Italian nautical industry body, UCINA has announced that the rate of VAT payable at marina resorts in the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Liguria is to be reduced from 22 per cent to 10 per cent, in line with the benefits already afforded to ‘hospitality businesses’. 

The announcement follows a prolonged lobbying period on the part of UCINA, whose National Nautical Observatory commissioned a study that concluded tax revenue from the potential boost to traffic would be six times greater than the revenue lost because of the rate reduction.

According to a UCINA statement, ‘the new regulations will probably be applied as early as August in the central Adriatic coast [and] a bill regarding this subject has been presented to the Chamber of Deputies. The future law will provide official acknowledgment of these resorts throughout Italy.’

Commenting on the news, UCINA’s president, Massimo Perotti said: “I am pleased that UCINA's commitment to support boat tourism in Italy has produced another important result to the benefit of the boat industry and tourism on a national level. Making stopovers more convenient in Italian marinas means a greater number of boats using related facilities…can enjoy the wonders of Italy's coasts at competitive prices in the Mediterranean.”

Marina Loano is set along the 'Italian Riviera' of Liguria. spoke to Alex Mazzoni of fiscal advisory service, SOS Yachting about how the revised rate would be applied in practice. But Mazzoni said that, as yet, it had not been passed into law. “The local regulations refer to EU regulations which would put a marina in the same VAT bracket as a camper or caravan area - i.e. subject to 11 per cent (sic.) instead of 22 per cent - if a marina takes on a new name and calls itself a ‘Marina Resort’.” However, Mazzoni said this legislation was still being debated, and as far as he was concerned, the VAT rate will remain at 22 per cent until the industry is told otherwise.

He added he was yet to be totally convinced of the validity of the mechanism, and that it would have to be the subject of further scrutiny as the summer season progresses. “It’s all very Italian and a bit shaky”, he said. “We are in the process of checking laws and whether the local authorities can actually change VAT rates on a local level, [as well as] any other caveats.”

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