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The global luxury goods industry, which includes high-value items such as superyachts and fine art, has been growing steadily for decades. Yet, one of the main risks associated with ‘passion investing’, or investing in items of desire, is that the high levels of adoration can often override rational decision-making.

While emotions are an essential part of what makes us human, there can be perils to following your heart when it comes to investing, especially when one luxury asset houses another. For example, many superyacht owners are also art collectors, often displaying their works of art aboard their boat. Even though the value of the art can often outweigh the value of the yacht, many of the ultra-wealthy fail to protect their most prized possessions from the likes of creditors, criminal activity or other catastrophes that come with being out at sea. This results in the loss of precious art, and ultimately, of millions of pounds.

As such, when purchasing luxury assets, it is important to apply the same asset protection, tax and legal considerations that you would usually apply to a business or real estate investment. 


It is crucial to know the tax status of your yacht and art collection, as well as how different tax authorities may treat it.While the rules can be complex and vary depending on where you are travelling to and from, one of the main tax concern for art is import VAT. For example, in when entering the EU, the appropriate import VAT rate will depend on which country the art is first imported through. Once your yacht and its contents enter the EU, it is free to move, provided it does not qualify as cultural property.


While many art collectors use their superyachts as floating art galleries,this decision can carry hidden risks when sailing to multiple destinations. Many countries have strict laws to protect their cultural property, so you may encounter legal issues if you’re moving important artworks from one country to another. Often, an export licence is required. However, it is worth noting that if a country feels the art is of particular importance, this may be denied.


If you’re a yacht owner, you’ve probably built up a complex portfolio of assets that cross international borders. As such, you’ll need to protect your lifestyle and the fruits of your labour, worldwide. All while managing the risks to preserve the value of your portfolio.  


At Turner Little, we have a wealth of experience in asset protection and know the importance of securing your high-value portfolio from threats, including creditors, divorce, bankruptcy and more. The key is to plan now to protect for later, so we work tirelessly to provide bespoke solutions that work for you. Speak to a member of our specialist team today.  

Turner Little and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Material on this page has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.