Yacht Registration

A Guide to the Advantages of Yacht Registration in: Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Madeira (Portugal), and Malta


For high-net-worth individuals and families, yachts represent not just a mode of transport but also a symbol of luxury and leisure. Owning a yacht in the optimum manner involves various important considerations, including the jurisdiction of registration, which can have a significant impact regarding; tax implications, regulatory compliance, and operational flexibility.

Dixcart Air Marine specialises in assisting clients with yacht registration across different jurisdictions, offering expertise and guidance throughout the process.

Registration of Yachts

The registration of a yacht involves choosing the right jurisdiction, considering factors such as tax regulation, legal framework, and administrative procedures.

Dixcart Air Marine provides comprehensive services, including; coordination of the registration process, advice on tax efficiencies, and ongoing administration and management.

In addition, we can assist with; special purpose vehicles, accounting, customs arrangements, and value-added services such as directorships. Our expertise extends to import and export formalities, asset registration, and advice on VAT and corporate tax.
We handle ongoing registration requirements and closely monitor costs, budgets, and cash flow. We can also assist with crewing, including contracts and payroll.

Choosing the Right Jurisdiction

Selecting the appropriate jurisdiction for yacht registration is crucial. Each jurisdiction offers unique advantages, catering to different needs and preferences. Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Madeira (Portugal), and Malta are among the sought-after jurisdictions for yacht owners due to their; favourable tax regimes, regulatory framework, and maritime expertise.

Yacht Registration in Cyprus

Cyprus emerges as an attractive jurisdiction for yacht registration, offering competitive registration fees, low annual costs, and favourable tax provisions. The Cyprus shipping registry has witnessed significant growth and maintains high-quality standards.

Recognised on the Paris and Tokyo MOUs’ whitelists, Cyprus attracts foreign ship owners with its excellent tax benefits and quality fleet. Notable advantages include compliant VAT procedures, and a robust tonnage tax system. Additionally, Cyprus offers tax exemptions on dividend income and profits from foreign establishments, ideal for ship management companies seeking efficiency and reliability.

In May 2010, Cyprus introduced a tonnage tax system in line with EU guidelines. This system calculates the tonnage tax (TT) based on the net tonnage of eligible ships involved in qualifying shipping activities and uses a defined set of band rates as detailed in the appropriate legislation. Instead of taxing profits directly, this system assesses ships based on their size, offering flexibility for companies with diverse business operations under the same group.

Shipping activities are taxed according to ship size, while other operations face a fixed tax rate of 12.5%. Additionally, Cyprus provides various tax advantages to ship management companies, such as exemption from dividend income (under specific conditions), tax-free profits from foreign permanent establishments, and no withholding tax on income repatriation (including dividends, interest, and nearly all royalties).

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration in Cyprus, please contact: advice.cyprus@dixcart.com

Yacht Registration in Guernsey

As a member of the Red Ensign Group, Guernsey provides a reputable yacht registry, ensuring stability, tax efficiency, and regulatory compliance. Yachts registered in Guernsey benefit from competitive fees and reliable administration. Utilising a Guernsey corporate structure offers asset protection and other advantages, including access to an exclusive flag and VAT registration. Additionally, Guernsey’s international registration validity, flexible presence requirements, and VAT-free options appeal to yacht owners.

Guernsey provides competitive registration fees without tonnage tax or additional annual ship registry fees. Registrations are internationally recognised, with all documentation available in English and widely accepted.

Importantly, Guernsey-registered yachts are not obligated to visit Guernsey physically. In addition, as Guernsey lies outside the EU VAT territory, it offers advantages to non-EU resident owners who wish to operate their vessels VAT-free in Europe, under Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) relief, provided they meet eligibility criteria.

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration in Guernsey, please contact: advice.guernsey@dixcart.com

Yacht Registration in Isle of Man

The Isle of Man offers advantageous VAT arrangements for commercial charter services, allowing for VAT reclamation on purchases or importations. Yachts owned by Isle of Man-registered companies enjoy zero-rated tax on charter income, along with streamlined customs procedures and tax benefits.

Even if a yacht is not registered on the island, it can still benefit from the Isle of Man’s VAT arrangements, if owned by a company registered for VAT in the Isle of Man, as long as it is used for commercial charter services. In addition, Isle of Man structures enable VAT accounting and reclamation on yacht purchases, facilitating efficient transactions.

Charter income can be subject to a zero-tax rate in the IOM. If a yacht can accommodate ten or more passengers, including crew, it may qualify as ‘passenger transport’ for VAT purposes. In the Isle of Man or the UK, supplies of ‘passenger transport’ are VAT-exempt, while in EU member states, chartering services may be subject to local VAT regulations depending on where the charter occurs.

