Palma.—The Balearic and Spanish nautical sector was celebrating yesterday after the European Commission gave the Spanish government two months to modify its nautical taxes.

The Partido Popular Balearic Euro MP, Rosa Estaras, has been leading the battle on behalf of the local, national and global nautical sectors as well as groups such as Epore, Europeans for Spain.

Yesterday, Epore Honorary President, Kate Mentink, broke the news of the ruling in Brussels. She said it was great news and that it could even lead to the scrapping of the controversial 12 percent matriculation tax which Spain has been charging on yachts over 15 metres destined to marine charter, bearing other EU countries flags and owned by citizens or legal persons non-resident in Spain, operating with both resident and non-resident citizens within Spanish territorial waters. Previously, the owners of said yachts would have already paid the taxes applied to them in their corresponding countries where they are flagged or registered. Brussels has deemed this discriminatory and that it contravenes the free movement of goods and people in the European Union - hence its ruling late on Tuesday night.

With the general election on Sunday and a new government expected, an extension will probably be asked for, but eventually, should the government fail to comply, it will face the wrath of the European Court of Justice.

The ruling will free up the Balearic nautical sector, especially the charter industry, which has been losing hundreds of millions of euros per year because of the matriculation tax.

Inheritance tax
A further victory for Epore and Rose Estaras is also looming over Spain's inheritance tax laws.
The European Parliament has declared the current situation illegal and demanded that it must be changed. Currently the Inheritance taxes that are paid to the State by non-Spanish residents are between 7.65% and 34%, considerably higher than those paid by Spanish nationals. Brussels has stated that this law must be changed so that non-Spanish residents pay the same as their Spanish neighbours.

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