Myth Busters: The Truth behind filing under the SED by Patrick Maflin

marineaccountsIn recent weeks, tax with an emphasis on the Seafarers Earnings Deduction has been a hot topic of debate on social media and yachting forums. The aim of this article is to try and de-bunk some of the myths that are becoming commonplace in the yachting fraternity regarding the SED.
 
Tax has never really been a concern before for those working offshore until recently. This is in part due to the increasing number of cases of individuals who have fallen foul of their respective tax authorities as well as access to information on both sides of the fence.
 
As a business we have been receiving a growing number of enquiries from individuals wishing to file under the Seafarers Earnings Deduction. This exemption allows clients to declare all of their foreign income without being subject to tax providing they spend more than 183 days offshore and work onboard a ship; which is a very broad term. However the rules changed on 6th April 2013 with the introduction of the Statutory Residence Test. Clients wishing to file under this exemption now need to qualify as UK Residents first before their case will be considered.
 
HMRC produce an annual document on the SED called Helpsheet 205 which clearly defines who is eligible for this exemption. In this they state that this facility is open to UK residents working on ships. However if you have worked in the UK in the last four years and established residence, but do not hold a British passport you too could be eligible.
 
The SED provides a very neat solution to individuals working in the yachting industry who want to declare their income, which will become a requirement as of 2016 under the Offshore Disclosures Facility, but not pay tax. If you would like to see if you are eligible to use this tax facility please try our new Seafarers Earnings Deduction Test today: