Party time for Indian Seafarers.
Its Achhe Din finally for the Indian Sailing community. The decades long demand for tax parity of Indian Flag Sailors with their Foreign Flag counterparts has finally been heard and addressed.
As per the latest Circular of the Income Tax Department, India, Seafarers in the Indian Flag vessels, will be treated as an NRI even if they have sailed sufficiently in Indian waters. Hence there will be NO Tax to be paid.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a long awaited gazette notification no.70/2015/F No.142/12/2015-TPL clarifying that the period of stay of India Seafarers outside India will be calculated from the date stamped on their Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC)—a seafarer’s identity document—at the time of joining the ship for the voyage till the date entered in the CDC at the time of signing off from the ship in respect of that voyage.
To elaborate a little more, aSeafarer serving on an Indian ship outside India for a period of 182 days or more in a year is considered to be a non-resident. However, the time spent by a ship in Indian territorial waters is considered as period of service in India, according to tax rules framed in 1990.
Hence if you had sailed in an Indian Flag vessel for 200 days of which the Vessel was in Indian coastal waters for 30 days, then your entire income would have got taxed in India. Whereas in case of a Sailor with a Foreign Flag the income would not be taxed in India for the same voyage.
The marginal rate of Taxation being 30% approximately. Hence 30% of your earnings would be shaved out from the Income if you sailed in an Indian Flag.
However with the latest ruling if you are on a similar voyage as above, your income will now be TAX FREE.
Hence this will relate to a straight saving of laks of rupees for each Indian Sailor.
Happy Saving and Happy Taxes.