Brexit: What does the Future Hold for Seafarers Earnings Deduction?

  • Patrick Maflin
    Patrick Maflin

Image source:ßbritanien-gb-europe-1491370/

With Brexit only a matter of weeks away, it is still extremely difficult to predict what will happen when the UK finally leaves the European Union (EU).

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with the changing terms, then you are not alone.

With the government appearing to be in a deadlock with the EU over the final agreement, the debate over what the final terms will be continues.

There are a number of bills that will affect seafarers, such as the Customs Bill where it seems that we will have a separate domestic customs and tax regime, and the Immigration Bill which may prevent freedom of movement, but we are yet to know the final details.

In this article, we explore the major issues concerning seafarers and Brexit, and what changes if any will affect you.

Read on to find out more or use the links below to jump to the chapter that interests you most:


  1. Customs & Border Controls
  2. European Health Insurance Card
  3. Will the Seafarers Earnings Deduction be Scrapped?
  4. Conclusions

EU Parliament Building

Image source:

Customs & Border Controls

No immediate changes are expected to customs clearance although all countries have the right to stop and inspect vessels in their waters.

With regards to border controls and what this will mean for vessels and their staff including the impact on duration of stay in EU waters, UK marine bodies are working closely with the Government to ensure that any adverse changes are minimised.

There are likely to be impacts on rules and regulations on passports and visas so it would be prudent to take some steps at this stage ensuring that you have ample months validity on your passport.

There will likely to be some changes applied to the Schengen visa around the time limit of stays in the EU and the length of time it will take to get the visa.

You may even need to log your time between the UK and the EU with HMRC but all is yet to be revealed.

Take Our Online Residency Text

European Health Insurance Card

The healthcare provided under the EHIC in Europe will cease, but is likely to be replaced.

Houses of Parliament

Image source:

Will the Seafarers Earnings Deduction be Scrapped?

Despite all this, we continue to find the key concern amongst our seafaring clients is the rumours abounding that the Seafarers Earnings Deduction (SED) will be abolished once the UK leaves the European Union.

However, EU regulations and directives have no influence over the UK tax laws and therefore being in or out of the EU will have no relevance to the SED, and there is still no discussion within our government regarding any change or removal of this.

It is argued that the Seafarers Earnings Deduction (SED) benefits the UK economy as it draws back these desirable residents, who will most likely then reinvest in the economy rather than becoming part of another country’s tax system and investing there.

The UK taxation of seafarers allows you bring your tax affairs up to date and achieve transparency in the eyes of HMRC.

This in turn puts you in a strong position when wanting to return to land based income, seek out mortgages etc, and you need not be concerned about the Automatic Exchange of Information.


In summary, no matter what the terms of the final Brexit, it does seem that the Seafarers Earnings Deduction is here to stay and keeps the UK as the most forgiving tax system for our seafarers.

If you are an EU citizen that would like to bring your tax affairs up to date in the UK, it is currently a simple process.

If you are a non-EU citizen with enough ties to the UK you may also be able to join the system, as long as you do not have tax residency elsewhere.

Speak to Us or Comment!

With Brexit just weeks away and the political and economic climate looking all the more uncertain, seafarers are understandably nervous and frustrated.

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article or any questions you might have about the impact of Brexit on yacht crew tax and income.

Just leave a comment in the section below or alternatively, contact us if you need professional advice on your yachting income tax obligations post-Brexit.

Liked this article? Try reading: Yacht Crew Tax & Financial Information - Your Ultimate Guide

Any advice in this publication is not intended or written by Marine Accounts to be used by a client or entity for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party matters herein.

refer a friend

Refer a friend and receive £50!

Upon successful completion of the referral the cash will be transferred to you.