The Isle Of Man Aircraft Registry: 10 Years of Success

Background

The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry was established by the Isle of Man Government in 2007, primarily to bring additional economic prosperity to the Isle of Man’s private sector. From a very small beginning, the team now comprises around 20 aviation specialists with the business ethos of ‘Safety and Service’.

Currently led by the Director of Civil Aviation, Simon Williams, the registry continues to grow and expand its services, while continuing to meet the highest regulatory standards for a private aircraft registry.

  • The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry has registered more than 925 aircraft since commencing operations and is now the 6th largest private/corporate aircraft registry in the world.
  • The Registry was named ‘Best Global Aviation Registry’ in World Commerce Review Magazine’s 2017 awards. The panel considered: product innovation, ongoing customer support and best practice as part of its core criteria.

Services Offered by the Registry

The Registry specialises in quality private and corporate business jets, with a tailored process, including the following key services:

  • Registering aircraft
  • Mortgage services
  • Licence validations, changes and renewals
  • Certificates of Airworthiness for Export, and Deregistration
  • Flight operations – supporting gaining the necessary operational approvals
  • Registration of aircraft between commercial leases
  • Approving the airworthiness of aircraft

Benefits of Registration in the Isle of Man

The Register

  • The largest European based private and corporate aircraft register
  • Neutral nationality registration prefix ‘M’
  • Competitive scheme of charges
  • Secure mortgage register
  • High service levels and a quality international reputation
  • No insurance premium tax

The Jurisdiction of the Isle of Man

  • The Isle of Man is on the OECD ‘white list’ of countries complying with the global standard for tax cooperation and exchange of information and is a jurisdiction with high regulatory standards
  • Clear and simple taxation regime
  • European time zone
  • Stable legal and political environment
  • Professional infrastructure with experience in aviation finance

Aircraft Regulatory Standards in the Isle of Man

  • As a Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom (UK), the Isle of Man falls wthin the UK’s ratification of the Chicago Convention.
  • International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Standards and Recommended Practices are implemented in the Isle of Man and all of the information required under the ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is maintained and updated in the Isle of Man.
  • The Isle of Man was audited by the ICAO in 2009 as part of the UK USOAP inspection. It performed very strongly with results comparable to countries with safety regulatory regimes that have been in existence for far longer.

Summary

The key advantages of the Isle of Man Aircraft Register is that it is a commercial registrar, complying with high regulatory standards, with a very supportive Government, in a Moody’s Aa2 rated jurisdiction. Registrar staff have a strong technical and customer focused approach.

The ‘M’ reg itself is an additional benefit, with many owners choosing to customise the use of the ‘M’ on their private jet to link to business or family names. The M prefix can also be transferred on to the next private jet when buying a new aircraft.

Additional Information

If you require any further information regarding the above article, please speak to your usual Dixcart contact or to David Walsh at the Dixcart office in the Isle of Man: advice.iom@dixcart.com

Dixcart Management (IOM) Limited is Licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.

Pleasure Boats in Malta

Additional Reasons to Consider Malta for Yachting Solutions

Malta: Recent History – the Marine Sector

Over the past decade, Malta has consolidated its status as an international Mediterranean centre of maritime excellence. Currently Malta has the largest shipping register in Europe and the sixth largest in the world. In addition, Malta has become a world leader for commercial yacht registration.

As well as its strategic position, in the centre of the Mediterranean, one of the main contributors to Malta’s success is the business-friendly environment adopted by the Maltese authorities. The authorities are approachable and flexible in their practices, while at the same time meticulously follow a rigid framework of guidelines and regulations, and this has created a cutting edge for Malta within this sector.

Additional Benefits in Terms of VAT – Maltese Registered Yachts

The Malta Authorities recently announced further attractive measures, which have already been put in place, regarding the importation of yachts to Malta.

Yachts, intended for commercial use, can be imported into the EU via Malta, for  relevant VAT and customs procedures to be undertaken.  Subsequently, the yacht can then be chartered, and can sail freely within EU waters.

Apart from the already inherent attraction for yachts to be imported into Malta, due to the low VAT rate of 18%, yachts used for commercial chartering can benefit from VAT deferral. The deferral mechanism has now been made more attractive as follows:

  • Deferment of VAT on the importation of commercial yachts, by Maltese owning entities having a Maltese VAT registration, without the requirement for the importing entity to set up a bank guarantee;
  • Deferment of VAT on importation of commercial yachts, by EU owning entities having a Maltese VAT registration, provided that the company appoints a VAT agent in Malta, without the requirement for the importing entity to set up a bank guarantee;
  • Deferment of VAT on importation of commercial yachts by non–EU owning entities, as long as the importing entity sets up a bank guarantee for VAT, equivalent to 0.75% of the value of the yacht, capped at €1 million.

Dixcart: Yacht Registration Experience 

Our office in Malta has extensive experience and can assist clients with all of the commercial aspects in relation to yacht ownership:

  • Yacht ownership structures
  • Importation of yachts
  • Flag registrations
  • Deferment applications
  • Crew payrolls
  • Day-to-day administration
  • VAT registration in multiple jurisdictions
  • Resident agent services
  • Tax and VAT advice
  • Accounting and secretarial services

Assistance 

The Dixcart office in Malta has professionals who can assist your business with all aspects of yacht registration in  Malta and can help ensure that you take advantage of the specific VAT deferment, applicable to your circumstances. Please speak to your usual Dixcart contact, or alternatively, please email: advice.malta@dixcart.com.

