India: Merchant Navy Personnel May Have To Pay Tax

Income Tax Department of India started sending notices to seafarers asking them to pay taxes on income earned on both foreign and Indian flagged ships.

The notices were a result of a recent Income Tax tribunal judgement from Kolkata which required merchant navy personnel to pay taxes. According to the judgement, seafarers may have to pay around 30% tax on their income. Worse still, the IT department can raise a tax demand on income of last six years as well.

Representation Image - Photograph by Jose Jacob
Representation Image – Photograph by Jose Jacob

Until now, merchant navy personnel who spent more than six months at sea enjoyed similar benefits to non-resident Indians. These benefits have been received by seafarers for decades.

The judgement will affect thousands of merchant navy personnel, India being one of the largest suppliers of crew to global merchant navy fleet.

Maritime Union of India (MUI) and National Union of Seafarers Of India (NUSI) are challenging these decision and are asking seafarers to show strong support by sending a petition.

Credits: indiatimes.com/ Dnamone

One Comment

  1. This is absolutely bullshit! Why should they? If they serve on foreign flag vessels they get paid in foreign currency tax free, as it is a Foreign Inward Remittance, same as an expatriate remitting money to his home while working abroad. Then why should they join Indian Flag vessels? This will result in shortage of well trained fleet personnel who will join foreign companies, and the Indian Shipping Companies will suffer for want of highly trained personnel. THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE IN THE 1980s! The Income tax boneheads did not think it expedient to consult the DG Shipping and the Unions of Seafarers before launching on this new fangled tax extortion scheme.??? As it is, world shipping is in the slump, and they just don’t know there are 11 or more types of taxes which Indian shipping companies have to pay to run their business. As it is, every seaman faces a lot of dangers while on the job. Pirates apart, make one mistake, you will probably lose your life or limb or endanger others. So, they literally earn every cent of their wages. It is downright criminal, immoral, and unethical to tax their salaries.

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