Project Description

Yachting | 2022

When building or buying a superyacht, it is seldom considered that it could also become the object of an inheritance, either ad hoc or with notice. At the same time, it is usually a not inconsiderable part of the asset portfolio, which is why the inheritance and, above all, inheritance tax aspect should also be taken into consideration when designing the ac- quisition and operating concept.

Generally, large yachts have a connection to for- eign countries. In cross-border situations, testators and heirs must take into account different national regulations as well as international regulations and, if applicable, bilateral agreements.

The complex subject matter is divided into inheritance law, company law as well as inheritance tax law and is regulated completely differently from country to country worldwide. The scope of the subject matter only allows us here to use selected considerations to raise awareness of the associated problems and conflicts at the interfaces of individual legal systems, and above all, of the financial risks. After all, we have already had cases in other EU countries where 80% of the value of a large yacht fell victim to tax. If the yacht cannot be sold quickly and successfully enough, the taxes can even ex- ceed the proceeds.

In my brief journey through the subject, I will assume that the beneficial owners behind a yacht in Germany are residents and subject to unlimited tax liability and thus I will take a look at the regulations in Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Cyprus and Poland. The analyses show highly differing regulations, whereby the favourite country of the Germans, Spain, subsequently poses the highest (financial) risks.

I also show how international foundations may be a very effective way of holding and operating a large yacht.


CPS Schließmann Wirtschaftsanwälte
Hansaallee 22
D-60322 Frankfurt am Main
T +49 (0)69 663 77 90

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