EU VAT & Yachts - Frequently Asked Questions


1. I am an EU resident using my yacht for private pleasure use in the EU – does my yacht need to be EU VAT paid?

Yes – the EU authorities will expect your vessel to be VAT paid.

2. I am an EU resident using my yacht for private pleasure use in the EU – can I reduce the amount of VAT to be paid on my yacht for example through the leasing of my yacht?

Historically many yacht owners have legally been able to pay a reduced amount of VAT through the leasing of their yachts in accordance with guidelines laid down by certain EU member states, such as Malta and Cyprus. It is now the stated the intention of the EU going forward that yacht owners are expected to pay the full amount of VAT when due.

3. I am an EU resident using my yacht for private pleasure use in the EU – can I legally avoid the payment of VAT by owning and/or registering my vessel in a Non-EU jurisdiction?

No – the EU authorities ‘look through’ any non EU ownership and/or registration that a yacht may have and determine the liability to pay VAT on a yacht on the residence of the principal users of the vessel – in simple terms this is the person(s) who are enjoying the yacht.

4. Can I avoid paying VAT on my yacht by running it as a yacht charter business?

Yachts that are run as bona fide commercial businesses can in certain limited circumstances qualify for VAT exemption. We have produced a guide to some of the fiscal and legal considerations of yacht charter in the EU that includes a section concerning VAT exemption that can be found here on our website at the following link:

The Charter of Yachts in the EU – A Guide

5. I am a Non-EU resident using my yacht for private pleasure use in the EU – does my yacht need to be EU VAT paid?

Potentially you can keep the vessel within the EU without paying if you can comply with the EU rules for Temporary Admission. See our online guide here for further information:

As a caveat we would stress that we are a yacht registration and documentation agency and not legal and/or tax advisers so none of the foregoing information should be treated as any kind of formal legal or tax advice. Readers are therefore advised to take appropriate professional advice specific to their individual circumstances before taking any action based on the contents of this or any other page of this website or any correspondence with ourselves.

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Oceanskies Limited

Castle Emplacement

St. Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1AU

Channel Islands, Great Britain

Malta Office

Oceanskies (Malta) Limited

56, Ground Floor, Europa Centre

Saint Anne Street,

Floriana FRN 9011, Malta

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