Revenue Note for Guidance
The section provides for an allowance of €6,350 for certain seafarers. The allowance is conditional on a seafarer being at sea for at least 161 days in a tax year.
(1) “international voyage” means a voyage beginning or ending in a port outside the State.
“Member State’s Register” means essentially a shipping register for the registration of shipping in any EU Member State.
“sea-going ship” means a passenger or cargo ship registered in a Member State’s Register. Fishing vessels are excluded.
“qualifying employment” means an employment the duties of which are performed on a sea-going ship on an international voyage.
“qualifying individual” is defined as an individual who has an agreement with the master of a ship and who holds a qualifying employment.
(2)(a) An individual is regarded as being absent from the State for a day if he or she is absent at midnight.
(2)(b) A drilling rig or platform at sea is regarded as a port outside the State for the purposes of the section. A voyage to such a rig (including rigs within the Irish continental shelf), therefore, qualifies as an international voyage for the purposes of the allowance.
(3) The allowance is not available to State employees or employees of State-sponsored bodies or statutory boards. It is also not available in any case where the income is taxed under the “remittance basis” of taxation or where the income is subject to “split year” treatment. The latter applies where a taxpayer in the year of arrival in, or departure from, the State is deemed resident for part of the year only and is thus already entitled to favourable tax treatment.
(4) & (4A) Where an individual makes a claim and satisfies an authorised officer that he or she was absent from the State for at least 161 days in a tax year for the purposes of performing the duties of a qualifying employment, he or she is entitled to a deduction of €6,350 against the income from the qualifying employment. The allowance cannot be set against other income of the individual or against the income of his or her spouse.
(5) During the period from 6 April 1994 to 31 December 2003 seafarers could claim either seafarers relief under this section or the foreign earnings deduction under section 823 but not both. This choice only arose for seafarers on voyages to destinations outside the UK, as the foreign earnings deduction did not apply to periods of absence on direct visits to the UK.
The foreign earnings deduction provided by section 823 ceased on 31 December 2003.
(6) For the purposes of the definition of ‘qualifying employment’ any duties not performed on board a ship on an international voyage which are merely incidental to the duties which are performed on board a ship on an international voyage may be treated as having been performed on board the sea-going ship.
Relevant Date: Finance Act 2019