Isle of Man: A First-Choice jurisdiction for Non-EU Superyacht Owners

The Isle of Man has a long history of maritime structuring, and Superyacht planning in particular. In recent times, there has been a growing trend in the use of Isle of Man Corporate vehicles for the ownership of Non-EU clients’ Superyachts.

In this short article we will take a flying look at why the Isle of Man has become a first-choice jurisdiction for Non-EU Superyacht Owners. Although there are specific planning opportunities depending on the owner’s jurisdiction of Tax Residency, we will take a focus on the more general advantage that Temporary Admission offers.

1. About The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a self-governing Crown Dependency, possessing its own Government which sets the island’s laws and tax regime. The Isle of Man offers a tax-friendly environment for corporate entities, making it a prime location for establishing Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for luxury asset holding and more. Notably, the island features zero rates for Corporate Tax and Capital Gains Tax.

In almost all facets the Isle of Man is independent from the United Kingdom – almost all. Importantly, as a Crown Dependency, the UK is responsible for the island’s international affairs. Prior to Brexit, the Isle of Man had a special relationship with the European Union that allowed the island to take part in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market enjoyed by Member States.

When the UK left the EU, the island’s special relationship also came to an end, meaning the Isle of Man also lost its unique access to the EU Customs Union and Single Market.

Whilst the end of the special relationship undoubtedly had mixed results, one positive outcome was access to a VAT importation procedure known as Temporary Admission. Temporary Admission applies to the importation of a wide range of goods, including Superyachts for our purposes.

You can read more about why you should consider the Isle of Man for Yachting Post-Brexit here.

2. Temporary Admission Overview

Superyachts originating from outside the EU must be imported into the Customs Union, which can subject them to VAT at the local standard rate. This would result in a VAT liability based on the vessel’s value at the time of importation at the prevailing rate within the country of importation. Therefore, this represents a significant cost for owners of boats in excess of 24m+ in length. However, Temporary Admission (TA) can help mitigate this for private yachts.

The Istanbul Convention on TA is a Customs procedure and allows defined goods, such as means of transportation like Superyachts, to be brought into the Customs Territory with total or partial relief from import duties and taxes, subject to meeting certain conditions. For example, the goods must be imported for ‘Specific Purpose’ and are intended for re-exportation within a specified period (Article CUSTMS.16(1)).

Where TA is applicable, owners established outside of the EU who are operating private Superyachts are exempt from VAT on import, albeit Customs Duty relief varies, dependent on the jurisdiction’s classification of the vessel and its Specific Purpose for being imported.


We have provided a quick reference diagram that covers the headline details and requirements below:

Superyacht Holding Structure for Temporary Admission

Rarely is it a good idea to own a luxury asset directly, especially in the instance of a Superyacht or Aircraft. Utilising a corporate holding entity is not only helpful for mitigating indirect tax implications, but also ringfencing the legal liability of financing and operating the craft.

You can read more about the benefits of utilising an Isle of Man SPV for the ownership and financing of your Superyacht here.

As corporate ownership is the preferred method of ownership in 99% of cases, the domicile of the company will be particularly relevant if cruising in EU waters is desirable. Therefore, the owner will need to incorporate a holding entity in any Non-Eu jurisdiction to utilise Temporary Admission.

Note that the jurisdiction of establishment in this case does not necessarily have to be the same as the chosen flag of the vessel. You can read more about the various popular shipping / yacht registries here.

The Isle of Man presents a neutral tax base and stable legislative environment that is well-regarded globally for its professional services and approach to regulation. Where the Isle of Man is elected for the holding vehicle, typically either an Isle of Man Companies Act 2006 Company and/or an Isle of Man Limited Partnership incorporated with Limited Liability are the vehicles of choice. You can read more about these corporate vehicles and more in this article.

You can find some relevant case studies that cover the use of Isle of Man corporate structuring for Superyacht holding here.

3. Your Trust & Corporate Service Provider

Choosing the right Trust & Corporate Service Provider (TCSP) for your Superyacht holding vehicle is a crucial decision that requires the careful consideration of several key factors. Below you will find a short list of questions to help ensure that you select a provider that aligns with your objectives.

Is the Trust and Corporate Service Provider Well Established?

Dixcart Isle of Man has been providing Corporate Services to the owners of High Net Worth Individuals and Family Offices for over 30 years and are exceptionally well positioned to assist clients seeking to undertake corporate structuring regarding their Superyachts.

Does the Trust and Corporate Service Provider Have Professionally Qualified and Experienced Staff and Will you Have a Dedicated Point of Contact?

Our qualified accountants, trustees, chartered Secretaries, compliance professionals and more will always be on hand to assist. Due to our low levels of staff turnover, you can be confident that the relationships you build with our team will be long lasting. The Directors appointed to your holding structure will be your dedicated points of contact from beginning to end.

Does the Trust and Corporate service provider have a Transparent Fee Structure?

As most admin and compliance carried out by Trust and Corporate Service Providers is delivered on a ‘time-spent’ basis (i.e. at hourly rates), you need to ensure that the fees are transparent and that you will never be billed without understanding what it is you are paying for. At Dixcart, we prioritise transparency and undertake regular reviews to ensure a fair and open relationship with our clients and advisers. We always provide advance notice and secure client approval before taking any fee-related actions, as we believe trust is essential in nurturing sustainable relationships.

