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Spain enjoys bumper superyacht charter season

Spain has seen a significant increase in the number of superyachts and smaller recreational boats chartering the country in 2015. A report released by the Spanish marine industry association ANEN in conjunction with the Spanish association of superyachts (AEGY), credits a tax exemption, which was put into place in October 2013, with the increase.

The report shows that the Balearics and Alicante are the most popular areas for charter, holding 21% and 18% of the market sector respectively. Figures from a separate study by AEGY on the Balearics show that in 2014 52 superyachts registered to charter and in 2015 this number jumped to 86. Over the two-year period the charter market in Balearics is thought to have generated €22.9m.

Despite the possible exemption from matriculation tax, which is charged at 12% of the value of the yacht, there have been concerns that the legal requirements for chartering in Spain are confusing. EU flagged yachts chartering in Spain are subject to VAT at 21% of the charter fee and the yacht has to be registered with the Spanish Government. A separate charter licence is required if the charter is starting or finishing in the Balearics.

AEGY and ANEN now want the Spanish authorities to go even further to encourage more superyachts to charter in the country.

“The results are promising and could be even better if the legal and tax regulations in the marine industry in Spain continue to align with the European community,” a statement from ANEN said.

Both groups are now working together to push for the following amendments:

• Regulation of the possibility of mixed use (private and commercial) of boats similar to other EU countries such as France, Italy, Malta, etc.

• Exemption from VAT for the leasing/chartering of vessels and recreational vessels engaged in commercial activity corresponding to offshore cruising, in accordance with Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system value added tax.

• Applying a VAT rate of 10% (tourism) to the lease of vessels and recreational vessels instead of 21% as in France and Italy.

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