The government still forgets boating. And now it threatens to bring it to its knees

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“To survive, we are ready to relocate the registered offices of our boat rental companies to the French Riviera.” Those are strong words from Simone Morelli, owner of North Sardinia Charter, one of Italy’s largest nautical charter operators and a board member of Confindustria Nautica.

Short-sighted government favors the French

What happened to get to this point? The Internal Revenue Service is about to implement the European Union’s warning tochange the calculation of the VAT rate on the navigation of the Pleasure boats used for hire, an increase of 10 percent over the current situation. While Italy complies early with the European directive, thea France has already postponed the increase of value-added tax (TVA in France, postponing the discussion with the Community until the end of the Covid 19 emergency.

The practical result is that someone who rents a boat from a company based in France will pay 10 percent less for the rental than a company based in Italy. We are talking about a vital sector for the Italian boating industry, consisting of more than a hundred companies employing 6,000 people. Confindustria Nautica President Saverio Cecchi speaks of “Absurd disparity of treatment. More than 5,000 jobs are now at risk. And 200 companies are ready to relocate to the French Riviera.”

The Monti cure has taught us nothing

The government, grappling with demands for postponements of European rules that would penalize the Italian economy at this time, has forgotten, once again about the Boating Industry. They also forget that this rule, which would bring in ridiculous hypothetical revenue on paper, in practice would bring no economic benefit to state coffers.

Indeed, it would reduce the expected revenue because it would bring the Italian boat rental industry to its knees and also the shipbuilding industry that sells its boats to charterers. The result would be a rash of layoffs and bankruptcies. The Monti cure, which taxed boating in 2012 in hopes of increasing state revenue, has already proven this. To err is human, to persevere is diabolical.

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