Tax Moves Hurt UK Seafarers

Friday, May 02, 2003
Accountant Moore Stephens says changes to National Insurance rules for UK companies employing British seafarers announced last week may threaten British jobs. Shipping tax partner, Philip Parr, says, "From October 6, 2003, shipping companies using British resident seafarers and which operate mainly in UK waters face a payroll cost increase of 13 per cent, and increased costs of administration." On April 23, 2003 the Paymaster General announced that with effect from October 6, 2003 shipping companies that use offshore manning companies to provide UK resident mariners for their ships operating mainly within UK waters will have to pay employers' National Insurance Contributions. Until now, such mariners had been specifically excluded, giving a boost to both the employment of UK seafarers and the use of offshore companies to employ them. "These changes add very significantly to the costs of UK shipping," warns Parr. "They also increase the administrative burden of employment, and so may tempt owners to seek alternatives."

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