Project Description

Here we cover the topics of

  • Yacht Registration
  • Yacht Legal and Tax
  • Provision of fiscal representation for chartering yachts operating in Spain, France and Italy which entails VAT registration and filing of quarterly VAT returns
  • Obtaining chartering licenses in Spain and applying for exemption of matriculation taxes.

Yacht Registration

We work with companies which are set up to register vessels not only under British Red Ensign, but now registering, administering and managing vessels worldwide. With affiliate offices in 25 countries all over the world, our providers registration speed and efficiency (and friendliness!) is second to none.

Our providers offer advice to clients on which flag would suit their individual needs, and of course should it be required, we can also prepare a specific tailored corporate structure for holding and protecting a vessel.

Where to register

There are an increasing number of jurisdictions available for yacht owners. Whilst the yacht registration process is very similar with common requirements to all of them, there are some individual aspects that should be taken into consideration before making a final choice.

  • Initial and on-going registration costs.
  • Eligibility for registration will depend generally on the age of the yacht and most importantly, the nationality of the individual or corporate owner.
  • Crew nationality restrictions for commercial yachts
  • Acceptability to finance entities
  • Survey requirements

There are a number of other factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the most convenient jurisdiction to complete the registration of the vessel. These include the intended use of the yacht (e.g. whether it is to be commercially or privately operated), expected operating area of the yacht or owner’s nationality and domicile.

Generally we can assist with yacht registration in the following jurisdictions:

Red Ensign Flag States

  • Gibraltar
  • Isle of Man
  • United Kingdom
  • Cayman Islands
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • Bermuda
Other Popular Flag States

  • Malta
  • Bahamas
  • Marshall Islands
  • Seychelles
  • Mauritius
  • UAE
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Belize
  • Cook Islands
  • Cyprus

Registration procedure

The requirements to complete the registration of the vessel will vary depending on the type of registration that is applied for (e.g. pleasure, commercial, bareboat charter) and the dimensions of the yacht. Typically yachts of over 24 meters in lengh will be required to present extra documentation and surveys to the respective Shipping Registry.

Generally, the procedure and requested documents would include the following requirements:

  • The proposed name for the yacht is cleared with the Port of Registry.
  • The yacht must have a Tonnage Measurement Survey carried out by a recognized classification society (e.g. Bureau Veritas, RINA, YBDSA, Det Norske Veritas etc).
  • For new yachts, a Builders Certificate must be produced and for a pre-owned yacht a notarised Bill of Sale (both in order to prove title or ownership over the vessel).
  • If the vessel has been previously registered, cancellation of registration will be required and the original deletion certificate will need to be submitted to the Registry together with the application forms for the re-registration.

We are dealing with selected Registration Agents, who can attend to all these matters to ensure that the correct procedures are followed and the correct forms are submitted for registration purposes.

Legal and Tax

We work with maritime specific lawyer and accountant. We can introduce you when the need arises.

Yacht Corporate ownership

Broadly speaking, most Registers will only register yachts which are owned by nationals of their flag state or the economic territory that the jurisdiction belongs to. However, even if the yacht owner nationality does not qualify for yacht registration in any particular jurisdiction, by having their vessels owned by an appropriate company, anyone can benefit from any flag state yacht registration.

The use of a suitable yacht owning company may also facilitate legitimate tax mitigation as well as asset protection and estate planning.

Using a company to own and operate a yacht does not only provide some privacy to the ultimate owner but will also limit the owner’s liability in the event of a claim. While yachts are designed for recreational purposes, they are movable assets with a very important element of risk. They are generally owned by a special purpose vehicle which will avoid any individual entering into agreements and contracts when employing crew members, negotiating the purchase or construction of the vessel and generally contracting with third parties.

The estimated annual operating costs of a yacht will run at about 10 to 12% of the initial purchase price. Structuring the ownership through a company will assist in accounting for yacht expenses and help optimise running costs.

Genuine yacht chartering structures are able to reclaim any VAT paid on the supply of the yacht or may even be zero-rated depending on the applicable intra-community rules. The yacht chartering entity must be VAT-registered and therefore it must be demonstrated that the yacht will be operated on a commercial basis. The commercial aspect of the company is not only important when obtaining VAT registration but also must be demonstrated during the on-going operation of the yacht to maintain that registration.

While each case is different and should be assessed on case by case basis, transferring the vessel on sale by transfer of the shares in the company avoids the relatively expensive and protracted procedures which are necessary to change the ownership of the vessel at the registry. Corporate ownership allows the sale to be effected much more easily, quickly and cheaply.

Through our experienced business partners we can offer the following unique services:

  • Provision of fiscal representation for chartering yachts operating in Spain, France and Italy which entails VAT registration and filing of quarterly VAT returns
  • Obtaining chartering licenses in Spain and applying for exemption of matriculation taxes.
Contact Us for more information