March 29, 2023
Why was M/Y HEUREKA sentenced to pay 4.1 million euros?

In a routine inspection of Customs in Palma de Mallorca.

(August 2014) the yacht states that it has a commercial registration, and therefore the following documentation is requested:
Deed of incorporation of the owner company
Documentation proving VAT payment
List of passengers of the next crossing

When the documentation is delivered, it is provided a document from the Treasury of the Isle of Man (place of incorporation of the owning company if the yacht) from which the payment of the value added tax of the boat cannot be deducted. Likewise, it was provided the original invoice nº2014/051 with an amount of 19,464,992.48 where a 0% applied VAT appears.

Despite the appeal of the vessel who justifies the non-payment of VAT due to its temporary importation, Customs informs that only the vessels that fulfil with the following can be under TI:
i) they must be registered in a third territory outside the Community Customs Territory;
ii) they must be registered in the name of a natural or legal person established outside the Community Customs Territory;
iii) must be used by persons established outside said territory, except in specific cases.

Therefore, it is considered that if the vessel is registered in the name of an entity established in the Community Customs Territory (Isle of Man, in this case), the temporary importation regime is not applicable at any time.

It should be noted that this is not a problem of non-compliance with the conditions of the TI regime, but due to the irregular introduction into the Community customs territory of a foreign-flagged vessel without the possibility of receiving the temporary importation customs regime, the debt of the VAT value has raised.

For all these reasons, in December 2021 the MY HEUREKA vessel was sentenced to a fine of 4,139,723.94 euros.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although the investigation was resolved in December 2021, it is important to mention that the applicable laws are the ones from 2014 (time the investigation was opened).