The European Commission (EC) approved the Tonnage Tax Scheme after opening a formal investigation in compliance with European State Aid Rules back in 2012. This, for a conditional period of 10 years. The in-depth investigation was concluded at the end of last year followed by the publication of its recommendations which were disclosed to the public only up until recently.
The investigation sheds light to the EC’s commitment to further promote the European maritime industry during a time when global competition is on the increase. Thus far, Malta remains one of the leading maritime service providers in the European Union; the Maltese shipping flag being one of the most established international ship register in the Mediterranean.
The EC found certain aspects of the original scheme to be in breach of European State Aid Rules. As a result, it introduced a couple of changes to avoid any discrimination and/or unjust competition among shipping to which Malta has committed to. Shipping companies are now required to provide information to the Maltese authorities to ensure compliance. Information includes but is not limited to activities performed with the vessel, the type of vessel, the net tonnage, flag state, days in use and types of operation.
Ship owners who wish to make sure of the Malta tonnage tax scheme need to file a prescribed declaration with the Registrar of ships. The Registry will then decide whether to declare a vessel as a tonnage tax ship or not.
Contact our team at Firstbridge should you need further guidance or information about the Tonnage Tax Scheme.