25% YES OR NOT?

Sanremo, 14th April 2019

25% YES OR NOT?

The French Customs Office has released important dispositions and clarifications about yachts engaged in commercial and transport activities (e.g. charter).


25% DUTY TO APPLY TO US BUILT BOATS

The French Customs Office confirms that every US built boat having commercial registration and officially imported in European Community before the 22nd of June 2018 will be exempt from the payment of the 25% customs duty on the boat’s return in Europe if all the standard import formalities will be executed (the same formalities and practices arranged before the 25% rule).

The same principle applies for boats exported from EU before the same date (Export Declaration is required. In absence of this Declaration an alternative proof of exportation has to be provided).

All the boats having completed the import back to the European Community can benefit from FCE/ICE (French Commercial Exemption / Italian Commercial Exemption) advantages according to the +70% rule.

If the boat has been imported under the FCE/ICE regime in 2018, it is still required to provide the proofs attesting its qualifications to take advantage of the same benefits (+70% international voyages).

Therefore, we confirm that any and all US built boats falling within the below listed cases:

1. never imported before the 22nd of June 2018, or

2. imported before the same date but having changed the Owning Company (sold/purchased)

are subject to the application of the 25% customs duty.


CHARTER UNDER TEMPORARY ADMISSION STATUS

Besides, all US built boats never imported before the 22nd of June 2018 will have the possibility to perform commercial activities (Charter) under Temporary Admission status, whether the boat is registered as commercial or private (in the latter case only if the Flag Registry admits this condition).

However, there are specific restrictions to the above frame:

a. the impossibility to have EU resident Charterers

b. at present not all the EU Members States still permit a boat under Temporary Admission to execute commercial activities (Charter).

In regards to non US built boats (EU or non-EU) registered as commercial and to coming to Europe to execute commercial activities (Charter), which are under “Import Status”, the FCE/ICE benefits apply to all those non-EU boats (as well as to some EU boats in specific cases: more info will follow) intending to execute commercial activities (Charter). This is the only case in which the Charterer can be a EU resident.

Concerning the non-EU boats which will not be imported (both Commercial and Private registered), they will only have the possibility to execute Charters under the regime of Temporary Admission and will not be entitled to charter to EU resident subjects.

As far as is concerned to side boats (chase-boats/tenders) having own registration and which are employed to attend the mother ship (main vessel), we are still waiting for the necessary clarifications by the Customs about the possibility to charter said chase boats to EU residents.


All the hereby listed rules and information provided might be subject to variations by the Customs Office.

Therefore please always contact us to know if something has been changed, integrated or just updated.

For any additional info or clarifications required please email us to info@yachtwelfare.it


You can download the complete version of this news below:


Italy VAT Guide 2018

The new Italian VAT Guide for 2018 is now online.
Please feel free to download it here or below.
Stay tuned and make sure to comply with the rules.
We remain always at your disposal for any sort of clarifications.
Any need please email us to info@yachtwelfare.it.


YW VAT Guide Italy 2018

VAT News 2018

VAT EXEMPTION REGIME APPLICABLE TO VESSELS

On September 2017, the Italian Tax Authorities (Agenzia Delle Entrate) and the Association of Italian Shipbuilding Industry (“Unione Nazionale Cantieri e Industrie Nautiche”, “UCINA”), issued the general guidelines on tax and yachting matters (Guidelines), contained in the book “Nautica & Fisco (see also https://ucina.net/en/ucina-new-tax-rules-for-the-nautical-sector/)”. The Guidelines provide further explanations about VAT exemption for transactions related to vessels:

a. used for commercial purposes
b. used for navigation on the high seas (“navi adibite alla navigazione in alto mare”).

