Prosperous business



“The current VAT structure must be kept for the following reasons: 1. On-board catering services; 2. On-board sales of goods; and 3. Passenger travel within the EU.”

Priority KVNR: maintaining current VAT regulations is of utmost importance

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Lodewijk Wisse
Tax and Legal

+31 10 2176 270

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Press inquiries


Nathan Habers
Public Relations

+31 10 2176 264


Within EU VAT regulations, since 1 January 2010, VAT has been levied in the country where the customer is located. However, this current structure contains the following exemptions:

  1. Passenger travel within the EU (international travel between EU ports) is exempt from VAT in almost all member states. This is because it is considered unfeasible to implement this in practice.
  2. Based on European VAT regulations, deliveries of new-build seagoing vessels and deliveries of goods and services to seagoing vessels, such as supply and bunkering, are also exempt from VAT. In the Netherlands this has been calculated to a zero rate, thus maintaining the right to VAT deduction. However, the European Court of Justice has ruled that seagoing vessels must be defined as vessels that actually sail on the open sea.
  3. On-board restaurant and catering services are also exempt from European VAT regulations, provided these services are performed during actual vessel transport. Once again, the Netherlands has opted to apply a zero rate.
  4. The sale of goods and the provision of services on board a seagoing vessel sailing on the open sea, and undertaking an international voyage, are also exempt from VAT. This is the case in practically all EU member states.

The KVNR is lobbying, together with ECSA, CLIA Europe and INTERFERRY, for the maintenance of all these VAT exemptions.

The challenge

Dutch VAT legislation is based on European VAT regulations. The European Commission has made numerous proposals for revising those regulations regarding the delivery of goods, with additional proposals still expected in the future. While a review of VAT regulations is positive, it must make European VAT regulations more straightforward.

State of play - 1 April 2019

In cooperation with ECSA, CLIA Europe (representing the cruise industry) and INTERFERRY (representing the ferry industry), the KVNR is preparing reactions to European Commission proposals. Our overall aim is that new regulations do not make matters more complicated, and the competitive position of the international shipping industry will not worsen.