Spanish VAT on Cruise Ship?

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#1
Southern IL
685 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I'm not sure if this is the correct board, but it is about Spain and not related to any specific cruise line.

I've been hearing that there is an added Spanish VAT (8%) on the cruise ships. Searching the posts, there is conflicting info. I've seen:

VAT charged while in Spanish ports or Spanish waters only

VAT charged for the entire cruise for cruises that leave from Spanish ports

VAT charged while in Spanish ports or Spanish waters for cruises that leave Spanish ports but leave the EU.

Which one is correct? Can you get the VAT back at the airport?
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#2
Romsey England
10,743 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by eadien7
I'm not sure if this is the correct board, but it is about Spain and not related to any specific cruise line.

I've been hearing that there is an added Spanish VAT (8%) on the cruise ships. Searching the posts, there is conflicting info. I've seen:

VAT charged while in Spanish ports or Spanish waters only

VAT charged for the entire cruise for cruises that leave from Spanish ports

VAT charged while in Spanish ports or Spanish waters for cruises that leave Spanish ports but leave the EU.

Which one is correct? Can you get the VAT back at the airport?
This only affects ships which turnaround in Spain.

The tax is applied only to purchases on the ship (eg drinks) if the cruise starts in Spain & does not visit a non-EC port at some time during the cruise.
It very definatelly does not apply if the cruise visits eg Gib or Tunisia, that's for sure.

But, like you, for cruises entirely within the EU I've heard of it being applied only in Spanish waters and of it being applied cruise-long. It's added to bar bills etc. It's not added to excursion fees because any tax payable will have already been included in the shore agent's price
The question of whether it should be charged is difficult to understand, you'd think that the same rules should apply to ships turning around in other EU ports, but it's not charged on ships which turn around in Italian or UK ports - even without visiting a non-EU country.

Can you reclaim the tax at the airport?
Provided that you're leaving the EU, that you've got a signed reclaim form from the ship .............. and that you haven't already drunk the stuff , then I guess you could.
Or put more simply, no you can't reclaim the tax, certainly not on goods you've consumed.

JB
#3
Southern IL
685 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by John Bull
This only affects ships which turnaround in Spain.

The tax is applied only to purchases on the ship (eg drinks) if the cruise starts in Spain & does not visit a non-EC port at some time during the cruise.
It very definatelly does not apply if the cruise visits eg Gib or Tunisia, that's for sure.

But, like you, for cruises entirely within the EU I've heard of it being applied only in Spanish waters and of it being applied cruise-long. It's added to bar bills etc. It's not added to excursion fees because any tax payable will have already been included in the shore agent's price
The question of whether it should be charged is difficult to understand, you'd think that the same rules should apply to ships turning around in other EU ports, but it's not charged on ships which turn around in Italian or UK ports - even without visiting a non-EU country.

Can you reclaim the tax at the airport?
Provided that you're leaving the EU, that you've got a signed reclaim form from the ship .............. and that you haven't already drunk the stuff , then I guess you could.
Or put more simply, no you can't reclaim the tax, certainly not on goods you've consumed.

JB
Well, I COULD be buying something besides alcohol... I assume they would charge the VAT on anything you bought in the gift shops also?

If the VAT is charged during the entire cruise, it would definately increase the benefit of buying a beverage package before the cruise.
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#4
London
21,832 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by John Bull
The tax is applied only to purchases on the ship (eg drinks) if the cruise starts in Spain & does not visit a non-EC port at some time during the cruise.
It very definatelly does not apply if the cruise visits eg Gib or Tunisia, that's for sure.
Well, I'm going to add to the confusion by reporting that on our last cruise, which was a Barcelona-Barcelona round-trip visiting Tunis as well as EU ports, VAT was charged on on-board drinks - but only pre-departure while the ship was still docked in Barcelona.
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#5
875 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by eadien7
Well, I COULD be buying something besides alcohol... I assume they would charge the VAT on anything you bought in the gift shops also?

If the VAT is charged during the entire cruise, it would definately increase the benefit of buying a beverage package before the cruise.
On RCI ships they charge 8% on drinks in addition to the 15% service charge, I think that the tax is still factored in if you pre-buy a drinks package. We went for this option and looking at the price in dollars onboard and the exchange rate when we cruised, I'd say it cost us 10 euros more than if we had waited to buy the package on the ship.