Primarily, on 12 January 2017, Agenzia Delle Entrate issued the Resolution 2/E providing certain clarifications on the definition of vessels used for navigation on the high seas for the purpose of the application of the exemption regime under Article 8-bis, letter a) and letter d) of the Presidential Decree No. 633/1972.
Specifically, the above mentioned Article 8-bis reproduces the content of Article 148, letter a), c) and d) of Directive 112/2006/EU, providing for an exemption of certain operations relating to “vessels used for navigation on the high seas and for carrying passengers for reward or used for the purpose of commercial, industrial or fishing activities”.
In this respect, taking into account the position expressed by the Court of Justice of European Union, the Agenzia Delle Entrate pointed out that:

1. In order to benefit of the exemption regime, the condition that the vessel shall be “used for navigation on the high seas” refers to vessels carrying passengers for reward, or used for the purpose of commercial, industrial or fishing activities, but it does not refer to vessels used for rescue or assistance at sea or to vessels engaged in inshore fishing (CJEU, Elmeka, joint proceedings C-181/04 e C-183/04).

2. For VAT purposes, “high seas” shall be intended as that part of the sea exceeding the maximum limit of 12 nautical miles from the base lines under International Law of the Sea (Article 3 of the Montego Bay Convention of 1982).

3. In order to assure that the exemption regime under Article 8-bis of Presidential Decree 633/1972 is applied, with limited reference to the cases provided by the law (i.e., only to vessels actually and for the predominant part navigating on the high seas), it not sufficient to exclusively take into account the length or tonnage of the vessel.

For the above reasons, the Agenzia Delle Entrate clarifies that “a vessel can be considered as used for navigation on the high seas if, with reference to the preceding year, she has effected, by more than 70%, voyages in the high seas (i.e., beyond the 12 nautical miles)” and “such condition shall be verified for each tax period based on official documentation”.

With specific regards to the adequate “official documentation” necessary to prove the prevalence of voyages carried at the high seas, the Resolution No. 6/E, released by the Italian Tax Authority (Agenzia delle Entrate) on 16th January 2018, provides the below list of documents that shall be considered as “official”:

i. the Log Book (also known as ship’s log or captain’s log), according to articles 169-173 and 174 of the Italian Navigation Code (Codice della Navigazione).
ii. The maps of voyages as well as the data extracted from the ship’s tracking or identification systems (for instance, with no limitation, the A.I.S., GPS, etc.).
iii. The charter contracts, invoices and relevant payments.

As of today, such documentation is absolutely necessary to prove the “high sea cruising condition”. If the Company owning the vessel is not able to provide the suppliers with all or any of the above listed official documents, a mere statement issued by the yacht Owner/Master (self-declaration) declaring the “high sea cruising status” of the vessel might suffice just if the Declarant (Owner, Captain, Master, Manager, or any other person in charge for this, clearly listing his connection with the vessel or position on board, etc.), clearly explains the reasons why it is not possible to provide the required documents.


DEFINITION OF “VOYAGE”

Pursuant to the Guidelines and according to the provisions contained into the Resolution No. 6/E dated 16th January 2018, “voyage” shall mean any cruise carried out between ports (Italian, EU and/or non-EU ports) where embarkation/disembarkation of goods and/or people take place or more generally where said ports are used by the vessel for the purposes of carrying its commercial activity. Within the same Resolution (6/E) the Italian Tax Authority clarified that for “voyage” shall be intended also any cruise starting from and coming to the same port (also known as “circular cruises” or “circular voyages”). If during a “circular voyage” (starting from and coming to the same Italian port) the 12 nautical miles at some point will be crossed by the vessel to sail the high seas, said voyage is qualified as an “international voyage” (voyage at the high seas). Further, any voyage entirely carried outside the Italian territorial waters (exempli gratia: any charter contract having both embarkation and disembarkation places in France) shall be considered as international voyages (voyage at the high seas) as well. If on the contrary a “circular voyage” will only take place within the 12 nm Italian territorial line, said voyage cannot be considered as an “international voyage”.

Lastly – still in respect of the calculation of the 70% of voyages – the Italian Tax Authority explained, with Resolution 6/E, that any displacement (moving from/to) of the vessel to one other port or shipyard for technical reasons (even if those reasons are connected to the vessel’s commercial activity) cannot be considered as a “voyage” and so cannot be included into the calculation of the 70% of voyages.

