Palma.—The yacht charter industry here in the Balearics is currently locked in a long standing battle with the government over the controversial and unfair matriculation which has all but sunk the region's once highly lucrative business, now the government is going after private jet and helicopter charter companies.

The Bulletin has learnt that this Spring, tax inspectors swooped through Son Bonet airfield imposing a 12 percent matriculation tax on any charter aircraft and helicopter which weighs over 1'550 kilos.

The figure is similar to that levied on yachts used for charter here in the Balearics and is the only one of its kind in Europe, hence the yachting industry is fighting to have the tax scrapped in Madrid and in Brussels.

The chief pilot at one of the helicopter schools based at the airfield which has operated charters with a six seater, five million pound helicopter, told the Bulletin that they are waiting for the matriculation tax bill to arrive. “But, I can tell you now. We're not going to pay, we'd rather spend that money on our lawyers and challenge the government over this unprecedented and unfair move. “The government may think it's going to make a quick buck but all it's going to do is kill the region's private jet and helicopter industry which will not only hit the charter companies in the pocket but also put off wealthy clients from coming to the Balearics,” he said.

Ironically, the news has broken just days after plans to build a heliport for wealthy yacht owners in Port Adriano have been unveiled.
Should the government continue to enforce the matriculation tax, the helipad, if built, will be a very quiet one. “We don't know if this tax is legal, all of the charter companies at Son Bonet are busy checking out the legalities while we all wait for a nice fat bill to land on our desks,” the Bulletin was told.

The governments here and in Madrid have already been fully briefed on the damage the matriculation tax has done to the yacht charter industry and the vast amount of money in revenue the government is losing in the long term by enforcing it. However, it looks like the battle is about become a full scale war.

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