The elimination of the 12% matriculation tax on +15 metre recreational charter yachts as well as on those used in nautical schools came into force last October when the new law was published in the official Spanish state bulletin (BOE).
Meanwhile, the Association of Spanish Nautical Enterprises (ANEN), who instigated this measure, in collaboration with AEGY (The Spanish Association of Superyachts) and AENIB (Balearic Association of Nautical Enterprises) have considered it necessary to prepare a guidance document fully clarifying the requirements and conditions to be complied with, in order to benefit from the exemption.
As we write, the guidance document is only available in Spanish, although an English version is promised soon. We are happy to advise some of the key elements here, and MedBerths can put you in touch with experienced recommended advisors should you need more details about a particular case.
First and foremost the yacht must be solely designated for charter (commercial rental) when in Spanish waters. Secondly, registration on the IAE (Business Taxation Records) is mandatory, irrespective of whether the yacht is privately or corporately owned. (Meaning of course that any income is taxable in Spain.)
The initial draft of the new legislation said that the owner would enjoy no beneficial use. This is of course a big downside, after all who wants to charter their boat when they can’t use it themselves? But in January, the latest revision has recognised this, and changed the ruling to allow some degree of personal use of the yacht as follows: First 3 months (accumulative) of charter, the exemption is total. From 3 months to 12 months (accumulative), 3 % of the total tax is to be paid. From 13 months to 24 months (accumulative), 2% of the total tax is to be paid. From 25 months (accumulative) and over, 1% of the total tax is to be paid.
Also the standard income tax investigation period applies, meaning that any changes to the yacht’s or the beneficial owner’s status that takes it outside of the laid down conditions within a four year period from first registration, will trigger a reversal of the exemption and incur a liability to taxes and fines! However the legal opinion that MedBerths has heard, is that this would only be enforced if a large number of yachts were to abuse the exemption.
There is more, a lot more, with regard to crewing, licensing, flag state compliance, technical surveys etc. etc. So, do please consult a qualified Spanish maritime lawyer before taking your +15 metre charter yacht to Spain this summer!