Moreover, the “high sea cruising condition” shall be verified each year. In case of a percentage of voyages greater than 70% during a calendar year, the VAT exemption pursuant to Article 8-bis applies to the following calendar year. In the event that the percentage above does not exceed 70% during the calendar year, it shall be no longer possible to enjoy the VAT exemption as from 1 January of the following year, except in the special cases listed hereinafter:

a. the vessel is under construction, or
b. the vessel has not yet carried out any voyage in the sea.

Only in these cases, it could be possible to apply the VAT exemption on the basis of a statement declaring the intention to use the vessel on the high seas. Therefore, in order to issue an invoice VAT exempted under Article 8-bis, the supplier shall require the owner or the person responsible for the yacht (for example, the master of the yacht) to provide a statement attesting: the declarant’s personal data, the legal status of the declarant in relation to the vessel and the period for which the statement is provided. However, in the following year, the declarant shall verify if “70% high sea voyages condition” is met and, in the event of a failure in reaching the 70% of voyages on high sea, he shall inform the supplier accordingly. On the contrary, if such condition is met, the declarant shall provide the supplier with the official documentation proving that voyages on high sea, as described above, have been carried out.


COMMERCIAL USE (THE CONDITION)

To enjoy the VAT exemption, in addition to the “high sea cruising condition”, another condition shall be met. Said condition is that the vessel must be used for commercial purposes. Therefore, any transaction related to vessel intended for sport or pleasure purposes shall be excluded from the VAT exemption.
Firstly, it has to be pointed out that, VAT exemption shall apply, in any case, to vessels registered in the International Register, since such registration implies that the registered vessels shall be used for commercial purposes only.
In addition, the Italian pleasure yacht code (“Codice della Nautica da Diporto”) provides a list of cases of commercial use of pleasure yacht, including, charter, leasing, professional teaching of navigation and activities carried out by diving centres using the vessel as basis for diving; for which, generally, the VAT exemption also applies.
However, to benefit of the VAT exemption, the commercial use of pleasure yachts shall be attested by a public register (Italian, International or foreign). Hence, as a general rule, the relevant foreign Harbor Authority or the relevant foreign shipping register shall indicate the use for business purposes of the vessel by inserting, for example, the wording “Commercial Yacht”/“Commercial Vessel/ Yacht in commercial use” in the relevant records. The VAT exemption, as above described, also applies to any advanced payment made during the construction of pleasure yachts, in accordance with the terms of the contract executed between the parties. When the VAT exemption is required for the purchase of a new pleasure yacht, the seller shall require a certificate of the Company Register attesting that that the buyer’s core business is a commercial activity in the maritime sector.
Finally, it has to be underlined that, the transfer of a vessel, registered or to be registered for non-commercial use (private use), to a natural person, shall not qualify for VAT exemption.
Moreover, to register a pleasure yacht as having commercial purposes when it is conversely used for personal purposes may imply significant sanctions. In fact, by law, pleasure yacht used for commercial purposes must be exclusively used for the activities for which they are officially registered. Nevertheless, the use of private pleasure yacht for occasional charter activities is allowed by law, but it never can be qualified as commercial use for VAT exemption purpose.

Part of the hereby provided info has been provided by ucina.net.
For any questions or additional info please email us to info@yachtwelfare.it


Download useful files and documents:

YW News “VAT” 2018 (pdf)
Resolution 6/E January 2018
Resolution 2/E Januery 2017

Italy Cancels VAT Rise

Sanremo, 21st December 2017

 

ITALY CANCELS 2018 VAT RISE: VAT STAYS THE SAME

The Italian Council of Ministers has overturned plans and announced the country’s new financial measures for 2018. Italian value-added tax will not rise in 2018, although it is scheduled to increase in 2019 and 2020 asper below listed:

10% VAT will go up by 1.5% in January 2019 and a further 1.5% in 2020.
22% VAT will increase by 2.2% in 2019 and by an additional 0.7% in 2020 and another 0.1% in 2021.
Excise Tax will also go up in 2019.

Any question can be sent to info@yachtwelfare.it.