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration in the Isle of Man, please contact: advice.iom@dixcart.com

Yacht Registration in Madeira (Portugal)

Madeira, as part of Portugal, offers a credible and competitive option for yacht registration through its International Shipping Register. Yachts registered in Madeira benefit from EU compliance, VAT advantages, and tax incentives, making it an attractive choice for yacht owning companies.

Madeira’s International Shipping Register (MAR) maintains EU standards and is not recognised as a flag as a convenience by organizations like the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Additionally, MAR allows full access to EU waters without restrictions for commercial or private yachts. For commercial yachts, MAR offers VAT exemptions on various expenses.

Importing a second-hand yacht into the EU, particularly under Portuguese VAT rules, offers several advantages. Firstly, VAT can be applied to a lower acquisition price based on devaluation, potentially resulting in a significant VAT reduction. For commercial yachts registered on MAR and engaged in charter activities, there are VAT exemptions on the acquisition price, repairs, fuel, provisioning goods, and equipment supply, provided there is regular commercial operation and appropriate charter agreements are in place.

In addition, operational benefits include no citizenship requirements for crew, and exemption from personal income taxes, and flexible social security arrangements for crew members.

Yacht owning companies in Madeira enjoy a favourable tax regime, which includes reduced corporate income tax rates and withholding tax exemptions. Madeira companies benefit from automatic VAT registration, exemptions from initial yacht registration fees, and reduced annual fees. Furthermore, investment routing can eliminate withholding taxes on dividends.

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration in Madeira, please contact: advice.portugal@dixcart.com

Yacht Registration in Malta

Over the past decade, Malta has consolidated its status as an international Mediterranean centre of maritime excellence, with the largest shipping register in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. Additionally, Malta offers favourable conditions to yachts used for both private and commercial charter and is a world leader in commercial yacht registration. Its business-friendly environment, strategic Mediterranean location, and adherence to international maritime standards contribute to its prominence.

Maltese registered commercial yachts face no trading restrictions, and there is a fast crew-acknowledgement certification process, with a maximum three-month acknowledgement period.

When a yacht is to be used for commercial chartering, a VAT deferment can be obtained, when a yacht, to be used for a commercial operation, is imported into Malta. The yacht owner is also able to recover VAT incurred on goods and services used for the chartering operation.

Similarly when a yacht is to be used for long term leasing, a VAT deferment can be obtained, with the end user, the lessee, paying VAT on the monthly lease payments over the term of the lease. Furthermore, any usage of the yacht outside EU waters is not subject to VAT.

Sales of yachts by Maltese-licensed shipping organisations incur no Malta tax, and non-Maltese residents selling shares in a yacht-owning company are exempt from capital gains tax under Malta Tax Law.

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration in Malta, please contact: advice.malta@dixcart.com

Conclusion and Contact Details

Selecting the right jurisdiction for yacht registration is paramount for maximizing benefits and ensuring regulatory compliance. With its expertise and global presence, Dixcart Air Marine assists clients in navigating the complexities of yacht ownership, offering tailored solutions to meet their specific needs and preferences. Whether interested in registering a yacht in; Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta, or Portugal, yacht owners can rely on Dixcart’s practical experience to facilitate a smooth registration process and unlock the advantages of each jurisdiction.

If you would like further information regarding Yacht Registration, and aren’t sure what jurisdiction, please contact advice@dixcart.com for further assistance.

Ship Registration

A Guide to the Advantages of Ship Registration in: Cyprus, Guernsey, Madeira (Portugal), and Malta


Selecting the appropriate jurisdiction for ship registration is a critical decision for ship owners, as this decision impacts on; tax liabilities, operational flexibility, and regulatory compliance.

Dixcart Air Marine, with its extensive experience and global presence, offers comprehensive services to guide clients through the ship registration process in various jurisdictions. From pre-structuring advice to ongoing administration and management, Dixcart ensures a smooth and efficient process for their clients.

Ship registration is complex and while this guide includes relevant and useful information, you will also need to speak to one of our experts: advice@dixcart.com

Ship Registration Services Provided by Dixcart Air Marine

Dixcart Air Marine offers comprehensive support for vessel importation into the EU, ensuring efficient customs clearance procedures. Our expertise extends to establishing ownership structures and facilitating registration in the preferred jurisdiction, complemented by additional services to maintain compliance.

Dixcart’s corporate structuring assistance includes; accounting, secretarial, and ongoing corporate services, including directorships and filing essential returns.

