"The effect of the change in the matriculation tax law and consequent clarification of the use by the beneficial owner have had an immediate effect on the number of charter licence applications,” states Pat Bullock, managing director of Network Marine Consultants, which specialises in managing the legal, financial, administrative and taxation issues involved in owning and operating a yacht in Spain. “In the last couple of weeks Network Marine Consultants has completed five new licences for yachts between 24m and 30m and five new ones for yachts over 30m, the biggest being a 52m motoryacht. A further 14 more are being processed, which is good news for Spain.”
Contradictory to this, however, Angel Chica, managing director of The Yacht Agency based in Palma, has noted that further work needs to be done to open Spain up to charter yachts. “We haven't noticed a significant rise in the number of charter licenses being issued this season,” explains Chica. “The main reason may be the lack of clarity of the newly launched act in respect to the matriculation tax.” Chica added that the system based on time percentages of charter usage and the lack of an allowance for owners who are Spanish residents to have private usage are two areas that need working on and better definition in Spain.
"Because the fine details of the law were not clarified until spring, and there were still many uncertainties before that, many yachts had already arranged their seasons elsewhere."
Marta Iglesias, charter broker at Fraser Yachts in Spain, provides an overview of the situation. “There has indeed been a rise in the number of Spanish charter licence applications,” she explains. “However, because the fine details of the law were not clarified until spring, and there were still many uncertainties before that, many yachts had already arranged their seasons elsewhere. We expect to see many more yachts applying for next season and the seasons to come. The interest for charter in Spain has always been there, but of course we believe that when clients are more aware that the restrictions have been lifted, and there are more yachts that we can offer, we will see a high increase of bookings in our beautiful waters.”
It seems that, while some agencies have perceived an increase in interest in chartering in Spain for the 2014 season, others have not noticed the same peak. It is apparent that news of the recent regulation changes is yet to fully filter down through the industry and this suggests that we will have to wait until the 2015 summer season in Spain to fully see the effects of the reforms.