Registration of a Pleasure Yacht under the Maltese flag

It has become com­mon prac­tice to reg­is­ter yachts and oth­er marine ves­sels under anoth­er flag than the coun­try, where the ves­sel is used or where the own­er lives. This is not ille­gal prac­tice, and it can have some sig­nif­i­cant advan­tages for the own­er or oper­a­tor. Mal­ta has become an inter­est­ing choice for yacht own­ers to reg­is­ter their yacht on the islands and offers cer­tain advan­tages that can help you save mon­ey.

Who can reg­is­ter the yacht

A yacht that is being reg­is­tered and pur­chased in Mal­ta needs to be whol­ly owned by either a Euro­pean or Mal­tese cit­i­zen, a Mal­tese com­pa­ny or a cor­po­rate body that is in accor­dance with the Mer­chant Ship­ping Act. It is also pos­si­ble to reg­is­ter the yacht through a Mal­tese ship­ping com­pa­ny, which is a com­pa­ny that is espe­cial­ly set up for the ship, and bears cer­tain advan­tages for the own­er. Estab­lish­ing the com­pa­ny can be processed quick­ly, and the office of Dr. Wern­er & Part­ner can help you with every­thing need­ed to com­plete the appli­ca­tion. After the com­pa­ny has been estab­lished, and the ship has been pur­chased, the ship becomes prop­er­ty of the com­pa­ny. If the com­pa­ny is reg­is­tered by some­one not resid­ing on the Mal­tese islands, then an agent who is res­i­dent on the islands has to act on behalf of the per­son or com­pa­ny.

Sav­ing tax­es with the pur­chase of a yacht

One thing that makes the Mal­tese islands so attrac­tive for the yacht reg­is­tra­tion or reflag­ging is that the tax­a­tion is much more favourable. It can make a huge dif­fer­ence if you buy the yacht in the UK or Mal­ta. For exam­ple, if you have to pay 20% VAT in the UK, this rate would not be applic­a­ble in Mal­ta. Tax­a­tion of a yacht depends on the size, use (leisure or com­mer­cial) and the type (motor yacht or sail­ing yacht).

In order to avoid errors with the pur­chase or reg­is­tra­tion we rec­om­mend to always use the ser­vices of a legal office in Mal­ta to assist you with the nec­es­sary paper­work. If you would like a per­son­al con­sul­ta­tion with one of our part­ners you are wel­come to con­tact our office.

About Philipp Sauerborn

In 2005, Philipp Sauer­born joined the firm of St. Matthew in Lon­don, one of the lead­ing Ger­man account­ing firms in Eng­land renowned for its exper­tise in cor­po­rate, com­mer­cial and tax law, as a depart­ment head. After three years, he was a part­ner and man­ag­ing direc­tor.
Towards the end of 2011, he decid­ed to move to Mal­ta, where he first worked at inter­na­tion­al law firms and con­sul­tan­cies in an employed and con­sult­ing capac­i­ty. Since the begin­ning of 2013, he has been a senior employ­ee at Dr. Wern­er & Part­ner. Mr. Sauer­born is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing his ADIT ‑Advanced Diplo­ma in Inter­na­tion­al Tax.

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