But I thought this job was tax free?!

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But I thought this job was tax free?!

One of the commonly repeated fallacies in the superyacht industry is that the crew wages are tax free.

It is true that vessel owners can avoid contributing to their crew’s taxes by paying them through countries such as the British Virgin Islands or the Channel Islands.

Sadly, this summer yacht crew in the Med at least may be getting some unpleasant reminders from French tax authorities at least. If you should be paying personal taxes in France, expect them to be letting you know.

In an ironic twist, tax authorities might be helped in finding you by MLC 2006 and the VAT man – no, you don’t have to pay VAT on your wages.

But first, it should surprise no one but in general, everybody has to answer to a taxman somewhere, especially national insurance or social security, if you prefer.

And it should also come as no surprise that tax authorities everywhere are not just on the lookout for unpaid tax but actually are being more aggressive in going out and finding it.

The rules are a bit complex, especially for very international workers like seafarers and yacht crew.

But the rules are there and if you’re not paying national insurance somewhere, it might be the time to do some investigation before the taxman does it for you.

You have been warned.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team