Services Available from Dixcart

  • Coordination and registration of the ship
  • Assistance with the importation of the vessel into the EU, including any necessary customs arrangements
  • Expertise on the relevant holding structure in the jurisdiction of choice
  • Advice regarding a variety of tax incentives that may be applicable, including advice on VAT and corporate tax
  • Administration and management of day-to-day operations, including accounting and secretarial services, monitoring costs, budgets and cash flow in relation to assets, and any statutory requirements
  • Additional services, such as directorships or the provision of corporate office holders
  • Assistance with crewing, including payroll and crew contracts

Choosing the Right Jurisdiction

Different jurisdictions offer unique advantages for ship registration, ranging from tax incentives to the regulatory framework. Research, planning, and professional advice are crucial in selecting the jurisdiction that best aligns with the owner’s objectives.

Dixcart provides professional advisers and clients with the necessary expertise to make informed decisions and maximise the benefits of ship registration. We offer direct experience and expertise in ship registration across the following jurisdictions, where Dixcart has offices; Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Madeira (Portugal), and Malta.

Ship Registration in Cyprus- Features and Advantages

Cyprus has emerged as an attractive jurisdiction for ship registration, offering competitive advantages such as favourable tax provisions, low registration fees, and a growing shipping registry with international recognition. The Cyprus shipping registry has made significant strides in enhancing the quality of its fleet and related services.

Cyprus is now on the Paris and Tokyo MoU’s whitelist. Its benefits include VAT exemption on international transport outside the EU, income tax exemption for crew, and a competitive corporate tax rate. Cyprus offers a compliant tonnage tax system, protection for financiers, and adherence to maritime conventions. With competitive costs, Cyprus ship registration is an attractive choice in the industry.

Cyprus offers tax exemptions to international transport services, including VAT exemptions for operations outside the EU, and tax-free crew income on Cypriot vessels. Introduced in 2010, Cyprus operates under a tonnage tax system, aligned with EU standards and calculated based on net tonnage. This system replaces corporate tax, allowing mixed activities within groups.

Tax advantages also include exemptions for; dividend income, foreign profits, and withholding tax on income repatriation. Competitive registration costs further boost Cyprus’ appeal as a maritime hub.

If you would like further information regarding Ship Registration in Cyprus, please contact advice.cyprus@dixcart.com

Ship Registration in Guernsey- Features and Advantages

Guernsey’s reputable ship registry, coupled with its membership of the Red Ensign Group, ensures stability, tax efficiency, and regulatory compliance for registered ships. With streamlined administrative processes and access to a respected flag, Guernsey provides an attractive environment for ship owners looking for reliability and professionalism.

Guernsey’s rich maritime history continues with specialist services available to the marine industry. The registry accommodates vessels up to 150 gross tonnages, including pleasure yachts, with potential future tonnage increases. Commercial vessels of up to 24 meters in load line length can register, provided they comply with safety regulations. Efficient payroll solutions are also available, which comply with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

If you would like further information regarding Ship Registration in Guernsey, please contact advice.guernsey@dixcart.com

Ship Registration in Madeira (Portugal)- Features and Advantages

Madeira, as part of Portugal, offers a credible option for ship registration with EU compliance, VAT advantages, and tax incentives for ship owning companies. With its competitive advantages and strategic location, Madeira provides a valuable opportunity for ship owners seeking efficiency and flexibility in their operations.

The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) was established in 1989 as part of the Madeira International Business Centre (“MIBC”) “package” of taxation benefits. Vessels registered with MAR carry the Portuguese flag and are subject to the International Treaties and Conventions entered by Portugal. MAR is recognised for its high standards, EU credibility, and inclusion in the Paris MOU whitelist, ensuring reliable maritime operations.

Ship-owners registering vessels in MAR face no nationality restrictions and do not need a head office in Madeira; it is sufficient to have local legal representation with adequate powers. With just 30% of safe manning required to be “European”, flexible crew arrangements are allowed, with possible derogation if justified. Crew wages are exempt from income tax and social security charges in Portugal.

Additionally, MAR offers a flexible mortgage system, letting parties select the governing legal system for mortgage terms. Competitive registration fees, no annual tonnage taxes, and temporary registration options, such as bareboat chartering, are also available.

Shipping companies licensed in MAR enjoy a reduced 5% corporate tax rate until 2027. They also receive automatic VAT registration. Additionally, they benefit from exemptions on withholding taxes and capital gains tax under certain conditions. MAR also enables access to all Portuguese Double Taxation Treaties and Investment Protection Treaties, further enhancing tax advantages.

