Our clients sometimes inquire about changing the flag or re-flagging a yacht or fleet, and if it can be an advantage for them. This generally depends on the case, but in many cases it is possible to save taxes by flagging out a ship to Malta. The island nation in the Mediterranean has become very popular in recent years for people to register their yachts, but it is not the only country that offers lower taxes. There are a few other European countries, mostly in eastern Europe, offering low-tax boat registrations. However, the ship registration in Malta has the advantage that Malta’s maritime administration is part of the Paris MoU, which ensures that ships meet certain safety, security and environmental standards, and that crew members are in adequate working and living conditions.
Re-flagging a ship or fleet not only offers a tax advantage, it will often also result in lower personnel costs or other costs associated with a commercial fleet. In many cases it is worth looking into changing the flag, and it has become common practice over the years. Even though Malta is a small country, the reputation of the nation has attracted many companies and individuals, and there are over 5,000 ships registered already. You can also save a lot of money in taxes when purchasing your yacht in Malta, as the VAT is based on the size and intended use of the ship. This can result in a VAT rate of between 4-12%.
Registering a yacht or fleet in Malta can have a significant impact on the annual tax burden, as the registration and annual costs are much lower than in other countries. How much can be saved depends on the vessel, and its intended use (commercial or leisure). If you would like to have more information of how much you can save you can contact us at the office of Dr. Werner & Partner and schedule a personal consultation. We offer complete services for ship registration in Malta, and can assist you with the necessary paperwork to change the flag of your yacht, or even the company structure if you are looking into relocating your maritime business to Malta.