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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Seafarers' Earnings Deduction: location of duties performed on a ship

Section 382 ITEPA 2003

For the purposes of the seafarers’ deduction only, treat duties performed on a ship as performed outside the United Kingdom in the following circumstances:

  • any voyage or part voyage that begins or ends outside the United Kingdom but
  • excluding any part that both begins and ends in the United Kingdom.

The effect of these rules is to enable seafarers to obtain the deduction for earnings from employments that include voyages that begin or end outside the boundaries of the United Kingdom. Voyages that do not involve a call at an overseas port do not qualify. For this purpose, the designated areas of the continental shelf are treated as part of the United Kingdom.

This is reinforced by section 382(2), which treats duties performed on a vessel engaged ona voyage not extending to a port outside the United Kingdom as performed in the United Kingdom.


Deep-sea fishermen who set out from the United Kingdom, sail to fishing grounds near to Iceland and return to the same home port are not entitled to the deduction. The reason for this is that for the purposes of the deduction they do not perform duties outside the United Kingdom. There is a single voyage that begins and ends in the United Kingdom. Section 382(2) deems all of the duties on the trawler to have been performed in the United Kingdom.

However, if the trawler docks at a port in Iceland to unload the catch, duties performedon the voyage from the United Kingdom to the Icelandic port and from the Icelandic port to the United Kingdom are regarded as having being performed outside the United Kingdom. Subject to the other rules and conditions the trawler-men may be entitled to the deduction.

Different approach when identifying days of absence

The guidance set out above only applies when considering where the duties of an employment are performed.
Days of absence from the United Kingdom for the purposes of establishing an eligible period are decided according to the location of the employee at midnight. If at midnight the employee is outside of the United Kingdom then the day that ended at midnight counts as a day of absence. The special rules in section 382 do not apply.