Does the Trust & Corporate Service Provider have robust compliance and regulatory standards?

Whilst it may not initially seem like the highest priority, it cannot be understated just how important the internal governance and compliance controls of the Trust and Corporate Service Provider are. This essential work is the backbone of any risk management, providing the front line of defence when it comes to any legal or tax challenges. Additionally, as the Trust & Corporate Service Provider will likely have a number of clients, you will want to ensure that their working practices are robust and in line with best practices. For example, where the TCSP runs into regulatory issues it can lead to clients having to search for a new service provider – which can be a costly and time-consuming job. At Dixcart we identify compliance as a competitive advantage, simply because it means we’re here for the long run. Our clients can rest assured that all activity is undertaken with a view to true sustainability.

Does the Trust & Corporate Service Provider have access to a body of industry professionals?

Dixcart Isle of Man have cultivated robust partnerships with leading experts across various relevant fields in the yachting industry, ranging from tax and legal planning to yacht construction, yacht management and more. This means that no matter what stage you are at, whether a new build or existing structure, we can assist clients in achieving their objectives.

4. More Than Just Superyachts

This last section is just to simply note that, where we can undertake Superyacht structuring for clients and their advisers, there are often other planning opportunities that we can assist with.

For instance, where the client is living in a jurisdiction that is not their country of origin or there is some form of international investment being undertaken, there can be significant benefits to utilising an Isle of Man Trust & Corporate Services Provider, such as Dixcart.

You can read more about all of the ways in which a Trust & Corporate Service Provider can augment your worldwide activities.

Get in Touch

If you require further information regarding the use of Isle of Man corporate structures for the purpose of holding assets such as a Superyacht, please feel free to get in touch with David Walsh at Dixcart: advice.iom@dixcart.com

Alternatively, you can connect with David on Linkedin.

Dixcart Management (IOM) Limited is Licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority

Navigating Malta’s Beneficial VAT Treatment: A Comprehensive Guide for Yacht Owners – Private and Commercial Use Explained

VAT Treatment for Private and Commercial use of Yachts in Malta

Background

Malta has gained a high reputation in the shipping and yachting world, not only because of its geographical location but also because it offers attractive and competitive incentives, thereby making Malta one of the top flags in the world. Malta’s solid roots as a maritime location continue to enhance and expand the island’s footing in the maritime industry.

As well as creating a complete service offering for yachts; from shipyards to berthing facilities, to chandlers to maritime professionals, Malta offers ship and yacht owners several attractive solutions, including attractive VAT incentives for yacht and superyacht owners.

Reduced VAT Rate as from the Start of 2024

As from 1st January 2024, short term charters commencing in, Malta have benefited from a reduced 12% VAT rate, subject to the fulfilment of certain criteria.

The Tax & Customs Administration’s has released new Guidelines, specifically tailored for the application of the 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) rate pertaining to the rental of pleasure yachts.

The Guidelines can be accessed by clicking thislink.

VAT Treatment of Yachts Intended for Private Use

In March 2020, Malta published its guidelines establishing the means by which leased pleasure yachts are to be treated for VAT purposes, with a particular focus on the use and enjoyment provisions on yacht leasing supplies. The Guidelines issued on the subject matter reflect EU developments and practices.

With respect to operating leases, it is possible for a lessor/owner of a yacht to lease out their yacht to a lessee for a consideration, for a specified period of time. Through such a structure, VAT would be payable by the lessee on the monthly lease instalments, depending on the actual use and enjoyment.

In order to benefit from the said VAT treatment, the following conditions must be  satisfied:

  • The lessor must be a Maltese entity, to be eligible for the Yacht leasing Scheme;
  • There must be a yacht leasing agreement in place between the lessor and lessee setting out the conditions of the lease;
  • The lessee must be a non-taxable person i.e., not using the yacht for commercial business purposes;
  • The yacht must be placed at the disposal of the lessee in Malta;
  • The lessor must maintain documentary and/or technological data to determine the actual use and enjoyment of the pleasure boat within and outside EU territorial waters;

This VAT treatment works depending on the ratio of use and enjoyment of the yacht in or outside EU territorial waters.

As a rule, full VAT payment at the rate of 18% is payable when the place of supply of the service is in Malta; however, in cases where the actual effective use and enjoyment of the pleasure yacht would be outside EU waters, there is an adjustment method that would apply.

The result will be that VAT would only be charged on the actual use and enjoyment of the yacht by the lessee in EU territorial waters. To this end, no VAT shall be due on the portion of the lease where the yacht is effectively used and enjoyed outside EU territorial waters.

Therefore, Malta VAT will be applicable solely on the use of the yacht within EU territorial waters; depending on the effective use and enjoyment of the yacht, possibly making it amongst the lowest VAT rates within the EU Member States.

Importantly, the VAT treatment options also provides an element of flexibility when it comes to exiting or terminating the lease. In the eventuality that at the end of the lease the lessor decides to contract the sale of the yacht in Malta, then VAT, at the prevailing standard rate, is charged on the value of the yacht upon subsequent sale.

In such a case should the Maltese VAT Department be satisfied that the necessary rules and regulations have been duly observed, a VAT Paid Certificate would be issued at their sole discretion.

