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Landmark Judgement : Tax Exemption for Seafarers

Landmark Judgment:  Tax Exemption for Indian Seafarers

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping brings joy to thousands of Indian Seafarers and their families.paper

It is a pleasure to inform you that the Government of India has accepted in principle the long standing demand of Indian Seafarers. Even the coastal period of seafarers working on Indian flags ships which are going in foreign waters will now be considered as non-resident period. This will help more and more Indian seafarers get non-resident status without any difficulty. The whole period of service of foreign going Indian flag ships whether on the coast or in foreign waters will now be considered totally as period in foreign waters.

However the implications come into effect once the intent is approved and enacted by law.

Indian Seafarers (sailing on Indian Flagships), through various Associations and bodies, have been demanding for NO Income Tax for Indian Seafarers working on Indian flag ships commensurate with their brethren working with Foreign Flagships to provide an equal playing field.

The demand has been that the whole period of service of foreign going Indian flagships whether on the Indian coast or in foreign waters should be taken as period in foreign waters and there should NOT be any Income Tax on salary and remuneration so earned.

The demand has also been that even the coastal period of seafarers working on Indian flags ships which are going in foreign waters should also be considered as non-resident period.

This matter has been a bone of contention for all Indian seafarers with the Government of India and also with the various departments of the Ministry of Shipping, Director General of Shipping, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Labour for many years.

Seafarer Associations have been consistently taking up the matter with the Ministry of Shipping at the statutory National Shipping Board and National Welfare Board and also in the various interactions with the Honourable Minister of Shipping.

Legal opinion and also comparative statements of the Income Tax benefits given by countries like Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Curacao, Cyprus, Ghana, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Portugal, Singapore, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Korea, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom to the their citizens who are seafarers have been provided to the Government to substantiate their claims.

Seafarer Associations have also appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on Direct Tax Code Bill, 2010 to strongly present the case for no Income tax for Indian seafarers working on Indian flagships.

NUSI also represented the matter recently with Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping on the occasion of “Day of the Seafarers” on 25th June.

TAXShri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping had assured the Seafarer community and all Indian seafarers that he will do justice to the seafarers and that he will personally take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance.

It is a pleasure to inform you that the Government of India has accepted in principle the long standing demand of Indian Seafarers. Even the coastal period of seafarers working on Indian flags ships which are going in foreign waters will now be considered as non-resident period. This will help more and more Indian seafarers get non-resident status without any difficulty. The whole period of service of foreign going Indian flag ships whether on the coast or in foreign waters will now be considered totally as period in foreign waters.

We appreciate the positive stand of the Government. NUSI and Indian seafarers are very happy due to this development and appreciate the efforts of Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping who has delivered, what he had promised, in the interest of thousands of Indian seafarers and their families.

 

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