Malta Flag Registration
Malta offers competitive and attractive incentives to yacht owners and charterers of pleasure yachts seeking to register their yacht under the Maltese flag. Besides being the largest maritime flag in Europe, Malta offers a solid legal framework which provides yacht financiers with the desired level of security.
Yacht-owners registering their vessels under the Malta flag may benefit from the following advantages:
- Low company formation and registration costs.
- Complete tax exemptions, and benefits for owners, charters and financiers of Maltese yachts.
- No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew, serving on Maltese vessels.
- No restrictions on the nationality of shareholders and directors of Maltese shipping companies.
- No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese yachts.
- No trading restrictions.
- Preferential treatment for Maltese yachts in certain ports.
- Serious and efficient maritime administration.
- Flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international standards
- Easy access to decision-makers within the competent authorities, backed by a qualified and efficient team of technical officers available for urgent matters on a 24- hour basis.
- Sound multilateral and bilateral relations.
- Active participation in international shipping fora.
Furthermore with effect from January 2006 the Malta VAT Department has introduced reduced rates of VAT in relation to finance leasing transactions, which could effectively reduce the Malta VAT on such transactions to as little as 5.4%. Click here for more details
What steps are involved?
Yacht registration in Malta is a simple and straight forward operation which can be split as follows:
Step 1 – Incorporation of a Maltese company
The reason for incorporating a Maltese company is for the purpose of registering the yacht in the name of a Maltese body.
The yacht owner has a choice of two types of companies depending on whether he wishes to disclose his identity or not and these are as follows:
- Onshore Holding Company (the owner appears as share holder)
- Onshore Holding Nominee (the owner appoints nominees as apparent shareholders)
Step 2 – Yacht Registration under the Malta Flag
Upon incorporation of the company we will proceed to effect the yachts registration. This is done in two stages:
During this six month period the yacht may navigate freely with a provisional certificate of registration. This gives the owner sufficient time to obtain cancellation of the previous registration and to prepare the necessary documentation. A point to mention is that at this stage the bill of sale to the Maltese company is not needed hence the owner as a trial period may utilize this period. Should the owner decide to go ahead with permanent registration and providing all the necessary documents have been obtained we may proceed to register the yacht permanently.
Upon receipt of all the necessary documents, including a bill of sale to the holding company a permanent registration certificate is issued.
At no stage in the operation do transfer taxes apply.
The Cost of Maltese Flag Registration
The cost of registration depends on the type of company that the owner wishes to incorporate i.e. an onshore company (owner appears as share holder) or an onshore nominee (owner appoints licensed nominees as apparent shareholders)
The initial registration costs are incurred only once for setting up and first year’s operation. During the ongoing process the annual costs only apply.
Additional information may be obtained from the official Transport Malta website.
Yachting Partners Malta Ltd can assist you in the full process to register a yacht in Malta. If you have any queries or would like any further clarifications kindly contact us.
As for favourable VAT rates on yachts in Malta suggested to read here