Moore Stephens: HMRC May Rethink Tonnage Tax Changes

Monday, August 15, 2011
Sue Bill, Moore Stephens

Moore Stephens, understands that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has agreed to re-examine, in consultation with the shipping industry, its earlier intention to unilaterally reinterpret the UK Tonnage Tax rules to the potential detriment of many shipowners.

Widely disputed changes based on unspecified ‘legal advice’ were set out in HMRC’s tonnage tax manual in September 2009. These focused in particular on a reinterpretation of the strategic and commercial management tests that are fundamental to qualification for the tonnage tax regime.

UK tonnage tax is widely credited with having helped increase the UK fleet substantially since its introduction in 2000, when it was regarded as a model of clarity and stability. Then, as now, there was the need for a stable UK tax regime to both support British business and to encourage international businesses to operate and stay in the UK. Under the reinterpretation of the rules, some groups would not have qualified for the UK regime, despite having previously received HMRC clearance, with the result that internationally mobile shipping groups could consider leaving the UK.

Sue Bill, a tax partner with Moore Stephens, says, “HMRC’s reinterpretation of the rules created a lack of certainty and sent completely the wrong signals to international shipowners who had relocated to the UK to take advantage of its tonnage tax regime.  It would therefore be excellent news if, as we understand to be the case, HMRC decides to consider the matter afresh, and to consult fully with the shipping industry. This would be seen as an indication that the government means to continue to act fairly and reasonably, not least by protecting shipowners who elected into the regime for a ten-year period based on the original HMRC rules and clearances.

“While no formal change to HMRC’s position has yet been confirmed, it is understood that any changes to the rules will now be assessed carefully. HMRC has warned that this re-examination may not result in any change in its position at all. But we are hopeful that HMRC and the UK government will let us have a more considered view.

“We have been working with the industry, and in particular the Chamber of Shipping, in campaigning for some time, and we are delighted at this positive development.”


Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 638 offices of independent member firms in 97 countries, employing 20,588 people and generating revenues in 2010 of $2.151 billion.

 

Maritime Reporter September 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

NYK Opens New Planning Center in Kumamoto

On September 1, 2014, NYK and Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. established a stowage planning center for container shipping at the Kumamoto office of Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.

TNO Receives 'International Media Award for Prevention'

The Engagementgame developed by TNO in collaboration with partners is the winner of the 'International Media Award for Prevention' in the category Multi Media.

More German Shipowners Look to Gibdock for Repairs

Gibdock remarks it has continued to see its stock rise amongst the German shipowner community over the past year. Indeed the Gibraltar ship repair yard’s recent

Finance

NZ's Lyttelton Port Recommends Offer, to Pay Special Dividend

The board of New Zealand's  Lyttelton Port Co. Ltd recommended minority shareholders accept an offer of NZ$3.95 a share offer from the commercial arm of the Christchurch city council.

A Boost for UK Offshore Drilling? DW Monday Muses

Drilling activity offshore UK is now expected to increase over the next few years as government and industry reacts to the recommendations in Sir Ian Wood’s report

MHI, IHI & DBJ Join Forces On Investments

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), IHI Corporation and the Development Bank of Japan Inc. (DBJ) concluded a three-way formal agreement today on their respective

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.6285 sec (2 req/sec)