If you would like further information regarding Ship Registration in Madeira, please contact advice.portugal@dixcart.com

Ship Registration in Malta- Features and Advantages

Malta boasts the largest shipping register in Europe, offering a wide range of benefits for registered ships. From preferential treatment in ports to adherence to international conventions, Malta provides a comprehensive framework for ship owners seeking reliability and regulatory compliance. Additionally, Malta offers various tax incentives and exemptions, making it an attractive jurisdiction for ship registration.

The Malta registry is on the Paris MOU and Tokyo MOU whitelists, with no trading restrictions for vessels under the Maltese flag. The Maltese Shipping Tonnage Tax System provides tax dependent on tonnage, with exemptions for shipping activities. Ship management activities are now included in the tonnage tax system, exempting income derived from such activities.

Under the Malta Tonnage Tax System, taxation is determined by the size of vessels owned by a specific ship-owner or manager involved in maritime transport, following Maritime Guidelines. Unlike standard corporate tax rules, shipping operations are subject to an annual tax that includes a registration fee and annual tonnage charge, which decreases as the vessel ages. Fees depend on the vessel’s size, with younger ships receiving discounts and those aged 25-30 years incurring the highest charges.

If you would like further information regarding Ship Registration in Malta, please contact advice.malta@dixcart.com

Conclusion and Contact Details

Selecting the right jurisdiction and professional adviser, such as Dixcart, for ship registration is essential for maximising benefits and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Dixcart Air Marine, with its expertise and global presence, offers tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of ship owners. Whether attracted to; Cyprus, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Madeira (Portugal), or Malta, ship owners can rely on Dixcart to provide expert guidance and practical solutions throughout the registration process.

If you would like further information regarding Ship Registration, and aren’t sure on which jurisdiction, please contact advice@dixcart.com for assistance.

Channel Islands Commerical Aircraft Registry: Case History Highlighting the Advantages of Temporary Registration


Established in December 2013, “2-REG”, the Channel Islands Aircraft Registry, is the aircraft registry of the States of Guernsey. The nationality mark is ‘2’ followed by four letters, allowing for attractive registration marks.

There have been 94 registrations to date of lessor owned aircraft, corporate aircraft, including a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, and locally owned aircraft. The registry is also able to award Air Operator Certificates, and benefits from being party to the Cape Town Convention, the international aviation standard relating to aviation assets.

The Registration Process

The process for aircraft registration involves a review of corporate and aircraft due diligence. This applies to the 40 countries where financial services business regulations are considered equivalent to local Guernsey standards.

For countries not on this list, the 2-REG requires a Resident Agent in Guernsey, who must be a licensed fiduciary, to be appointed to undertake this work. 

What is the Role of a Resident Agent?

The Resident Agent is required to undertake a review of due diligence (corporate and aircraft) to the standard expected by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, and to report their findings to the registry. In addition, the Resident Agent must act as liaison between the aircraft owner and the registry and submit the registration applications.

Dixcart Trust Corporation Limited in Guernsey is a registered Resident Agent for the 2-REG Registry.

Case Study and How Temporary Registration on 2-REG Solved a Problem

The Dixcart office in Guernsey was recently approached by a Turkish commercial air cargo carrier to act as Resident Agent for a temporary registration of an Airbus A300.

The aircraft was moving from the American FAA registry to the Civil Aviation Register of Turkey. The Turkish register required a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) as part of its registration requirements.

The FAA, however, has shifted policy recently and is less willing to issue documents for aircraft that are not in the United States or destined to go to the United States.

The solution was to apply for a temporary registration on 2-REG allowing the appropriate airworthiness inspections to be undertaken and a CofA issued to allow onward registration in Turkey.

On receipt of properly certified due diligence relating to: the company, directors, ultimate beneficial owners and the aircraft, a full compliance review was carried out by Dixcart and this formed the basis of the report to 2-REG, in addition to the relevant registration forms being submitted.

Dixcart Guernsey and International Business Support

This type of fiduciary work it is a good example of the wider support that Dixcart in Guernsey, and other offices across the Dixcart Group, offer to corporate, private and family office clients.

It also reflects the wider business friendly and ‘can do’ environment that the Guernsey Government has fostered and which helps to support and deliver global solutions. These include the 2-REG aircraft registry, the Channel Island Securities Exchange, HNWI relocation and domicile, and highly respected fiduciary, captive insurance and fund sectors.

Additional Information

If you require any additional information on this topic, please speak to your usual Dixcart contact or to Bruce Watterson at the Dixcart office in Guernsey: advice.guernsey@dixcart.com.