Withhold Tax 33% in France

Withholding tax on charter revenues: has this battle been definitively won? As you may have heard MYBA and ECPY members have recently been subjected to French tax inspections in their capacity as Stakeholders. In compliance with Article 182B of the French General Tax Code, French Fiscal Authorities wanted to apply a 33% withholding tax on charter funds held by Stakeholders based in France, in relation to the commercialactivity (charters) made into the French territory and territorial waters. The withholding would apply when charter funds were transferred to Owning Companies or Yacht Owners which did not have a permanent professional establishment (business) in France and were based in jurisdiction which did not have a double tax treaty with France.
MYBA and ECPY decided to seek the official position of the tax authorities at the ‘Direction de la Législation Fiscale (DLF) in Paris. They asserted that Stakeholders are only intermediaries of on charter revenues realised in France and not the debtors.
The first reply was unfavourable but MYBA and ECPY lodged an appeal for a second interpretation by the National College. The DLF has now replied favourably, indicating that “the Stakeholder is not liable to pay the withholding tax provided for under Article 182 B of the General Tax Code”.
This is of course a great success but this is only the first stage, as now MYBA and ECPY need to ensure that this national decision is implemented at local level for the ongoing cases.
But when the battle is won at local levels are the tax authorities going to accept defeat or are they going to try to find a new debtor?
There’s still plenty of grey areas around this … stay tuned, we will release up-to-date news as soon as possible.

For any additional info or questions needed please email us to info@yachtwelfare.it.
We are always at your disposal.

VAT on Spanish Charters

Please find below some important info to know about chartering in Spain:
As is well known, chartering in countries like France, Italy or Malta can benefit from really reduced VAT rates on charter fees. This is not the case in Spain. What is the reason why? Let’s find out what are the legal grounds on which this VAT reduction is based and what other implications this legal provision has.

Article 58 of EU Council Directive 2006/112/EC, VAT Directive, entitled “criterion of effective use and enjoyment”, provides that:

In order to avoid double taxation, non-taxation or distortion of competition, Member States may, with regard to the supply of the services referred to in Article 56(1) and with regard to the hiring out of means of transport:

(a) consider the place of supply of any or all of those services, if situated within their territory, as being situated outside the Community, if the effective use and enjoyment of the services takes place outside the Community;

(b) consider the place of supply of any or all of those services, if situated outside the Community, as being situated within their territory, if the effective use and enjoyment of the services takes place within their territory.

How does this affect chartering in the EU and more specifically chartering in Spain?

As the article lays down in its first paragraph, Member States may, which means this is an optional criterion which might be applied by each Member State or not. Having said this, we must distinguish what is stipulated in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Paragraph (a) – as it is clearly defined, the provision seeks to minimize VAT taxation applicable to certain services, among them the hiring out of means of transport (for instance charter), when part of the enjoyment takes place outside the Community. This provision or approach is in place in France or Italy which allows chartering in these countries to benefit from reduced VAT rates. However, this is not the case of Spain, which making use of its optional right, did not implement this provision in the internal Spanish VAT law. Therefore, chartering in Spain is subject to a flat VAT rate which does not benefit from any reduction even sailing beyond 12 nautical miles.

Paragraph (b) – the second part of the article seeks to subject to VAT certain services, which, although according to the rules on the place of supply can be understood to be provided outside the Community, their effective enjoyment takes place in the Community. This might be the case of a charter starting in Montenegro or Gibraltar, territories outside the Community, and visiting a Member State. There are certain countries which apply this approach, such as Italy. This is the case of Spain too. Spain implemented this provision in article 70.Two of the Spanish VAT law. Therefore, although not very well known, this rule is in force in Spain.

In practical terms, this would involve for instance that a charter starting in Gibraltar and visiting Spanish territory would oblige the yacht owning company to register for VAT in Spain and to pay to the Spanish tax authorities VAT on the length of the charter taking place in Spain.
Therefore, it cannot be said that the use and enjoyment provision is not in practice in Spain. It is, but unfortunately only the more burdensome part of the EU provision is applicable.

