2016 Proposed TAX Regime for Yachts in France

France, home to superyachting!

The leading position that France occupies in the worldwide yachting industry is directly linked to the presence and utilisation of yachts within its waters. A proper welcome ensures an important economic impact on the French economy, whether directly, indirectly or induced. The multidisciplinary Nautical Industries Federation represents these stakes with the public authorities.

The judgment rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union on December 22nd 2010, in regards to the Bacino Charter case, called into question the tax system regarding VAT for commercially registered yachts. The disruption was greatly detrimental to the previous economic pattern and impacted the presence of yachts in French waters.

Aware of the difficulties that ensued, the tax authorities allowed an adaptation period for those involved. The new rules applicable to charter contracts, concluded for pleasure purposes, identical to the regulations of pleasure boat rentals, were put into effect on July 15th 2013. The definition of a vessel assigned to navigate the high seas was amended as of January 1st 2015.

Furthermore and according to the regulations established by community law, Article 265a of the Customs Code, supplemented by the by-law of December 17th 2015 excludes the supply of tax exempted energy products for domestic consumption of commercially registered vessels that are chartered for any purpose other than commercial use by the end user. However, a moratorium has been granted by the customs administration until October 1st, 2016. Following this date, any chartered vessel caught boarding passengers in France for pleasure purposes by the end user, must pay taxes on all fuel products.

Due to a fiercely competitive tax system between states, the exodus of yachts from French waters is not only possible but almost certain.

Facing this threat, the FIN and its partners, the French committee of yachting professionals, have not remained idle. Since 2012, a brainstorming exercise has been underway to find a solution that would enable France to remain enticing in this economic sector.

Following discussions between the Directorate-general for customs and indirect taxes, the Directorate of tax legislation, CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre and the Nautical industries federation, it is apparent that the appeal can be restored through new means of utilising yachts by creating a contract, recognized by the above participants and under certain conditions, that covers the taxation and customs issues in a more secure and enticing way.

This new contractual framework will offer clients quality services under revised circumstances. The limited consequences in terms of insurance for the ship owner have been determined. The brokers’ role in defining the terms and signing the contract would lead them to become travel agents/tour operators. They would acquire a licence, professional civil liability insurance and financial security insurance. Each of these points has been taken into consideration.

The FIN is inviting its adherents to study the content of this contract and share any observations they may have, before September 30th. As well, they will accompany the brokers to the public authorities to obtain the travel agents licence. In addition, professional civil liability and financial guarantee insurance will be offered.

We need you, your expertise and your opinion in this innovative approach to finalize YOUR future maritime cruising contract for yachts limited to 12 passengers. Join us today on www.fin.fr

Yves Lyon-Caen, President of the Nautical Industries Federation

Gérard Lachkar, Vice-President of the FIN, Appointed Advisor for PACA

Frédéric Verrons, Administrator of the FIN, Appointed Advisor for Corsica

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