EC approves Malta tonnage tax scheme

The European Commission has granted its conditional approval of the Maltese Tonnage Tax Scheme for a period of 10 years. The scheme was assessed under European Union State aid rules and it was found to ensure a level playing field between Maltese and other European Shipping Companies whilst also attracting ship registration towards Europe.

The European Commission investigation has been ongoing since 2012. The approval was given subject to the amendments introduced by the Maltese authorities, including restricting the scope of the scheme to maritime transport and to remove those tax exemptions for shareholders which constitute State aid.

Under the Maltese scheme a shipping company which is registered in Malta (or the EU) pays a flat rate of ship net tonnage tax as opposed to tax on the actual profits of the company, subject to conditions.