For further information, please email our Spanish referent Mr. Alex Chumillas to alex@taxmarine.com or send your inquiry to info@yachtwelfare.it. We are always pleased to assist you and remain at your disposal.
Thank you to our Spanish partner Mr. Alex Chumillas:

Spanish VAT Regime on Supplies

Please find below a news about the VAT regime in Spain on supplies of goods to commercial yachts, released by our Spanish referent Mr. Alex Chumillas:

Most commercial yachts based in Spanish marinas are owned by European companies, which in many cases are registered for VAT purposes in their respective countries. It is very often that local Spanish suppliers and clients end up in a conflict situation over whether the goods supplied to these yachts should be subject to Spanish VAT or not. We will try to provide here an overview of the Spanish approach to this situation.
First of all, we must remind that the term “intra-Community supply” refers to goods supplied by a business in one EU Member State to a business located in another EU Member State where the goods have been transported from the territory of one Member State to another as the result of such supply.

A VAT-registered trader in one State may apply the zero rate to the supply of goods to a business customer in another Member State if:

a. the customer is registered for VAT in another Member State
b. the customer’s VAT registration number is obtained and kept in the supplier’s records
c. this number, together with the supplier’s VAT registration number, is stated on the sales invoice, and
d. the goods are dispatched or transported to another Member State

So what is the Spanish approach on this matter and more specifically on supplies to commercial yachts?

Several recent rulings issued by the Spanish Directorate of Taxes determine the current trend and approach in Spain. Among these rulings, the following deserve special attention:

1. Binding ruling dated October 2015 which considered that the supply of spare parts to transport trucks owned by VAT registered business in other member states would be subject to Spanish VAT when the supply of such parts takes place in Spain.
2. Binding ruling dated February 2016 which considered that the supply of equipment to commercial yachts owned by VAT registered entities in other member states, when the supply of goods involves an installation or assembly of the equipment by the Spanish local supplier and such installation takes place in Spanish territory, the whole supply is subject to Spanish VAT.

In addition, a couple of court judgments are relevant to this matter:

3. Judgment STS 2978/2012 of the Spanish Supreme Court of Justice which consider that, in order to consider a supply of goods as an intra-community supply, the document declaring receipt of the goods by the acquirer must clearly state that the goods were actually delivered outside Spanish territory by means of a declaration or certification of the goods’ recipient.
4. Finally we consider that the ECJ Facet case is relevant, according to which intra-Community supply would imply that the associated intra-Community acquisition should be deemed to have been made in the Member State which issued the identification number. In other words the goods should have been actually delivered to the Member State where the customer is identified for VAT purposes.

The above resolutions determine the current jurisprudential trend in Spain. The intention to remove the goods from Spanish territory is not enough, but an effective shipping or exit of the goods from the Spanish territory at the time the supply takes place in Spain. Therefore, if this condition is not met instantaneously at the time the supply becomes effective, the whole supply should be subject to Spanish VAT.

For further information, please email our Spanish referent Mr. Alex Chumillas to alex@taxmarine.com or send your inquiry to info@yachtwelfare.it. We are always pleased to assist you and remain at your disposal.

2017 Rules in Croatia

Please find below a detailed update for 2017 released by our Croatian partner:

Part of our business is keeping up with the ever changing maritime laws and regulations in the region. So with the possibility of some important changes to charter tax potentially being instated this year, we’ve been keen to inform everyone in the industry. We were going to wait until the changes took effect before sending out this update, but after hearing conflicting information from many other people in the industry outside of the country, we decided to send it out early. It covers the main VAT regulations and charter activities in Croatia that are set to change this year. Of course, we will continue to release pertinent information as we learn more from the relevant authorities. The following are the changes we have been informed of that should come into force for the upcoming 2017 season.
VAT and Charter Regulation Changes for 2017:

