On 31st December 2018 the Spanish Touristic registration tax regime, as established in the General Budgets Law passed on 4th July 2018  will come to an end.

The provisions for the Spanish Touristic Registration tax regime are laid down in Royal Decree 1571/1993. It is a sort of Temporary Admission customs regime whereby non-Spanish residents could register a yacht under Spanish flag exempt from VAT (Non-EU residents) or Matriculation Tax (EU residents but not Spanish).

We must remind you that Matriculation Tax is a tax applicable to leisure yachts, new or used, when registered under Spanish flag or when they are intended for use in Spanish territory by individuals or entities residing in Spain or holding establishments located in Spain. The tax is levied on a 12% of the yacht value.

According to the preamble of the Spanish General Budgets Law 2018, the regime would no longer be applicable as it did not meet the requirements established by the VAT and customs regulations and neither accomplished its original purpose -to encourage the sales of Spanish manufacturedyachts-, as the majority of yachts that benefited from said regime were not built in Spain.

Therefore,given that the regime will come to an end on 31st December 2018, yacht owners benefiting from said regime will have to choose one of the following options in order to keep their yachts in Spanish waters:

Non-EU owners:

       1.    Non EU owners mayapply for Temporary Admission customs regime if theymeet the requirements and are eligible:

•    the yacht will have to be registered in a non-EU jurisdiction, whichwill involve deregistering the yacht from the Spanish flag;
•    the owner will still have to be a resident outside the EU customs area;
•    users will be restricted to people outside the EU customs area.

Although there are no clear instructions inthis regard, it seems that those yachts previously under the Spanish Touristic Registration regime would immediatelyenter theTemporary Admission scheme and benefit from a new 18-month permanence period in the customs area without having to leave Spain.

2.    Non-EU owners may decide to keep their yachts in Spain by settling the import VAT and will be entitled to remain indefinitely in Spain and the EU customs area. In this situation, yacht will have to bederegistered from the Spanish flag.

3.    Non-EU owners who decide to keep their yachts in Spain and registered under Spanish flagwill have to pay both import VAT and Matriculation Tax and will be entitled to remain indefinitely in Spain and the EU customs area.

EU owners:

1.    Non-EU owners who decide to keep their yachts in Spain but registered under a flag other thanthe Spanish flag will be entitled to keep their yachts indefinitely in Spain without any further tax liability.

2.    EU owners who decide to keep their yachts in Spain and registered under Spanish flagwill have to pay Matriculation Tax and will be entitled to remain indefinitely in Spain.

On 10 October 2018 Spanish Customs publisheda short notice providing additional guidelines on certain aspects such as how to determine the yacht values in order to calculate the taxes due or which were the deadlines for tax payment depending on the termination date of the regime.

In this regard, said notice established,with respect to yacht values, that the official valuations published every year by the Spanish tax agency would apply. These values are usually lower than current market prices.

In terms of deadlines for tax settlement, the notice stipulates that for those yachts for which the regime ends not later than 30 September 2018, tax should be payable by 20 October 2018, whilst for yachts for which the regime ends between 1st October and 31st December 2018, tax s must be paid no later than 20 January 2019.

The information and comments herein do not and are not intended to constitute legal advice to any person on any specific matter. The publishers and the authors expressly disclaim all and any liability and responsibility to any person, entity or corporation who acts or fails to act as a consequence of any reliance on the whole or any part of the contents of this publication.Tax Marine Spain is an independent firm registered in Spain with number 42/120/408646. Registered office and principal place of business at Gran Vía de Carlos III, 94, 5º 2ª – 08028 Barcelona.


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