as 21% VAT.

Owners and their charter managers looking at chartering this summer in Spain should be sure to take specialist advice and not to put contracts in place before checking all applicable rules and regulations.


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