Anchorage tax defeated but lobbying continues
The proposed French anchorage tax has been defeated in the French Assembly, meaning the tax is now considered unlikely to be passed.
However, lobbying continues, and yachting groups are encouraging captains and interested parties to get involved to make sure the tax does not negatively affect the luxury yachting industry when the bill returns in front of the French Assembly later in the year.
The anchorage tax, which has proved deeply unpopular with yachting and marine groups, proposes a tax on all vessels cruising inside a Marine Protected Area, effective from the summer of 2016.
Proposition 18a of the proposed territorial law NOTRE applies to nearly a quarter of all French territorial waters, including major cruising grounds such as the French Riviera, the Porquerolles and Corsica. All boats visiting those areas would be charged at a rate of €20 per metre.
The proposed tax has been labelled as ‘catastrophic’ by industry groups such as the Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) and the European Commission for Professional Yachting (ECPY), who fear that the tax will have a disastrous effect on marine tourism in the area. These groups expect that the tax would deter not only superyachts but also the thousands of small boat owners and charterers who cruise in protected French waters.
ECPY point to a similar tax introduced in Sardinia in 2006, which was abolished when it showed a sharp negative effect on numbers of boats visiting the area, with reports that marine traffic fell by as much as 50%.
After worrying early success in the Senate, the anchorage tax did not gain enough support in a vote in May, which is thought to indicate that the bill will not pass.
However, lobbying is continuing to ensure that the government does not reach a majority on this issue when the vote returns to the French Assembly later in the year, and yachting groups such as the ECPY are requesting that captains and interested parties sign a petition to register their opposition to the tax.
A link to the petition can be found here.