Tax inspections on foreign boats

Recreational yachts, in particular, those registered outside Spain, are currently the object of an investigation being carried out by Spanish Tax authorities. This article published in January 2013 by explains the investigation measures carried out by the Spanish Inland Revenue (AEAT), as well as details of the tax inspector’s procedure and constructive options for the taxpayer.

Published 11 years ago, updated 5 years ago

The imperious need for financial resources affecting countries in the current economic crisis has forced tax authorities, the Spanish Inland Revenue (AEAT), to tighten up on tax fraud and tax avoidance investigations as well as any potential irregularities.

Yachting is, and has been for a long time, the object of scrupulous examinations by the Inspección de Tributos, Spanish tax Inspection authorities, in line with Government approved annual inspection plan. Initially the aforementioned plans were aimed solely at Spanish national yacht owners, the idea is to uncover irregularities and fraud in the payment of the “Impuesto Especial Sobre Determinados Medios de Transporte” a Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport (particularly charter yachts) and the price of boat conveyancing, subject to VAT or ITP – Spanish transfer tax. However, the Spanish government has taken a turn to focus on revising the tax situation as regards yachts registered outside Spain but navigating Spanish waters and/or moored in Spanish ports.

The object of the investigation is to establish whether or not the foreign registered yacht is in a regular location as regards VAT and the Special Tax on Certain Means of Transport. Going back to the situation when the user of the yacht is a resident in the European Union and navigating these waters, independently of whether the yacht is private or commercial, VAT still has to be paid (and deducted in certain cases). Another scenario is that the user can benefit from the temporary importation system, the IEDMT, applied when the yacht is based in Spain for the use of a resident or for commercial purposes.

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