15th March 2021

The Yacht Engaged in Trade (YET) Scheme is a mechanism adopted by some flag states whereby private yachts obtain a Compliance Certificate and a Temporary Certificate of Registry authorizing the yacht to charter for up to a certain number of days per calendar year in EU waters.

The scheme applies to registered private yachts of 24m or over, provided that they fully comply with the requirements for commercial yachts of the relevant Large Yacht Codes (LYC), as well as all other applicable national and international requirements.

Currently this option is limited to France and Monaco, but what is the situation in Spain?

According to the approach in place in Spain until February 2019, the YET scheme was possible for yachts VAT paid or under Temporary Admission, with a specific limitation of use to non-EU residents in the latter situation.

Besides the VAT aspect, a yacht chartering in Spain would have to resolve its Matriculation tax status - tax assessed at 12% on the value of the yacht. Yachts exclusively engaged in chartering activities can benefit from tax relief. The fact that a particular yacht remains registered as private should not jeopardize the possibility of obtaining relief, as long as the activity carried out while in Spain continues to be exclusively chartering.

Last but not least, a charter yacht in Spain must be in possession of a charter license, but in principle since it seems possible to present a temporary commercial COR and considering that yachts are fully commercial compliant that should not represent a problem either.

So, what has changed since 2019?

Unfortunately on February 2019, Spanish tax authorities wrongly ruled that a non-EU entity intending to charter under Temporary Admission would be deemed resident in Spain. Thus, this residency would imply considering that the yacht owning company could not be eligible for chartering under TA. Therefore, the current situation, based in our view on a wrong interpretation of an outdated maritime resolution, is that at the moment yachts under TA currently cannot charter under the YET scheme.

The piece of maritime legislation on which this interpretation is based is expected to be amended shortly, and therefore the situation will presumably change positively for TA yachts. In any event, at the moment nothing prevents at least VAT paid yachts use of this possibility in Spain.


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