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  • Tax and Professional Development Questions

    Hi All,

    I have bagged my first job on a Day Rate contract working for DOF and I am wondering if anyone can answer a few questions for me R.E taxation and then professional development.

    TAX
    I am joining a vessel on March 10th for 5 weeks, in a foreign port - I will also be leaving said vessel in April in the same foreign port I joined in. will this count towards my foreign port for the 2019/20 tax year? or do you have to join and leave in the foreign port in the same tax year? Obviously I join before the current tax year ends, and am unsure how it works.

    PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
    What courses ETC do you recommend for professional development outside of the CoC structure? as an engineer would electrical courses benefit me at all? business courses? etc. I dont intend on working at sea forever, and am doubtful I will stick it out to get a chiefs ticket and want to keep my options open for when I do move ashore to keep my earnings up - I understand there will be a pay cut but I can cross that bridge when i get to that point.

    Any information you can provide RE my queries is very much appreciated.
    ta
    T.Jacobs

  • #2
    Hello,

    Congrats on the new job!

    Tax - because you are starting your job before the tax year ends in April you are best doing as follows: first of all you still need to get your year under your belt, so on March 10th 2020 you will hopefully have your 365 days since your first "day out" - note this doesn't have to be a foreign port, it would still be your first "day out" if you were joining in the UK. IF on March 10th 2020 you have had 183 "days out" which means 183 days where at midnight your ship was not alongside in the UK by your ship's official log book times, you are eligible to claim your tax back at that date, and it will be processed before April assuming you apply for it on the day you hit your 1 year work anniversary. The difference to the norm is you'll be applying for your tax back from 10th March 2019 to 10th March 2020, not to April 2020 as people normally do. The following year you will re-sync to April because, if you're still eligible, you can claim from 10th March 2020 to 5th April (the date the tax year ends) 2021, claiming 13ish months back. From there onwards you will be claiming 5th April to 5th April and it'll be simple. I hope this makes sense, but be warned that doing it yourself can be tricky. I'd recommend a sea tax accountant (loads online, averaging £200 per return) to do your first two years, as they'll be the awkward ones and require a bit of extra input to HMRC. Once you're synced up and running your tax April to April, it gets easier and you'll soon learn how to submit your return yourself after much swearing and googling. So basically: you require 365 days at sea in any employment so you can change company/ship/routes etc, you require 183 midnights where your ship doesn't have the ropes attached to the UK and engine off, you require one foreign port in that 365 day period, you can use personal holidays to Benidorm to contribute to your 183 midnights and you should collect evidence of your whereabouts such as photocopies of the ships log showing where the ship is at midnight and your travel tickets for work and holidays proving when you left and re-entered the UK. This isn't necessary but will help you if HMRC investigate you.

    Professional development - no extra courses will benefit you at sea in my opinion. The only things that could change your seafaring destiny are your CoC, your shortcourses and any environmental qualifications. If you have a degree or experience in environmental management you open up the Environmental Officer opportunities on cruise ships, which is quite a good job. As for moving ashore your experience at sea and HNC or higher is good enough if you stick at seafaring for a few years. There are plenty of roles for engineers ashore if you look in the right places, most of them at a similar or better wage. I am now earning higher on land than I ever did at sea, and I had some rather "above average" wages at sea; I only have my EOOW CoC and 4 years of experience too.

    Say if any of the above doesn't make sense, it's really hard typing stuff like this on the new forum as you can't really review what you've written as you're typing

    Good luck with the new job, hope you enjoy it!

    Comment


    • #3
      Not just travel tickets, keep your receipts for things like coffee and the odd bits you get at the shop. Easy enough to buy a ticket and then not actually go, or not go for as long as you've claimed, but if you have evidence you were where you said you were, that helps too.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good point, forgot that. I just kept a paper folder for each year with my photocopies of ships logbook, travel tickets, coffee receipts and fridge magnets/snowglobes. I've never heard of anyone getting investigated but you hear some bad mythical stories about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post
          Hello,

          Tax - because you are starting your job before the tax year ends in April you are best doing as follows: first of all you still need to get your year under your belt, so on March 10th 2020 you will hopefully have your 365 days since your first "day out" - note this doesn't have to be a foreign port, it would still be your first "day out" if you were joining in the UK. IF on March 10th 2020 you have had 183 "days out" which means 183 days where at midnight your ship was not alongside in the UK by your ship's official log book times, you are eligible to claim your tax back at that date, and it will be processed before April assuming you apply for it on the day you hit your 1 year work anniversary. The difference to the norm is you'll be applying for your tax back from 10th March 2019 to 10th March 2020, not to April 2020 as people normally do. The following year you will re-sync to April because, if you're still eligible, you can claim from 10th March 2020 to 5th April (the date the tax year ends) 2021, claiming 13ish months back. From there onwards you will be claiming 5th April to 5th April and it'll be simple. I hope this makes sense, but be warned that doing it yourself can be tricky. I'd recommend a sea tax accountant (loads online, averaging £200 per return) to do your first two years, as they'll be the awkward ones and require a bit of extra input to HMRC. Once you're synced up and running your tax April to April, it gets easier and you'll soon learn how to submit your return yourself after much swearing and googling. So basically: you require 365 days at sea in any employment so you can change company/ship/routes etc, you require 183 midnights where your ship doesn't have the ropes attached to the UK and engine off, you require one foreign port in that 365 day period, you can use personal holidays to Benidorm to contribute to your 183 midnights and you should collect evidence of your whereabouts such as photocopies of the ships log showing where the ship is at midnight and your travel tickets for work and holidays proving when you left and re-entered the UK. This isn't necessary but will help you if HMRC investigate you.
          blimey that is confusing! what would happen if i were unable to get the 183 days out before March 10th 2020? do those days get forfeited or can they be used towards a future SED claim? just a theoretical question because i cant see why i wouldnt but would be good to know!

          Comment


          • #6
            You would continue rolling forwards until you have got 183 days out in the last 365, then you'd claim for that 12 month period. If it takes you until October 2020 to get 183 days out in the last 365 days, you'd claim October 2019 onwards. If it's confusing use an accountant!

            Comment


            • #7
              Nicely explained by gibbs, although for me i just went to an accountant to get it all sorted to begin with. I have just finished 2 years in the job and about to complete my first full tax year. I went to an account (a branch of Tax Assist accountants) and they sorted everything out for me no bother in a couple of meetings, including sorting my tax code etc. All for the cost of 130 pound. In my opinion it has been very worthwhile and value for money when weighed up against the chances of ballsing it up. Congrats on the new job by the way DOF are a good outfit. Im also looking to change jibs now tax year is just about over, can i ask how you got to job with dof? was it through an agency? Currently working on a field support vessel doing standby work and the occasional shuttle tanker tow but it isnt half boring.

              Comment

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