The Offshore Energy Branch of RMT has received numerous calls regarding a tax consultant who is advising he can recover tax payments for offshore workers. This consultant advises he can recover several years of payments from HM Revenue and Customs and he will deduct a commission payment for the service.

RMT advises all members not to engage this tax consultant.

The Offshore Energy Branch has seen this all before. Many members in the past have received tax returns, some in excess of £20,000. However, within a 2 or 3 year period HMRC come knocking and inform the member they were not entitled to the tax rebate. The HMRC then look to recover every penny paid out, plus interest! The rules are very clear as to who is entitled to a rebate under the Seafarers/Foreign Earnings Deduction legislation. The link below takes you there.




The designated areas

The Continental Shelf Act (1964) identified certain areas of the North Sea and North Atlantic as being within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom for the purposes of oil and gas exploration and exploitation. Section 41 ITEPA 2003 deems that any general earnings arising from employment duties performed in a designated area in connection with exploration and exploitation activities shall be treated as if they arose from duties performed in the United Kingdom.


Vessels working in the offshore oil and gas industry that are ‘offshore installations’

The following structures are offshore installations and are not accepted as ships for the purposes of Seafarers’ Earnings Deduction (SED):

  • floating production platforms
  • floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs)
  • floating storage units (FSUs)
  • mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) including drillships, semi-submersible and jack-up rigs and tension leg platforms
  • flotels (floating accommodation units).

And of course any fixed platform or satellite


Definition of offshore installation - Section 1001 ITA 2007

The definition of a ship excludes an offshore installation (EIM33101).

An offshore installation is a structure (a term which includes a ship or other vessel) which is, is to be, or has been, put to a “relevant use” while standing or stationed in any waters. The definition will therefore include any floating structure that maintains its position while being used for a relevant use regardless of whether it anchors or keeps on station by dynamic positioning (see EIM33108).

The reference to “any waters” means that structures of this nature that are, are to be or have been used for a relevant use anywhere in the world, should not be accepted as ships for the purposes of the deduction.


Relevant use

A structure is an offshore installation if it is, is to be, or has been put to a relevant use whilst in water. A relevant use is use for -

  • exploiting mineral resources by means of a well;
  • exploration with a view to exploiting mineral resources by means of a well;
  • storage of gas in or under the shore or the bed of any waters;
  • recovery of gas so stored;
  • conveyance of things by means of a pipe;
  • mainly for the provision of accommodation for persons who work on or from a structure which is, is to be, or has been, put to a use specified above

EIM33104 lists different categories of vessel and structure used in the offshore oil and gas industry and indicates whether they are regarded as ships or offshore installations for the purposes of Seafarers/Foreign Earnings Deductions.






When the tax man receives a claim he pays out – then he starts to review every claim. When he comes back to recover your claim, plus a big chunk of interest, do not call us; it’s too late and there’s nothing we can do.