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Croatia: Sailing magnet now, but what after she joins the EU in July?

By Sail-World.com — last modified Jun 25, 2013 11:34 AM
Croatia is a drawcard for cruising sailors from all over the world. They float around from other European ports, they arrive as circumnavigators with Croatia one of their 'must sees', or they fly from America and Australia to charter yachts around Croatia's charismatic and sailor-friendly coastline. But in a few days time she will become a member of the EU. That may mean a lot for Croatia, but what will it mean for the cruising sailor?

Published: 2013-06-24 23:00:00
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: Croatia

Croatia: Sailing magnet now, but what after she joins the EU in July?

© Sail-World.com

This report by Sail-World.com

Here Ayuk Ntuiabane from the Isle of Man financial services firm Moore Stephens, writes of the ramifications that will affect all visiting leisure sailors.

Why is the country so popular with sailors? First is the country’s natural assets. With its long coastline, myriad coves, islands and exceptional water, Croatia has been a magnet for yachting in the periphery of the EU. Second, the island archipelago has made much of these natural assets, which it promotes vigorously to the yachting industry.

Third, lying just on the other side of Italy where EU VAT was never an issue, Croatia provided the nearest foreign shore for yachts to touch on that side of the Adriatic or the Med in order to evidence tax-free export from the EU or tax suspended temporary admission from outside the EU. Thus, despite being outside the EU’s fiscal fence, Croatia seemed to pick up the rebound benefits of EU yachting.

Fourth, Croatia’s own yachting taxation regime will remain largely intact, on top of the EU VAT regime it must adopt.

Fifth, Croatia introduced in November a new reduced VAT rate on yachts which, while turning heads, has created a bit of a stir that has landed the country in a tricky place.

But who goes there after July 1 has to learn to cope with a fairly peculiar administrative environment characterized by officialdom, special permits, lengthy procedures and numerous non-tax fees. There are arrival and departure reporting obligations and a ubiquitous vignette system that is charged per passenger or crew and for any change of same.

There are fees associated with permits and renewed permits for foreign vessels to navigate in internal waters and fees to navigate in the territorial sea, safety-of-navigation fees, light dues, information chart fees and government administration fees. With relatively few mooring and related facilities, daily mooring rates can also be steep.

These aspects are not new, but the advent of traffic tracking systems -- thanks to the requirement for EU accession states to have radio-navigation systems and a Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS) -- will give Croatia the capacity now to enforce these fees and costs on even transiting yachts.

Continue reading this story at Sail-World.com

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