On the 26th September 2017 Transport Minister, Dr Ian Borg, announced a 63% increase in the number of new entries in the Maltese shipping register since 2012, affirming that Malta’s shipping register remains the largest in the EU, and the sixth largest globally. Up to the end of August, more than 8,000 ships, with a combined gross tonnage of 74 million were flying the Maltese flag, compared to the 66 million gross tonnes registered at the end of 2015. The superyacht industry alone, registered a record 97% increase in the number of new registrations over the last 12 months.
Advantages of the Malta Flag, securing its position as the Flag of Confidence, include:
- reputable and internationally recognised register;
- clear strategic political vision supporting business and the maritime industry;
- excellent international relations;
- European flag with a long maritime tradition;
- dynamic administration with IMO/EU proactive participation;
- direct access to the regulators, offering a 24/7 service in respect of urgent matters;
- yachts may be registered under the Malta flag, irrespective of whether the owner is a natural person or corporate entity, and irrespective of nationality or jurisdiction thereof;
- Malta is on the White List of the Paris MoU;
- attractive incentives to owners, registered charterers and financiers of Maltese ships;
- no restrictions on the sale or mortgaging of Maltese registered yachts and superyachts;
- well-organised and highly responsive flag Administration that values long-term customer relationships;
- good understanding of the industry;
- availability of technical assistance from a team of qualified and experienced mariners;
- no nationality restrictions for master, officers and crew;
- Maltese requirements are well known to main shipyards and main classification societies;
- competitive ship registration costs and tax benefits to qualifying vessels through the tonnage tax system.
Continuously building on the reputation and success of the local maritime industry, Malta has additionally implemented a number of fiscal planning incentives.
Specifically for yachts and super yachts registered as pleasure yachts and used for pleasure in the EU, Malta offers an advantageous regime for the minimization of VAT, which could be reduced to a rate as low as 5.4%, based on assumptions as to how much time is spent in EU territorial waters, through a leasing set-up.
A similar approach is adopted with respect to short-term chartering, whereby the assumption as to how much of charter-time is spent in EU, coupled with the VAT ‘place of supply rules for services’, could potentially minimise the VAT due on the charter income to as low as 5.4%.
At Nexia BT we can assist individual and corporate clients in all facets of vessel ownership, from the incorporation of a shipping company and company maintenance, to the registration of commercial or private yachts, the setting up of VAT Yacht leasing structures, chartering and leasing agreements, and tax and VAT advice, ensuring, in a professional and proficient manner, that clients optimise their yacht ownership.
For more information on the subject contact Dr Alexandra Dimech | International Client Services | Nexia BT.