Boat leasing with reduced VAT: negotiations postponed after the health crisis

Leasing companies are major players in the boating industry, such as Lizmer, sponsor of a catamaran in the Route du Rhum

The change in the VAT rate on the leasing of recreational craft was due to enter into force in April 2020. Fabien Métayer, General Delegate of the Fédération des Industries Nautiques, announces its postponement. He gives an update on the negotiations that should continue after the health crisis of the Covid-19.

Application of the new VAT on boat leasing postponed but not cancelled

Following a eU procedure on the taxation of recreational craft against Malta, Cyprus and Greece in 2018, the Commission had also called on France and Italy to review their VAT allowance on lease-purchase agreements (LOAs) in the nautical sector. Its abolition, which is planned for April 2020, had led to discussions with the French Nautical Industries Federation (FIN) on the subject. " We have had constructive exchanges with the tax legislation directorate at Bercy, with our Italian counterparts and with their finance ministry. The aim was to establish a common position to be presented to the cabinet of the Commissioner for Yachting in Brussels. The health crisis came up against this arrangement and we drew Bercy's attention to the fact that the date of 1 April 2020 was still included in the Official Bulletin of Public Finances for the end of the abatement. Bruno Lemaire's chief of staff told us that he had instructed us to withdraw it. We are now satisfied with this moratorium. It does not augur at this stage that the reform will be buried or validated "explains Fabien Métayer, General Delegate of the FIN.

Finance companies are among the largest booths at boat shows

What position does the yachting industry defend?

The representative of FIN clarified the logic and progress achieved with the Italian partners. " The idea is to look at the process that has the least impact on the industry so that it can adapt to a new way of working and a proof mechanism that can be complex (Editor's note: the abatement was based on the assumption that the number of days of navigation outside territorial waters is often higher than the reality, but that it is difficult to prove). The aim is to find a solution that satisfies Brussels and gives the industry time to adapt. From now on, all this will also depend on the 2 major issues to come after the health crisis: When will normal activity resume? What impact will this crisis have on the balance between the different countries? "

Far from the urgency of the moment, the study of the taxation of pleasure boating is rightly postponed. While the concern for recovery may lead to prolonging the current situation, the FIN and its Italian counterpart will have to negotiate in the long term the best conditions for getting out of a derogatory regime decried by the other countries of the European Union.