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Spain's Pastor Pledges Port Tax Cuts

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

06 September 2013


Spain's Minister for Public Works Ana Pastor has announced plans to reduce, by 5 percent, the fees charged for the use of port infrastructure by vessels, passengers and freight. This measure is to be accompanied by an 8.5 percent reduction in port property occupation tax.

Unveiling details of the plans during a speech at Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) on the Spanish port system, Ana Pastor explained that the measure will provide significant tax relief to businesses estimated at between EUR45m (USD59.5m) and EUR50m.

Underlining the Ministry's full commitment to the development of the country's ports, and to their "strategic role in the sustainability of the transport system," Public Works Minister Pastor highlighted the fact that, as a channel for imports and exports and as a source of industrial and commercial activity with added value, ports represent "a fundamental catalyst for supporting the Spanish productive system." Furthermore, ports generate a significant economic impact within their regions and, in many cases, are the hub for local industrial and commercial development, Pastor argued.

Alluding to the fact that the volume of activity at Spanish ports amounted to around 475 million tonnes last year, representing total growth of 3.9 percent compared to the previous year, the Spanish Minister pointed to the growth being experienced by Spanish sea exports, namely 9.7 percent in the first six months of 2013. This is becoming a major catalyst for strengthening the economy, Pastor made clear.

Finally, she noted that over 70 percent of Spanish foreign trade is currently channelled by sea and that port activity makes a direct annual gross value added contribution to the Spanish economy of over EUR9bn. To this can be added the 100,000 direct jobs created by Spanish ports, a figure which rises to 275,000 when including indirect and induced employment, the Minister ended.

Terminal operators are required to pay two charges to the Spanish Port Authorities: a fee for the private occupation of a public area and a fee for the use of a public domain. The port property occupation tax is determined according to the area occupied, and the charge is updated on an annual basis in line with the consumer price index. The second charge is fixed according to the type and volume of activity and the degree of utility of the service obtained. Both charges are determined according to the land value of the port area. In addition, shipping companies are also required to pay a fee for the special use of port facilities.

TAGS: tax | business | marine | fees | Spain | trade | Work

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