£100 fine? Really? For not doing a tax return?

That’s what we thought but it turns out this is true.

We saw this mentioned on Social media and so we decided to do a bit of research. After all, we don’t like to see adverts or headlines which may mislead crew or, worse still cost them money they don’t need to spend.

Tax and what to do about it can be stressful enough for crew without having various “tax specialists” trying to scare you into doing something unnecessary. So, we spoke to Crew Family Office, the most popular crew tax company in the Superyacht industry to find out the truth.

So, what’s the truth?

We had a great chat with Mark Upton from CREWFO who told us everything we need to know. There is good and bad news. So here we go;

  1. If you are British and work on a yacht you need to declare your offshore income. This is law
  2. To declare your income you need to do a tax return.
  3. Your tax return must be submitted by the 31st January each year
  4. If it is late you will get a fine from HMRC

Whilst this sounds like a massive pain it turns out to be nothing like as bad as you think. I went through the process on the CREWFO website and it takes about 10 minutes. EASY. We can see why they are so popular!

There are obviously a few bits of key information the CREWFO team needs such as;

  1. Personal details like, DOB, address, NI number, UTR number (if you have one)
  2. Employer details, days in the UK and amount you have earned.
  3. Copies (electronic obviously) of payslips or bank statements

Once they have this which I obviously had saved (I am a super organised Captain) then my draft return was sent over for my review within 24 hours. Now THAT is what I call GREAT SERVICE. 

The bad news

  1. If you are British crew and your tax return is late you WILL get a £100 fine. The fine WILL get bigger if you are late paying it.
  2. If you have never done a tax return before but should have, you WILL get a fine if/ when you get caught. These fines can be quite big!
  3. To do your tax return you need to gather some information which is a bit of a pain. CREWFO are very good but they cannot read your mind. They need info from you! Do them and yourself a favour and keep records!

Now, the good news

  1. 1000’s of crew do their taxes every year. Believe me it is not rocket science.
  2. Once you submit the info, CREWFO do the rest. There is no real work involved for you.
  3. It is very unlikely you will have any tax to pay as long as you meet the requirements for the SED (seafarer’s earnings deduction)
  4. Once it is done you are a UK tax payer. This is a GOOD thing!
  5. You can now do things like apply for mortgages, set up investments/ pensions etc and make the most of all the other benefits as yacht crew that other people don’t get!

The final word from Mark at CREWFO was this. “I understand that seeing an advert warning crew of fines can be stressful and a little bit scary. But, there are so many crew out there who still don’t understand what they need to do or just think they will get away with not doing anything. A little bit of a nudge may help them avoid a fine. If a bit of tough love can help save you a fine then you can thank us later”

So, what can we take away from our experience?

  1. British crew can get a £100 fine. The headlines you see are not lies or click bait.
  2. Doing your tax return is easy. Well, getting someone like CREWFO to do it is easy. CREWFO look after 1000’s of British crew and do tax returns for all of them. Crew love them, so do we, and you should too!
  3. There is no downside to doing a tax return. British crew;
    1. Won’t have to pay tax
    2. Will be in the system
    3. Can then have access to mortgages, investments and all the other things which crew put their money in to.

Finally, as a Captain one thing I still find hard to believe is this. British crew still don’t seem to get how lucky they are compared with almost every other nationality in yachting. How many crew wish they could file a tax return and still NOT have to pay any tax? You get all the benefits but none of the negatives. Do yourselves a favour, think of your future. It all starts with tax!

A big thank you to the team at Crew Family Office who not only helped us get to the bottom of what we have been reading, but also showed me how easy it actually is to file your tax return. And avoid the £100 fine!

CrewFO was set up specifically to assist SuperYacht crew with the difficult things in life like tax. If you have read this article and are not sure what to do next, get in touch or go to www.crewfo.com

Related articles