1. VAT will be charged to all commercial yachts that start charters (embark guests) in 3rd countries, proportionate to the time spent in Croatia. For instance, if a yacht embarks guests in Montenegro and comes to Croatia for 6 days, charter guests will need to pay Croatian VAT for 6 days.
2. All non-EU flagged commercial yachts will be allowed to perform charters in Croatia, but will be required to obtain a charter license. There is no longer a limit on the yacht’s length in order to perform charters in Croatia. The license will be valid for the calendar year. The number of licenses issued might be limited based on the Croatian market supply situation. Please note from the above info, ALL non-EU flagged commercial yachts will be able to start charters in Croatia if they obtain a charter license and have a charter and VAT representative!
3. Commercial yacht owners and owning companies are allowed to perform charters in Croatia, either through charter companies / ship agents or if they open their own charter company in Croatia.
4. Commercial yacht owners and owning companies from the EU are NOT obliged to have a VAT and fiscal representative in Croatia, while yacht owning companies from non-EU countries ARE obliged to have a VAT and fiscal representative in Croatia.
5. Private yachts will still be able to embark and disembark their guests in Croatia regardless of flag. In cases where the owner and family members are not onboard, the Captain will have to have an authorized list of people with: 1) names of guests and, 2) length of time that these guests will spend on the yacht. This list of people will have to be authorized by the Captain’s signature and the yacht’s stamp.
6. VAT for charter activities in Croatia is still 13% for weekly charters and 25% for daily charters.

As soon as the administration finalizes and publishes the relevant information under points 1 and 2 above, we will inform you immediately. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time
Advice: if you are coming to Croatia this season and plan on having a busy charter season, you should start preparing NOW.
Thank you for your time and attention. All the best and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Temporary Admission in Spain

The temporary admission procedure laid down in article 250 of the Union Customs Code – Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, which came into force on 1 May 2016, allows non-Union goods intended for re-export to be subject to specific use in the customs territory of the Union, with total or partial relief from import duty. This procedure enables non-EU registered yachts to stay within the EU with total relief from import VAT and move freely within its territorial waters with no further customs formalities for a period of 18 months.

The relevant change compared with the existing previous situation laid down in the Community Customs Code 2913/92 and Commission Regulation 2454/93 is that it is now required for yachts arriving at an EU Port coming from an Non-EU Port to submit an oral customs declaration in accordance with article 165 of Commission Delegated Regulation 2015/2446.

There are different approaches to the situation in different Mediterranean countries, as this formality is not strictly enforced everywhere and other countries, in addition to the submission of the oral declaration, require the provision of a guarantee. Here we will provide an overview on how the process works strictly in Spain.

When an application for TA is made orally, the declarant shall submit a document as referred to in Annex 71-01 containing the following information:

• name and address of the declarant;
• description of the goods, their value and quantity;
• place of use and kind of use of the goods and means of identifying them;
• period for discharge;
• customs office(s) of discharge.

Together with Annex 71-01, the following supporting documents shall be submitted:

• Yacht’s certificate of registry;
• Passport of the yacht owner;
• Yachts owned under corporations: deed of incorporation, certificate of incumbency and passport of the company director.

When the temporary import takes place in Spain, the customs authorities will not require the provision of any security or guarantee. If the customs authorities are not satisfied that the particulars declared orally are accurate or complete, the oral declaration might be refused.
Please find below some particularities of the most relevant yacht destinations in Spain.

Palma de Mallorca – first port of arrival must be the customs port of Palma. Once the paperwork has been reviewed, the yacht can head to any other port in Mallorca. In Mallorca it is required to provide either original supporting documents or verified by a Spanish public body.

Ibiza – there is no need of arrival to a customs port. The yacht can arrive to any port and submit the declaration online to the local customs office, using the system in place in the website of the Spanish tax agency.

Barcelona – there is no need of arrival to a customs port. The yacht can arrive to any port. Photocopies of the relevant documents are usually accepted.

Although customs does not expect the submission of an export declaration to close the temporary import, evidence of having visited a non EU port will be requested in order to renew the 18-month period.

For any further information, please email us to info@yachtwelfare.it or directly contact our Spanish referent Mr. Alex Chumillas, Director or Tax Marine emailing alex@taxmarine.com.