The Malta Maritime Law Association, the Malta Maritime Forum, the Yachting Services Trade Section with the Maltese Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and the Super Yacht Industry Network Malta denounce the recent notice sent to Malta by the European Union (EU) commissioner in connection with the Maltese VAT rules for pleasure yachts.

Within the Maltese community’s response, the statement explains that “the Maltese system is fully in line with EU law” and questions why “no similar notice was sent to Member States which apply the same principle under the EU’s VAT Directive…and why this discriminatory approach is being adopted by the commissioner.”

The statement bemoans the fact that no such notice has been issued to either Italy or France, highlighting that the method by which Malta has applied the option provided by Article 59a of European Union’s VAT Directive is exactly the same as the method adopted by Italy. Equally, Malta’s rules on use and enjoyment, which formed the cornerstone of the European Commission’s (EC) infringement procedure notice, echo those adopted by Italy through Circular No 49 of 7 June 2002.

Furthermore, “France has been recognising since 2005 that it is difficult for lessors of yachts to establish how much a leased yacht is used within EU waters,” reads the statement. “Article 13 of the Administrative Instruction 3 A-1-05 published by the French tax authorities in Bulletin Officiel des Imports on 24 January, 2005 recognises such difficulty, and then allows yacht lessors to apply a 50 per cent reduction on the total lease amount, irrespective of the category of the yacht.”

“We believe that both the Italian and French systems do not infringe the EU VAT laws,” continues the statement. “Therefore, we cannot understand why Malta’s system should be singled out…We appeal to the president of the EC, Mr Jean Claude Juncker, to intervene in this matter so as to ensure that there is no discrimination against smaller EU states like Malta.”

Lastly, the statement encourages the EC to protect the EU’s yachting sector in order to ensure that the EU doesn’t begin to lose its market share to non-EU countries, as well as imploring the Maltese yachting community to stand united in protecting Malta’s yachting industry.


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