Court battle won by marine industry
Learning to sail has become much cheaper in Holland after a court battle to slash VAT has been won by the marine industry there.
Dutch sailing schools are now able to charge a much lower rate of VAT after
the Zuidlaardermeer Sailing School and HISWA Holland Marine Industry won a
recent court victory against the Dutch tax authorities, reports IBI Magazine.
Sailing schools in the Netherlands were previously forced to charge clients
19 per cent VAT. Now, under specific conditions, the rate has dropped to
just six per cent – in line with all other sports in the country.
The Dutch tax authorities had justified the higher rate by saying that
inspection of watersports activities was more difficult as they take place
in public spaces rather than a building or sports facility.
“This argument was not in line with the principle of stimulating sports,”
says Geert Dijks, HISWA manager public affairs. “Moreover, sailing is a
traditional Dutch sport as well as an Olympic sport. It was simply
unacceptable that parents who wanted their children to have a week of
sailing lessons had to pay so much more VAT than for any other form of
In its verdict, the Court decided that sailing lessons taking place in a
demarcated sailing area is a designated ‘sports facility’ and can therefore
be charged VAT of six per cent.
It is not yet known if the Dutch tax authorities will appeal the decision.