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News about the Spanish Matriculation Tax

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Alex Chumillas Amat of Tax Marine Spain informs us that the new criterion adopted by the Spanish Tax Agency and introduced in the Spanish Excise Duties Law allow chartered yachts, regardless of their length, to benefit from Matriculation Tax relief. Before the law amendment the exemption only applied to chartered yachts less than 15 metres LOA.

This does, however, come with an important additional limitation. The lease of a vessel to related parties is not considered to be a commercial activity under the Spanish tax law, even if the lease is agreed at arm’s length and VAT paid. In these cases the exemption requirements are no longer met and the tax will be enforced.

The Spanish Tax Agency has provided two important clarifications. If a vessel that benefits from the exemption is leased to related persons or entities of the charter company, who are not residents in Spain or owners establishments in Spain, the Matriculation Tax event does not occur and the requirements to benefit from the tax relief are still met.

The second conclusion concerns the geographical scope where the limitation to related parties should be applicable. The answer provided by the Tax Agency clarifies that the use of the yacht outside Spanish territorial waters does not involve a Matriculation Tax event. Therefore in this case it is possible for Spanish related parties to lease the yacht outside Spanish waters and keep meeting the requirements to benefit from the tax relief.

By Gemma Fottles

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