VAT Treatment of Yachts intended for Commercial Use

Yachts intended for commercial use may opt for VAT deferment on the importation as follows:

  • Obtaining a VAT deferment on the importation of the commercial yacht by a Maltese owning entity having a Maltese VAT registration; without needing to set up a bank guarantee (as historically required); or
  • Obtaining a VAT deferment on the importation of the commercial yacht by an EU owning entity having a Maltese VAT registration, provided that the company duly appoints a VAT representative in Malta, without needing to set up a bank guarantee (as previously required); or
  • Obtaining a VAT deferment on the importation of the commercial yacht by a non-EU owning entity, on provision by the importing entity, of a bank guarantee amounting to the VAT payable on 0.75% of the value of the yacht, capped at one million euros.

To opt for the first proposed VAT deferment structure, one would need to incorporate a company in Malta, and this company would need to obtain a valid Malta VAT identification number. In each instance, the importation of the commercial yacht will require the yacht to physically sail to Malta to undergo VAT and Customs procedures.

Following which, the yacht would be imported into the European Union, with the VAT payment deferred accordingly, rather than paid upon importation. In such a case, the yacht would be able to sail freely and circulate within EU waters.

Services Available from Dixcart Malta

At Dixcart Malta we have a dedicated team of professionals dealing with yachting matters including, but not limited to; yacht importation, flag registration, resident agent services, crew payroll. We are also able to assist with a number of your Yachting related needs.

Additional Information

For further information about Malta Maritime services please contact Jonathan Vassallo, at the Dixcart office in Malta: advice.malta@dixcart.com.

redomicile a ship

Why Consider Registering a Vessel Under the Malta Flag?

Resident Agency Services for Yachts

Malta has now been established as a reputable maritime jurisdiction for many years. A number of factors have contributed to making Malta a leading maritime hub: a strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean, natural harbours, and an extensive range of maritime services, including; shipbuilding and repair works, a freeport, bunkering, ship supplies and towage services.

The island’s geographic location has given it significant importance and Malta is now recognised as being a port of entry into the EU.

Malta offers attractive and competitive incentives, making Malta one of the top flags in the world.

Who Can Register a Yacht/Vessel under the Malta Flag?

Under Maltese law, yachts may be owned and registered by; any Maltese, EU/EEA or Swiss national or company, or any third country national who enjoys legal personality that meets the criteria specified by the Registrar of Shipping. Maltese companies are considered to beacceptable ownership vehicles for yachts.

Maltese companies may be established by any person, for the purpose of yacht ownership. The owner, through the company, must be clearly identifiable, and non-Maltese owners must appoint a Maltese resident agent to liaise with the authorities.

Once a yacht is registered in the Maltese registry there are no restrictions on the nationalities of the individuals manning the yacht, and where the yacht may sail to.

What are the Advantages of Registering a Commercial Yacht under the Malta Flag?

  1. No trading restrictions imposed on Maltese registered commercial yachts.
  2. Fast crew-acknowledgement certification process with STCW endorsements processed within a maximum period of three months from acknowledgement.
  3. A VAT deferment can be obtained, when a yacht to be used for a commercial operation, is imported into Malta. This means that no VAT outlay will occur which provides the owner with a significant cashflow benefit. The yacht owner will also be able to recover VAT incurred on goods and services used, during the chartering operations.
  4. When a shipping organisation licensed in Malta sells a yacht, no Malta tax is liable.
  5. On the sale of shares in a yacht owning company by a non-Maltese resident owner, no capital gains tax will arise as this is exempt under Malta Tax Law.

Requirement for a Malta Registered Agent

When an owner is a non-Maltese entity, a Malta resident agent needs to be appointed. Dixcart Malta offers this service and is very experienced in representing international owners in Malta.

A resident agent, such as Dixcart Malta will provide the following services:

  1. The channel of communication between the international owner and the Maltese Government departments and authorities.
  2. The signing and filing, of all declarations and forms required by Maltese law, with Maltese Government departments and authorities, on behalf of the international owner.
  3. Acting as the judicial representative of the international owner for judicial proceedings in Malta.

At Dixcart Malta we have a department consisting of qualified accountants and lawyers dedicated to Resident Agent Services and are able to assist with your Maltese Yachting related needs.

Additional Information

For further information about Malta Maritime services please contact Jonathan Vassallo, at the Dixcart office in Malta: advice.malta@dixcart.com.

Malta Aircraft Registration Cleared for Take-off

Background

Malta’s strategic geographical position has assisted its aviation industry to present numerous economic opportunities, for many years. The importance of the Malta aviation sector has led the Maltese Authorities to strengthen its aviation framework to further enhance aircraft registration and aircraft operator licensing.

Malta and the Aircraft Registration Act

Malta has aimed to position itself as one of the primary aviation hubs in the EU by continually reviewing and bolstering its aviation registry. The available aviation legislation provides the aviation industry with a solid foundation. This is further complemented by; competitive aviation registration costs, the authority’s practical understanding of the aviation sector, and favourable corporate structures. As a result, the aviation framework provides several benefits to individuals seeking to register an aircraft on the island.

The importance of Malta’s flag has already been proved within the aviation industry and the inception of the Malta Aircraft Registration Act in 2010, positioned Malta as having one of the most reputable aircraft registers, within the aviation sector.

The Aircraft Registration Act has helped to enhance the aviation framework on the island. Malta has also implemented the ‘Cape Town Convention in Interests in Mobile Equipment’ and its ‘Aircraft Protocol’. Malta took additional measures to boost the aviation industry in 2012, by establishing the Safi Aviation Park, providing a number of aviation services, including training and repairs.

