19 Jun 2012
Superyacht-focused Spanish tax report calls for legislative changes
By Lulu Trask
An official study and report on the Spanish Matriculation Tax published by La Asociacion Española de Grandes Yates (The Spanish Association of Superyachts) has revealed the damaging knock-on effects of Spain’s tax system on its economy, with focus largely on the superyacht sector and its potential for economic growth.
The study and report was commissioned by the Mediterranean Yacht Broker Association (MYBA), Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas (ANEN), Asociación Española de Grandes Yates (AEGY) and the Asociaión de Empresas Náuticas de Balearaes (AENB).
Spain has a 12% additional tax on the first definitive registration of recreational boats (both new and used) larger than 8m and intended for private use (for charter-registered vessels the length is 15m), and combining the non-deductible registration tax with VAT, the Spanish tax adds 30% to the purchase of any recreational boat (compared to the approximate 20% tax in Italy and France).
The first section of the report focuses on the limited growth of the Spanish recreational boating sector’s output, Gross Value Added (GVA) and direct jobs created from 2005 to 2009 as a result of this tax burden. Figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute revealed that output grew from €4.664 million to €4.7763 million, GVA from €1.057 million to €1.079 and jobs from 15,000 to 16,000. However when compared with its European counterparts, Spain’s figures are dramatically lower. In 2005 France’s recreational boating sector’s output was €3.034 million, England’s €4.069 million and Italy’s €7.186 million (€6 million more than that for Spain), and in 2005 France saw 45,180 direct employees, England 35,015 and Italy 92,000 (77,000 more than that of Spain).
With focus moving to the superyacht sector specifically, Spain was reveled as a financially unappealing destination for the maintenance, docking and provisioning of superyachts, or any other costly activity: “Unfortunately, as a result of the uniquely prohibitive fiscal treatment that [superyachts] are subject to in our country, only 14 of the 788 large commercial yachts based in the Mediterranean in the summer of 2011 were operating under a Spanish flag.”
The report drew on Superyacht Intelligence data for employment figures for the superyacht sector in the USA (28,860), Italy (12,686), France (8,830), and Spain (5,682). “This clearly indicates that Spain is missing the opportunity to generate wealth and employment,” the report stated.
“Spain, one of the leading countries in the world of tourism, falls far short of its Mediterranean neighbours in terms of the relative weight of nautical tourism in the economic matrix,” stated the report, which goes on to declare that for economic improvements “it is imperative that specific and justified fiscal and legislative changes are applied.” According to the report, if Spain were to adopt a fiscal policy aimed at stimulating nautical charter, it could result in a 30% increase in turnover generated solely by superyacht activity in the Mediterranean. As such, the report has published the following proposals:
- Modify the criteria for application of the tax
- Modify the criteria for application of the Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport for EU-flagged charter yachts to comply with recommendation by the EU to the Spanish Government: either exempt or reduce (pro rate to charter period) the payment of the 12% tax on vessels engaged in rental activity
- Develop a National Global Plan for Nautical Tourism
The report concluded: “These measures would allow us to recover many jobs that have been lost over the last few years. It is clear that the lower tax burden would immediately increase the number of companies engaged in all types of recreational boating activities.”
A video about the report, entitled Mat Tax June 2012, can be viewed here.
The Spanish Association of Superyachts Website
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