There is another tax for services and good sand I seem to recall this was 18% and applied to Spa services the shops. The Spa was running promotions on certain days that meant the tax wasn't added. Some of the shops were advertising no additional taxes as well. I saw in the Cruise Compass that there was a ciggie offer of two cartons for 75 dollars which seems like a good offer for the smokers out there.
#6
Southern IL
685 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by swcruise
On RCI ships they charge 8% on drinks in addition to the 15% service charge, I think that the tax is still factored in if you pre-buy a drinks package. We went for this option and looking at the price in dollars onboard and the exchange rate when we cruised, I'd say it cost us 10 euros more than if we had waited to buy the package on the ship.

There is another tax for services and good sand I seem to recall this was 18% and applied to Spa services the shops. The Spa was running promotions on certain days that meant the tax wasn't added. Some of the shops were advertising no additional taxes as well. I saw in the Cruise Compass that there was a ciggie offer of two cartons for 75 dollars which seems like a good offer for the smokers out there.
Did you leave the EU during your cruise? I wasn't charged the 8% tax for the beverage pkg on line, unless it was included in the price before the 15% was added. I paid in dollars, so the exchange rate doesn't play into my equation.
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#7
875 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Hi

No we didn't leave the EU, I assumed that it had been added in as the only variant on board seem to be the currency conversion on the day I bought the package before I left home versus the day that RCI billed my credit card.
#9
London
21,832 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by 4774Papa
The blood sucking tax ...
I assume you describe all sales taxes like that, including the 7% or 8% sales taxes in Georgia?
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#10
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,017 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Globaliser
I assume you describe all sales taxes like that, including the 7% or 8% sales taxes in Georgia?
There are some similarities between sales and VAT.
However, state sales taxes don't apply to cruises in other countries as does the Spanish VAT.
Also, Georgia has a relatively low income tax. Most European countries with VAT have very high income taxes as well.
Generally, a consumption tax is preferable to taxes on productivity, but VAT is another layer of taxation feeding statism.
#11
London
21,832 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by 4774Papa
However, state sales taxes don't apply to cruises in other countries as does the Spanish VAT.
VAT is not something dreamt up by Spain alone. It's a tax that's EU-mandated and EU-regulated. It can hardly be a surprise, then, if the tax is charged throughout a cruise that never leaves the EU.

Think of a wholly intra-EU cruise as the European equivalent of a cruise that calls only at different states of the US. The idea of a "federal sales tax" on such a cruise may be less difficult to understand.
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#12
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,017 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Globaliser
VAT is not something dreamt up by Spain alone. It's a tax that's EU-mandated and EU-regulated. It can hardly be a surprise, then, if the tax is charged throughout a cruise that never leaves the EU.

Think of a wholly intra-EU cruise as the European equivalent of a cruise that calls only at different states of the US. The idea of a "federal sales tax" on such a cruise may be less difficult to understand.
I am aware of your statement. I lived in Germany for four years and their VAT was 17%.
#14
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,017 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by anboricua76
Yes, You can get the VAT tax back at the airport. Make sure you have all the paper work.
For drinks on the ship and excursions? I thought only for items purchased.
#15
Romsey England
10,743 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Globaliser
VAT is not something dreamt up by Spain alone. It's a tax that's EU-mandated and EU-regulated. It can hardly be a surprise, then, if the tax is charged throughout a cruise that never leaves the EU.
Except that it only seems to affect cruises turning-around in Spain, not those which sail from Italy, even those which call only at EU ports.

Let's face it, G, each country has its own slant on EU laws - one reason why it's not the level playing field that it's supposed to be.

JB
#16
Seascale,Cumbria,U.K.
5,310 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Ships we've sailed on from Southampton to Southampton charge this tax when moored in Spanish ports, whether there's a non-EU visit or not, but this tax disappears at sea......watch for when the casino's allowed to open....
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#17
London
21,832 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by John Bull
Let's face it, G, each country has its own slant on EU laws
Of course. It's why so many ships on short ex-UK cruises have to do the early-morning Guernsey dance, just so that the cruise can do tax-free sales. The point is that it's hardly a surprise if you do have to pay VAT on a cruise that never leaves the EU, and that this tax is therefore far from the deadly parasite that 4774Papa tries to make it out to be.
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#18
so california
660 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
I was on the Epic 10/16 through 10/23. They collected VAT at 18% on enerything drinks food and spa services too so plan ahead
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#20
Brooklyn
1,671 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by snorkelgirlca
I was on the Epic 10/16 through 10/23. They collected VAT at 18% on enerything drinks food and spa services too so plan ahead
I find it hard to believe that they applied 18% to everything, since NCL says they only apply 8% to bar drinks and specialty restaurant cover charges. Please double-check...

An NCL customer helpfully posted the document they give customers on Europe cruises about the Spanish VAT here:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...28&postcount=3