Benefits of Aircraft Registration in Malta

There are many benefits and innovative concepts relating to aircraft registration in Malta.

Amongst these, as mentioned above, was the enactment of the Aircraft Registration Act (Chapter 503, Laws of Malta), which came into force on 1st October 2010. This new regime was implemented to regulate the registration of aircraft, mortgages, and other securities relating to aircraft.

  • In terms of Maltese legislation, an aircraft may be registered by; an owner who operates an aircraft, or an owner of an aircraft under construction (or an aircraft temporarily not being used or managed), or an operator of an aircraft under  temporary title (subject to certain conditions), or a buyer of an aircraft under a condition of sale or title reservation agreement.

Additional benefits include:

A. More visibility of rights and interests in relation to aircraft, through the updating of the National Register;

B. Incentives to encourage the development of finance and operating leases relating to aircraft. Legislation provides clear rules on the tax treatment of the finance charge, available tax deductions to finance lessors, and capital allowances for lessees;

C. Broader registration options, extending to aircraft under construction or temporarily not in service and aircraft under a temporary title;

D. Recognition of fractional ownership of aircraft;

E. No withholding tax on lease payments where the lessor is not a tax resident of Malta;

F. Competitive minimum depreciation periods for aircraft;

G. The private use of an aircraft by an individual who is not resident in Malta and is an employee/officer of an employer/company/partnership, whose business activities include the ownership/leasing/operation of aircraft used for international transport, does not constitute a taxable fringe benefit.

H. Legislation implementation including the provision of the Cape Town Convention on ‘International Interests in Mobile Equipment’ and its ‘Aircraft Protocol’, thereby granting secured lenders more protection and more effective remedies whilst also enabling lower borrowing costs.

Tax, Standards and Flexibility Advantages of Private and Commercial Aircraft Registration in Malta 

Tax

Since 2007, Malta has offered an attractive corporate tax system whereby non-residents can claim tax refunds. In practical terms, the standard 35% corporate tax rate is often effectively reduced to between 0% and 5%.

If you are considering aircraft registration in Malta, another tax benefit is that income, from the international transport of goods and passengers outside the country, is exempt from Maltese tax.

As an EU member state since 2004, the Maltese aircraft register permits free circulation of aircraft in the eurozone, which allows tax-free commercial operation.

VAT Treatment

The VAT treatment for aircraft leasing makes Malta an attractive jurisdiction for private and commercial aircraft registration, whilst ensuring full adherence to EU laws and regulations. The rules take into account the amount of time spent by an aircraft within EU airspace.

The imposition of VAT in Malta varies according to how an aircraft is used. The key differentiation is between, an aircraft being used by an airline operator mainly for ‘reward’ in relation to the international transport of goods or passengers, or an aircraft that is being used purely for private use.

VAT implications, such as those applicable in other EU member states, are also relevant in relation to; importations, intra-community acquisitions, and/or supply of aircraft. The intra-community purchase, importation or supply of aircraft destined for use by an airline operator chiefly for international transport of passengers or goods is classified as an exempt credit supply.

The following are additional exempt credit supplies:

(a) Supplies of equipment to constructors, owners, or operators of an aircraft;

(b) Supplies of services consisting of the modification, maintenance, chartering and hiring of an aircraft.

The VAT treatment applies to all aircraft, other than those used by airline operators for international traffic, as a VAT exemption applies in this latter case.

According to Malta’s VAT legislation, the lease of an aircraft, which airline operators do not use for international traffic, is the supply of a service subject to VAT, with the right of deduction of input VAT by the lessor.

In terms of the VAT simplification procedure, the portion of the lease that will be subject to VAT, depends on the amount of time that the aircraft is used in EU airspace. As it is difficult to identify the movement of a plane in advance and the period in which the aircraft will be operated in EU airspace, Malta applies an ‘expert technical test,’ to estimate the portion of the lease that will be subject to VAT. The standard Malta VAT rate of 18% is applicable on the established percentage of the lease that is deemed to be related to the use of the aircraft in EU airspace.

In addition, Malta offers a very solid legislative environment, with an extensive double-tax treaty network and transparency of rights and interests.

Standards

Falling under the jurisdiction of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA),  the Maltese aircraft register implements some of the highest levels of regulation in the world. Aircraft registration in Malta offers business jet owners peace of mind, with its International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rating, testament to stringent safety and security standards.

In addition, Malta adheres to the Cape Town Convention on ‘International Interests in Mobile Equipment’, which specifies international standards for leases, security interests and the registration of contracts.

Flexibility

Aircraft registration in Malta offers unparalleled flexibility for international operators. Aircraft on the Maltese aircraft register can be based and freely operated from anywhere globally.

It is also possible to add an aircraft that is currently under construction or ‘out of action’ to the Malta aircraft register.

Aircraft registration in Malta allows operators to take advantage of fractional ownership of a single aircraft. The potential benefits are enormous, with several co-owners being able to detail a percentage stake, each financed by a separate creditor.

How Can Dixcart Help?

Through our team of experienced professionals, Dixcart Management Malta Limited will assist you in all aspects of registering your aircraft in Malta. Services range from incorporation of the entity owning the aircraft in Malta and full corporate and tax compliance, to the registration of the aircraft under the Maltese Registry, whilst ensuring full compliance with Maltese Aviation legislation.

