Necessary documents when purchasing a new vessel in Spain

If you are interested in the acquisition of a vessel in Spain you have to know the different documents involved in the transaction and it importance.

  • Purchase Contract. According Spanish Law the purchase must be formalized in a written contract The current legislation has not expressly regulated the contract for the sale of vessels, boats nor pleasure crafts , so it will be governed by the general rules established in articles 1.445 Civil Code  for the purchase contract in general. Regarding the form of the contract, there is freedom of form, which can be done through a public deed  or private document. Although some legal  provisions mentions the need for a public deed, Circular 4/1990 clarifies that, for vessels on the sixth and seventh list (charter and private recreational vessels ), evidence of the legal title demonstrating  ownership can be showed by means of the purchase invoice, purchase contract bill of sale  or any private document, provided the taxes are duly paid. The contract shall specify the method of payment, instalments,  the subject matter of the contract and the estimated date of delivery. It is important always to keep copies of the transfers or payments done.

The purchase contract normally has also an Annex with all technical specifications and particulars of the boat from the shipyard.

In general as final consumer the purchaser has a guarantee of 2 years in order to claim for defects on  pleasure crafts and might ask either for reparation, substitution or reduction of the price according Consumer Right legislation. In next articles we will focus more deeply in this topic

  • Protocol of Delivery. When a new vessel is delivered in Spain  by a business  – shipyard or broker -the sale is subject to VAT as It a taxable supply. Besides the acceptance after a survey it  is  very important to sign the reception, with date and place of the delivery of the vessel since from that date start the different 30 days period for filing the some taxes (in case of EU acquisition, Import VAT or for the Matriculation Tax)
  • An official invoice (¨factura¨) must be issued at delivery (in the  meantime a Proforma invoice might be also extended  but is not sufficient) with all mandatory requirements – date, place, and full name, domicile and Fiscal Nr from both seller and purchaser: VAT recording or CIF from the vendor and Id Card or pass Nr. from the purchaser if individual or also Fiscal Nr. if the purchaser is business or entrepreneurial.
  • EU Declaration of conformity: this is the written declaration and a single declaration drawn up by the manufacturer to demonstrate compliance with EU requirements for a product bearing the CE marking which he has manufactured. If the vessel. If the vessel is not coming from a EU Member State clearance at the Customs & Excise Office and Import VAT dispatch by means of a SAD (Single Administrative Document) must be done if the purchaser is resident for tax purposes or established in the EU.
  • Builder’s plate and HIN. Builders´ plate must be affixed to the vessel and must state the name of the builder, the Design Category, the Maximum Load and the Maximum Number of Persons the vessel can carry.
  • Vessel and Motor User´s Manual including those of all the technical navigation devices and electronic installations.

Carlos Espinosa

Solicitor & Tax Adviser

+34 627 41 32 01 





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