On 31st December 2018, the Spanish Touristic Registration tax regime, which was 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).
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 levied is 12% of the yacht’s 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-manufactured yachts – as the majority of yachts that benefitted from the regime were not built in Spain.
As a result, given that the regime will come to an end on 31st December 2018, yacht owners benefitting from the regime must now choose one of a number of different options in order to keep their yachts in Spanish waters.
1. Non-EU owners may apply for Temporary Admission customs regime if they meet the requirements and are eligible:
The yacht will have to be registered in a non-EU jurisdiction, which will 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 clear instructions, it seems that those yachts previously under the Spanish Touristic Registration regime would immediately enter the Temporary 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 be deregistered from the Spanish flag.
3. Non-EU owners who decide to keep their yachts in Spain and registered under Spanish flag will have to pay both import VAT and Matriculation Tax and will be entitled to remain indefinitely in Spain and the EU customs area.
1. EU owners who decide to keep their yachts in Spain but registered under a flag other than the 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 flag will have to pay Matriculation Tax and will be entitled to remain indefinitely in Spain.
On 10th October 2018, Spanish Customs published a 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.
The notice stated 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 30th September 2018, tax should be payable by 20th October 2018, whilst for yachts for which the regime ends between 1st October and 31st December 2018, tax must be paid no later than 20th January 2019.
Reproduced from YachtingPages.com (http://www.yachting-pages.com) and with thanks to Alex Chumillas Amat, yacht tax consultant at Tax Marine (Spain).