Additional Information

If you would like further information regarding Aircraft Registration in Malta, please speak to Jonathan Vassallo: advice.malta@dixcart.com, at the Dixcart office in Malta or to your usual Dixcart contact.

Yacht Registration is on The Rise – Where to Register Your Pleasure Yacht?

The global tourism industry was brought to a halt as COVID-19 restrictions saw holidays being cancelled ‘en masse’ last year. As international travel looks to be opening up again, HNWIs will play a key role in reviving the sector and one particular trend we have seen them be part of, is the purchase and registration of private yachts and/or the chartering of private yachts.

Registering your Yacht

As with any valuable asset, the ownership structure of your yacht must be carefully considered and the jurisdiction in which the yacht is to be registered is also very important. The flag chosen for registration is one of the most important decisions. Dixcart has extensive expertise in registering yachts in a variety of jurisdictions, where we have offices, in order to help simplify the process.  Here are also some top tips to think about when registering your yacht: Luxury Yachts – Top Tips for Tax Efficient Registration.

Here is a snapshot of some of the best jurisdictions for yacht registration around the world:

CYPRUS

Cyprus is a key maritime centre and is recognised as one of the most accessible registries in the EU. It has not only grown in size in the last two decades but has also made a considerable effort to increase the quality of its fleet and related services. As a result, the Cyprus flag is now classified on the whitelist of the Paris and Tokyo MOUs (Flags securing the highest rating in relation to the Memorandum of Understandings on Port State Control).

Due to its strategic location at the gateway of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, it is a hub for shipowners and investors from all over the world, and there has been a rapid growth in the number of Cyprus shipping companies in recent years.

The procedure for registering vessels under the Cyprus flag has been designed to attract foreign investment and to build a dependable reputation, to be recognised by all of the international shipping authorities. 

Cyprus offers competitive yacht registration fees, low ongoing annual fees for yacht owners, and an attractive tax treatment for Officers and crew working on a Cyprus registered yacht (whereby they are not subject to income tax), as well as a series of other tax advantages including no tax on profits from the operational or management profits, no tax on income or dividends received from a ship management company, and a favourable tonnage tax scheme, based on gross tonnage.

The common practice for those wishing to register a vessel under the Cyprus flag is to incorporate a company in Cyprus, which will either acquire the yacht in its name, or bareboat charter the yacht. Cyprus offers a competitive rate of corporate income tax at 12.5% and low operating costs for Cyprus-owned companies. In addition, there is no estate duty on the inheritance of shares in a Cyprus shipping company and no stamp duty is payable on the ship mortgage deeds.

Find out more: Key advantages of registering your pleasure yacht in Cyprus

GUERNSEY

As a crown dependency, Guernsey has a very reputable yacht registry. It is a member of the ‘Red Ensign Group’ of British ship registries and its yachts enjoy the high standards associated with the red ensign flag.

By registering a yacht in Guernsey, owners can benefit from the advantages of a tax efficient and stable jurisdiction and the favourable tax laws of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. There is also the advantage of using a Guernsey Corporate structure to own and operate a yacht which can provide asset protection for the owner, together with other benefits.

Guernsey registration is valid internationally and all documentation is issued in English which is widely accepted around the world. There are no requirements for a Guernsey-registered yacht to physically visit Guernsey and owners have the ability to obtain a provisional registration to cover the vessel for navigation immediately after purchase. 

Another very attractive factor is that Guernsey is outside the VAT territory of the EU making the register useful for non-EU resident owners wanting to operate their vessel VAT free in Europe, and who are eligible to do so under Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) relief.

Find out more: Benefits of Registering a Yacht in Guernsey

MALTA

Malta has the largest shipping register in Europe and is the sixth largest in the world. The procedure for registering a yacht in Malta is relatively straightforward; the Maltese authorities are approachable, whilst at the same time, meticulously follow a rigid framework of guidelines and regulations, creating a cutting edge for Malta within this sector.

The Malta flag is a European flag, a flag of confidence and a flag of choice.

Many leading international banks and financiers often recommend the Maltese register. This is due to the several advantages available:

  • No trading restrictions and preferential treatment in many ports.
  • The Maltese flag is on the white list of the Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and on the Low Risk Ship List of the Paris MoU*. In addition, Malta has adopted all international Maritime Conventions.
  • All yachts can be registered in the name of legally constituted corporate bodies or entities (irrespective of nationality), or by European Union Citizens.
  • A Maltese yacht may also be bareboat charter registered under another flag.

Provisional registration is valid for six months, although this can be extended by a further six months; by this time all of the documentation must have been completed for the permanent registration. 

Individuals interested in registering their yacht in Malta, might wish to consider using a Maltese Cell Company. Shipping and Aviation Cell Company Regulations provide the opportunity to use a new cell structure for companies operating in the fields of shipping and aviation, and are treated as separate legal entities. This means assets and liabilities relevant to the individual cell can be segregated from the assets and liabilities of non-cellular elements, and from the other cells which may be held within the structure. A relatively simple example might be where one cell owns yacht A, the second cell owns yacht B, the third cell owns yacht C, and cell D owns the business matters in relation to ‘yacht management’. They can all be separated within the structure to ensure extra protection of the assets.

