Malta is currently the fifth largest ship register in the world. This is undoubtedly greatly owed to Malta’s regime which among other incentives offers a complete tax exemption for ship owners, charterers and financiers of Maltese ships over 1,000 net tons. Moreover, this exemption may be extended to vessels of a lesser tonnage and to ships not engaged in the carriage of goods and passengers. Furthermore, no income tax is payable when dividends are distributed to corporate shareholders. No succession or other duties are payable on the transfer of shares of the owning company. The sale, transfer or assignment of any shares in the ship-owning company is also duty-free. Additionally, interest payable to a non-resident on a loan raised for the purpose of owning or operating a registered ship is exempt from tax.
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