European Commission approves the Maltese tonnage tax scheme subject to commitments
The European Commission has conditionally approved under EU State aid rules the Maltese tonnage tax scheme for a period of 10 years. The scheme will ensure a level playing field between Maltese and other European shipping companies, and will encourage ship registration in Europe, the Commission official website said.
In 2012, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the Maltese tonnage tax scheme to examine its compatibility with EU State aid rules. With today's decision, the Commission endorses the Maltese scheme, subject to the amendments introduced by Malta. Malta has committed to introduce a number of changes to its scheme to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and to avoid undue competition distortions.
In particular, Malta agreed to restrict the scope of the scheme to maritime transport and to remove those tax exemptions for shareholders which constitute State aid.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Tonnage tax systems are meant to promote the competitiveness of the EU shipping industry in a global market without unduly distorting competition. I am pleased that Malta committed to adapt its tonnage tax system to achieve this. Moreover, by encouraging the registration of ships in the EU, the scheme will enable the European shipping industry to keep up its high social and environmental standards”. A full press release is available in EN, MT, FR, DE.