Malta is continuously reviewing their maritime legislation and introducing new regulations, ‘leading the way’ in terms of new initiatives in this sector. This includes yacht owners that have larger vessels and need to meet obligations for commercial passenger ships.

It is widely recognised when considering the operational pattern and risk profile of yachts, that these requirements, are in some instances disproportionately onerous and impractical in terms of design and implementation. As the trend for larger commercial yachts is growing, the 12-passenger limitation rule has become more problematic, resulting in an increase in administration for a number of organisations. This, combined with encouragement from the yachting industry, has provided impetus for Malta to develop the ‘Passenger Yacht Code’, to meet industry demands.

The introduction of the ‘Malta Passenger Yacht Code’ is applicable to passenger yachts which carry between 12 and 36 passengers, do not carry cargo, and which sail internationally. It is certainly a welcome development for those who plan to register larger commercial yachts under the Malta flag. It offers a solution to the many technical issues and concerns which were previously faced by prospective registrants.

Find out more: Why Malta is a great location for flagging or reflagging a yacht

PORTUGAL – MADEIRA

Madeira is part of Portugal and has full membership of the EU. This enables yacht purchasers to fully comply with EU legislation and the International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) is internationally recognised as a credible and competitive option in comparison to other shipping registers.

MAR maintains the high quality and safety standards of an EU register. It is regarded by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) as a flag of convenience and is included in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) White List*.

An advantage of registering a yacht in Madeira is that it is an EU Register which allows full access to navigation in EU waters without any types of restriction for either commercial or private yachts.In addition, its EU standing has the advantage of providing substance to the VAT status of yachts registered in Madeira that operate within EU waters.

Madeira also takes into consideration the purchase of second-hand yachts. Portuguese VAT is applied to the lower acquisition price, as rules allow for devaluation suffered by the yacht (deemed market value). This can lead to a significant reduction in VAT.

Yachts that are commercially registered in MAR and are (i) used for navigation on the high seas and (ii) engaged in commercial/charter activities, benefit from several VAT exemptions:

  • the acquisition price of the yacht;
  • repair, modification and maintenance operations of the yacht;
  • fuel and oil supply;
  • the supply of goods (provisions) to have on board; and
  • the supply of equipment.

In addition, there are no citizenship requirements for the crew, and they are exempt from personal income taxes. The crew also benefit from a flexible social security regime; crew members are not obliged to contribute to the Portuguese social security regime, provided that an alternative pension scheme is guaranteed.

As mentioned above, when we have looked at other jurisdictions, many yacht owners choose to register their vessel via a company structure. The International Business Centre of Madeira (MIBC), with its advantageous tax regime, provides a highly competitive package of tax benefits. Its reduced direct taxation, with effective corporate income tax rate of 5% until 2027, combined with an exemption from withholding tax (providing the shareholders are resident in an EU jurisdiction) on payments of dividends, interest, and royalties to non-residents of Portugal, makes it an attractive location for yacht operating companies.

Madeira companies also benefit from automatic VAT registration on incorporation and are instantly provided with a VAT registration number. This makes it easier for such companies to take advantage of the various benefits available.

Madeira yacht owning companies are exempt from the initial yacht registration fee and receive a 20% reduction in the annual yacht registration fee. Plus, withholding taxes on dividends can be eliminated by routing the investment in the Madeira company through an EU holding company, for example a Maltese holding company.

Find out more: Why consider Portugal for yacht registration?

Summary

Dixcart Air Marine assists clients who own, or wish to own, a yacht. Our team of experienced professionals can provide a wide variety of services including; pre-structuring and ownership advice, registering the yacht, the accounting, added value services, tax planning, assistance with crewing and payroll (if required), and ongoing annual requirements. If you would like to speak to one of our professional advisers, please get in touch:

*White List Paris and Tokyo MOUs: Flags securing the highest rating in relation to the Memorandum of Understandings on Port State Control.

Full Fiduciary Licence granted by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Guernsey Registered Company Number: 6512.

Listed Company Services

Malta Implements a New Passenger Yacht Code: More Than Twelve Passengers

Background

Malta is a well-known and popular jurisdiction within the yachting sector. It has the largest shipping register of vessels in the EU and the 6th largest in the world. It is also a jurisdiction that is ‘leading the way’, with a number of initiatives in this sector.

Current Obligations

Yachts need to meet obligations for ‘commercial passenger ships’ and it is widely recognised when considering the operational pattern and risk profile of yachts, that these requirements, are in some instances disproportionately onerous and impractical in terms of design and implementation.

As the trend for larger commercial yachts increases, the 12 passenger limitation rule has become more problematic and has resulted in an increase in administration for a number of organisations, including the Malta Merchant Shipping Directorate. This, combined with encouragement from the yachting industry, has provided impetus for Malta to develop the ‘Passenger Yacht Code’, to meet industry demands.

The Malta Passenger Yacht Code

The Malta Passenger Yacht Code is applicable to passenger yachts, which carry between 12 and 36 passengers, do not carry cargo, and which sail internationally. The Code is intended to cater exclusively to the yachting sector of the market, it is not intended to apply to the excursion and/or ferry passenger sectors of the industry.

The new yacht code has been drafted by the Authority for Transport in Malta, in consultation with various industry stakeholders including; yacht designers, yacht builders, repair yards, specialised service providers and manufacturers, appointed surveyors and recognised organisations. This has been to ensure a wide representation of the industry.

