Share fisherman: tax budgeting scheme

A voluntary scheme to help self-employed share fishermen budget for Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs).

How the scheme works

Authorise your settling agent (payer) to deduct a minimum of 20% each time you’re paid. They’ll put this money into a dedicated, interest bearing bank account in your name (your fishing account). It will stay in that account until your tax and NICs become due.

Fill in a Direct Debit mandate, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will take money from your fishing account, usually in January and July. They’ll use the money to clear your outstanding Income Tax and Class 4 NICs - settling the oldest liabilities first.

Join the scheme

Register with HMRC as self-employed within 3 months of when you first started fishing.

Contact HMRC to ask for a Tax Savings Scheme form and a Direct Debit mandate.

Fill in the Tax Savings Scheme form and the Direct Debit mandate. Ask your boat owner or settling agent (payer) to witness and sign the savings scheme form. They will send both forms to HMRC’s Fishing Unit.

Your boat owner or settling agent will deduct the percentage you’ve agreed and pay it into your dedicated fishing account.

Deduction rates to use

The minimum deduction is 20%. But, if you’ve tax arrears or you earn more than £28,000 (gross) in a year, you must increase your percentage deduction. Do this in multiples of 5%.

To increase your percentage deduction you must fill in an additional Direct Debit mandate.

Claim sea kit expenses

If you join the scheme, you can claim an allowance for sea kit expenses. This is to cover things like:

  • protective clothing
  • oilskins
  • boots
  • gloves
  • stones
  • bedding

You won’t normally be asked for proof of this expense as long as it falls below the agreed figure of £700.

If you aren’t fishing for a full year, you can only claim a proportion of this allowance. For example, if you’ve only been fishing for 6 months of the year, you can only claim a maximum of £350.

Get more help

If you need more help or want to speak to an adviser, please use the contact details below:

Fishing Units

For fishermen registered in Scotland.

HM Revenue and Customs
Cotton House
7 Cochrane Street
G1 1HY

Telephone: 03000 529 319

For fishermen registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

HM Revenue and Customs
Longbrook House
New North Road

Telephone: 03000 567 134

Find out about call charges

There are different telephone numbers for Self Assessment or National Insurance enquiries.

Published 25 September 2014
Last updated 27 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. HMRC's fishing units contact details for fishermen registered in Scotland has been updated.
  2. The telephone number for HMRC's Fishing Unit in Dundee has been updated.
  3. First published.