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10.4. Specific Regimes

Tonnage Regime

Articles 124-128 CITL provide for an optional regime (the tonnage tax regime), applicable to companies operating ships in national and/or international traffic, which consists in the determination of the taxable income on the basis of the ship tonnage.

Eligible entities

The regime is applicable to:

  • entities registered with the shipping companies registries, whose activity includes the exploitation of ships, whether owned or rented;
  • entities which carry out the technical and crew management of the ships (full responsibility of the maritime exploitation of the ship according to international standards).


Eligible ships

  • they must be managed, both strategically and commercially, from Spain or from another EU Member State;
  • they must be apt for maritime navigation and be devoted exclusively to the transportation of goods, passengers, salvage, and other services which must necessarily be delivered on the sea;
  • in the case of tugboats, it is necessary that less than 50% of the revenue of the tax year derives from activities carried out in harbors. In the case of dredgers, less than 50% of the revenue must derive from the transport and deposit, on the seabed, of materials taken. Tugboats and dredger ships must be registered either in Spain or in another EU Member State.


Other requirements

  • The regime is partially applicable. This means that companies which have ships that are not registered in Spain or in another EU Member State can apply the tonnage tax to that part of the tonnage that complies with the requirements. However, the regime is not available when no ship of the company is registered in Spain or the EU;
  • Ships devoted to fishing, sport or recreational activities do not qualify for the tonnage regime;
  • When the following three circumstances occur in a tax year, the regime is not applicable:
    • The entity is considered a medium or large enterprise according to Recommendation 2003/361/EC;
    • The entity receives a State Aid for restructuring, granted under Communication 2004/C244/02 of the EU Commission;
    • The EU Commission had not taken into account the application of this regime when granting the Aid for restructuring.

The taxable base

The taxable base covered by the tonnage regime will be calculated by applying to the net tonnage of each ship the following scale:

Net tonnage                Daily amount for each 100 Tons (in euro)
0-1,000        0.90
1,001-10,000      0.70
10,001-25,000      0.40
From 25,000      0.20

This calculation must be applied to all ships of the taxpayer that meet the requirements.


The standard corporate tax rate applies. No credits are allowed against the taxable base calculated under the tonnage regime.


The taxpayer must file a request with the Ministry of Taxes for the application of the regime. The regime is granted for a 10-year period, which can be extended by similar periods upon request. The regime ceases to apply whenever the requirements are no longer met.  

The Tax Administration may check compliance with all requirements. Should the taxpayer fail to meet them, all tax benefits will be withdrawn and the taxpayer will have to pay the tax that it should have paid had the regime not been available, plus surcharges, interest and fines. In that case, no new application may be made within a 5-year period.