Seafarers Tax Refund: Do You Qualify?

You could qualify for a Seafarers Tax Refund if you meet the criteria listed below. Note that claims must be made in a Self-Assessment Tax return.

  1. The claim period will only be considered valid if it covers a minimum of 365 days. It will begin and end with a period of time outside of the UK. This can be a period of unemployment, employment, or a holiday abroad. After this period has passed, it will continue until a failure occurs. There is a failure if you are in the UK for more than 182 consecutive days, or you break what is known as the “half-day rule”, which applies to all return trips to the UK. Add the total number of days days since the start of the claim and divide this number by two. Then total the number of days actually spent within the UK (without dividing). If the total amount of time spent within the UK exceeds the number of days derived from the first calculation, then there is a failure. The claim period ends with the previous date of return to the UK. A new claim must then be started from the earliest possible date of leaving the UK.
  2. Each employment per tax year must have at least one voyage (or partial voyage) that begins or ends at a foreign port. Drilling rigs and oil or gas installations that are outside of the UK are regarded as foreign ports, as are those outside of the areas designated as part of the UK continental shelf.
  3. The employment period must take place aboard a ship. Off-shore installations are not regarded as ships. The Self-Assessment help sheet offers examples of off-shore installations.

If you have decided that you have a valid claim, you must submit the Self-Assessment Tax return. You need to be sure that:

  • you have completed a separate employment page for each employment. If you have no foreign port, then you cannot file a claim.
  • the claimed amount is the salary and not the tax.
  • the claimed amount excludes period prior to the claim period and after failure of the claim, and does not include periods spent on off-shore installations.

Filing tax claims correctly can be difficult, but you don’t have to go it alone. Contact us and we’ll help you get the refund that’s due.


Image source – Unsplash

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