Spanish Taxes applied to Foreign Registered Boats

This report contains details of the Matriculation and other taxes levied on foreign registered boats.

Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago

ISDMT (or Matriculation) Tax

This is levied on boat owners who stay in Spain for more than 183 days in total (aggregate not sequential) in any one year, in other words, they are a resident. It’s important to note that this tax applies to the person, not the boat, therefore it is the days that you spend in Spain that matter – not the length of time your boat is there. It is exactly the same tax that people have to pay when they “import” (bring permanently) their family car into Spain because they have moved there.

If you remain in Spain for more than 183 consecutive days, then you have deemed a “Spanish Resident for tax purposes” and all that this entails. The good news, however, is that with a new rule approved in 2011, a former resident of an E.U. country is no longer required to change the flag of their boat to a Spanish one, they must only comply with the tax requirements.

Policing of the 183 days in a year is arbitrary since there is no recording of entry and exit dates. However, if the authorities make a reasonable assumption that you should be taxed in Spain (in other words you have been cruising into and out of the same port for the past 6 months), it will be down to you to prove them wrong with suitable evidence (passport stamps, plane tickets etc.). Having a house in Spain as well as a boat will add greatly to the authorities’ argument that you are now a Spanish resident.

If you do have to pay this tax, you can apply to register the boat with matriculation tax exemption. There are various conditions you must comply with in order to apply for the exemption and it must be requested within a maximum of 30 days since you were considered a resident or established in Spain. Consult a Yachting tax and legal consultant in Spain for more details.

Clearly, there are a great many “foreign” boats sitting in Spanish waters for long periods of time, whose owners have not been landed with this tax. However, perhaps it pays to be cautious as being found out, could cost you dearly.

Implications of the ISDMT tax are:

  • The tax rate is 12% of the value of the boat (except in the Canaries, Ceuta or Melilla).
  • If you do not volunteer and pay the tax, you could be fined for every year you have not paid it plus interest on the non-paid tax.

Other Taxes

The G-5 Tax is a tax on pleasure craft using ports, coastal installations or moorings. It is intended to provide funds for the maintenance and improvement of such installations. In effect, it is a harbour tax charged by the Province and applicable to all pleasure vessels, although few skippers appear to be aware of its existence.

Yachts have reported being charged G-5 in Valencia Province, on the Costa del Sol, and in the Canaries. It is not levied everywhere however and exactly where tends to change year on year. For boats with permanent berths in a province that charges the tax, it tends to be levied twice a year, March 1 and September 1, and is payable in advance. If you make arrangements to pay by standing order there is a discount of 20%. The G5 tax varies depending on the size of your boat, however, a 44-foot yacht will look at paying around 600 Euros a year.

Many visiting cruisers believe that if they stay for a long period of time in Spain with their boat, they are liable to pay Spanish Wealth Tax. Wealth Tax was abolished in Spain on 1st January 2009, then re-introduced on a temporary basis for the years 2012 and 2013. For tax years 2014 onwards, it has been effectively abolished once more.

Also, note that paid VAT (IVA in Spain) status is important and might be checked by the Customs (Aduana). See EuropeanUnion for more details on EU VAT/Import Duty.

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