This is a collaborative post with Quaynote.

Calling all Tax Experts You may be surprised to hear that tax is one of the most popular topics at Quaynote`s superyacht and business aviation conferences. For many of us, taxation can be downright baffling, all the more so when you consider the many jurisdictions and changing regulations that come into play within our industries. In order to bring more clarity to these complex issues, moves are afoot to create a discussion network for the tax experts who advise superyacht Owners and business jet operators alike. Lorna Titley spoke to the driving force behind this initiative, Alex Chumillas Tax Marine & Aviation Spain SL, to find out more:

Quaynote: Can you tell me Alex what the background is to your idea to set up a tax discussion group and what you are hoping it will achieve?

Alex Chumillas: Since I got involved in the superyacht sector 15 years ago, I realized is missing a group discussion focusing specifically on tax issues in the industry. There were some attempts in the past to create a regular group discussion but to date did not materialize, and I thought now it would be a good time to put it in place.

The idea is to create a group of experts from different jurisdictions to make authorities understand the relevancy of the industry and be able to lobby the different tax national agencies and EU authorities in Brussels to achieve a clearer and more favourable tax frame to help increase business activity and create more wealth for the different economies.

Q: How many members / participants do you have so far and which jurisdictions do they represent?

A: So far, the group counts with 20 participants from 12 different jurisdictions, but we expect to increase significantly the number in the next months as we only started to send invitations to join the group. The idea is not only to include participants from the EU but from non-EU VAT jurisdictions, as we understand the input of countries like UK or US are very relevant for the work to be undertaken within the group.

Q: What are the salient issues that you expect to crop up in your discussions with the group?

A: In my view, the key aspects to address are related with a clarification of the enforcement of the EU custom law, which despite being based in a very recent Customs Code dated 2016, is currently implemented in a very different way in different EU jurisdictions. Beside, we consider very relevant to achieve that Member States that have a less favourable yachting tax system follow the approach of the most advanced jurisdictions to line up their tax practices, so competitiveness in the industry is based on real factors instead of tax dumping competition among countries.

Q: What is the future for this group?  Are you expecting that the network might evolve into a more formal association that could lobby for changes?  

A: The group is at a very early formation status. We would like to use this article to encourage anyone who has an interest in the matter to get in touch and joint the group. At this stage, we are not considering to create an association as it, but a forum where specialist can put together different concerns and views on how to improve the EU tax landscape. We would like to create as well a group that could participate regularly in conferences and workshops, and based on the continuous exchange of information provide updated, reliable and accurate tax information. 

In this regard, I think that in the long term, it would be desirable to organize some sort of annual conference, specialized and focused exclusively on yachting tax and legal matters to discuss new legislation and existing problems. 

Q: Anything else that you'd like to add?

A: We consider that taking in consideration the similarities of the problems faced by the superyacht and the business jets industry, the involvement of the VAT specialists in from that sector would be highly desirable.

Last but not least important, I think it would be basic to achieve the involvement of the different national tax administrations by means of getting representatives in this group so they could be aware of what is discussed and the concerns of the industry. If we can involve the authorities in the discussions, though on an informal basis, it would be much easier to let them understand the relevancy of the industry, goals we try to achieve and the reasons behind, ultimately with a goal of creating wealth for our national economies.


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