Details of the Malta Passenger Yacht Code

A passenger yacht must be; surveyed, certified, audited and issued with Class and Statutory Certificates, applicable to passenger vessels, by a recognised organisation. Class Rules relating to passenger vessels will apply. Approval staff, auditors and surveyors must be experienced and qualified in passenger ship planning, audits, and surveys.

The Malta Passenger Yacht Code provides addition regulation, in particular in relation to safety, for example; life- saving appliances and arrangements, life at sea safety, navigation safety, and protection of personnel.

Passenger Yachts Chartered on a Static Basis

Where a passenger yacht remains static; berthed or anchored at sea, the yacht may be allowed to carry more than 36 passengers, as provided for in The Malta Passenger Yacht Code. For a passenger yacht to be able to be chartered on a static basis, the yacht would need to be issued with a statement by the Flag Authority, permitting static charters.

The Certification Process

Once owners submit the necessary documentation and complete the designated survey and inspections, the Maltese Flag Authorities will issue the vessel with a Statutory Certificate.

All passenger yachts must, in addition, be classified by a Recognised Organisation (RO), and must maintain a valid classification throughout the validity period of the yacht’s statutory certificate. The applicable RO Rules for classification purposes are those used for the classification of passenger ships. Upon satisfactory completion of  the required surveys or audits, the yacht’s RO needs to issue a certificate, confirming compliance with the Malta Code.

Passenger yachts certified under the remit of the Code may carry out International (Unrestricted) Voyages or Short International Voyages, as defined by The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Advantages of the Malta Passenger Yacht Code

The introduction of the Malta Passenger Yacht Code is a welcome development for those who plan to register larger commercial yachts under the Malta flag. It enables larger yachts to carry between 12 and 36 passengers.

It offers a solution to the many technical issues and concerns which were previously faced by prospective registrants.

Additional Information

If you would like further information regarding the registration of a yacht and opportunities available through Malta, please speak to Jonathan Vassalloadvice.malta@dixcart.com, at the Dixcart office in Malta or your usual Dixcart contact.

Isle of Man Shipping Registry

Malta Initiative Moves Forward – A Shared Database of Ships Linked to Criminal Activity

Background

Crime-linked vessels are an unfortunate reality worldwide.

The lack of information about vessels can result in countries flagging or re-flagging ships involved in criminal activities, or letting such vessels sail out of their ports unimpeded.

Main Concerns for Malta

Malta has had long-term concerns regarding contraband  linked to Italian organised crime as well as to Libyan militia groups.

The head of Malta’s sanction board Neville Aquilina, detailed in an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly “mechanisms for the full implementation of UN sanctions requirements are either too weak or inexistent”.

In addition, vessels which have been sanctioned in one country are able to sail to another jurisdiction, to obtain their license. This is possible because countries which de-flag vessels do not have the obligation of informing other countries about this and/or other actions taken.

International Database Proposal

In March 2020, in a meeting arranged by the IMO and the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), Malta proposed an idea to the EU to deal with this issue:

  • Malta suggested the idea of building a global database of vessels or companies, connected to illicit activities or subject to international sanctions, and for this database to be shared between countries, to help them make informed decisions.

The goal is to strengthen international maritime law, specifically, making it more difficult for criminals to obtain vessel licenses when they sail from one country to another, after their ship has been de-flagged for sanction violations in a previous country.

In addition, this new information about vessels worldwide will make it easier to carry out investigations. Currently these can take years to complete because of the lack of information available.

International Database Creation

Malta raised this idea again in 2021, during a follow-up event. In April 2021 the European Commission agreed to start working on a database across the EU, and to introduce it as soon as possible, in the forthcoming months.

Malta’s Standing

Located centrally in the middle of Europe and to the north of Africa, Malta is ranked  sixth in terms of world ship registration and regards this new initiative as being extremely important.

Implementation Intentions

Even though the objective for the database is to be used by all of the IMO state members, the IMO has not, as yet, committed to a date to implement the database.

Dixcart will keep you updated.

Additional Information

For further information about the Malta flag please contact Jonathan Vassallo, at the Dixcart office in Malta: advice.malta@dixcart.com. Alternatively, please speak to your usual Dixcart contact.

Pleasure Boats in Malta

Dixcart Malta Managing Director – Co-opted to Malta Chamber’s Yachting Services Executive Committee

Jonathan Vassallo has been co-opted to join the Yachting Services Executive Committee of the Yachting Services Business Section, within the Malta Chamber.

Jonathan Vassallo

This section represents one of the biggest categories within the Chamber in terms of members.

During the past couple of years the Chamber has been dealing with the challenges faced by the industry. It has continued to work closely with the authorities to propose new, and re-visit existing practical applications and procedures, designed to have a positive impact on the yachting industry in Malta.

This is an ongoing exercise to ensure that this yachting sector remains dynamic and at the forefront of the industry internationally. A number of procedures and guidelines have been adopted and fine-tuned, and this has helped to ensure that Malta remains an attractive jurisdiction for yacht owners and operators.

Jonathan is keen to be part of this team and use his experience to contribute to the Yachting Services Executive Committee for the benefit of this sector within the Malta economy.

For the next two years, the key objective of the Committee is to continue to offer a robust platform for the yachting industry and to collaborate with the authorities and stakeholders to improve Malta’s already strong position within the yachting world.

You can contact Jonathan, in the Dixcart Malta office at: advice.malta@dixcart.com