The tax, which was previously scrapped in April 2008, is payable by all residents and non-residents and is levied on all property and assets in Spain held on 31st December each year.
Although the government says that this time the tax will be more focused than before it is still likely to hit the already hard-pressed Spanish boat owners reeling from the implementation of the 13% matriculation tax.
Previously the tax ranged from 0.25% to 2.5% depending on the asset class and value. Whilst Spanish residents can claim generous allowances these are not available to non-residents in Spain who must pay the full amount.
The wealth tax will apply to boats owned by non-residents moored in Spain and for some unfortunate owners the tax will also be levied on the value of their berth.
Senator John Kerry shows the way
There was some controversy recently in America when it was revealed that former presidential candidate John Kerry had saved around $500,000 simply by choosing to moor his boat ‘Isabel’ in Rhode Island rather than Massachusetts.
Cash strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25% sales tax and an annual excise duty on yachts whilst Rhode Island scrapped the tax to attract more nautical business.
Options for Spanish Boat Owners
So how can non-residents in Spain avoid these new taxes? The easiest and simplest solution for most Spanish boat owners would be to relocate their vessels to Gibraltar. The British Overseas Territory has no taxes on assets, no VAT on boat sales or fuel – making it easily the most cost efficient destination in the Mediterranean.
The upgrading of facilities in Gibraltar, principally in Ocean Village Marina, combined with the attractive tax regime has led to a growing number of yachts to choose The Rock as their base. For more details of the advantage of registering a yacht in Gibraltar see here.