Cruising yachtsmen who keep their boats in Croatia are facing an enormous tax increase following new regulations brought out by the Croatian government.
And it is feared hundreds, if not thousands of boat owners, will leave Croatia rather than pay the increase, which could amount to more than 400%.
The so-called sojourn tax was reported in the Croatian Official Gazette last month following adoption by the government and lists the following scale of payments:
- Boats between 9 and 12 metres:
- up to 8 days – Kn400
- 15 days - Kn700
- 30 days - Kn1,200
- 90 days - Kn2,900
- up to one year Kn5,800
- For boats between 12 and 15 metres:
- up to 8 days – Kn500
- 15 days - Kn 950
- 30 days - Kn1,600
- 90 days - Kn3,850
- up to one year - Kn7,700
One Croatian kuna is worth 12p.
CA member and boat owner, Peter Naish, said: ‘From 2018, my bill for this tourist tax would rise from Kn1100pa to Kn5800 pa but I have managed to extend my tourist tax payment at the old rate. My present tax certificate would have run out in June next year. I paid Kn 1100 to extend the cover until June 2019. The harbour masters at both Murter, where I am based, and in Preko have issued extended tax certificates to myself and some others.’
The CA advises all boat owners in Croatia to look into the new rates urgently and to liaise with their marina managers to see if they could pay for an extra year in advance at the old rate.
Money from the new tax is to be used for tourist projects, for which sailors have little use.
Mr Naish said: ‘We pay the vignette to cover the costs of the marine infrastructure - lights and buoyage. We pay very high marina and mooring fees to cover the costs of these infrastructure projects. Now we are expected to pay an over-proportional amount for other tourist projects that we will hardly use.’ He also said he would be starting to research other alternatives. ‘It will be very hard to leave Croatia, as we have many good friends here, but somewhere and sometime this has to stop.’
Changes to regulations in Greece and Turkey in recent years also caused many boat owners to plan to move elsewhere.