A Seafarers Allowance of €6,350 amounting to a tax credit of €1,270, is being extended to workers on board fishing vessels under Budget 2017.
The decision has been welcomed by the fishing industry and comes after many years of lobbying for its introduction to remove the anomaly they claim exists in the Taxes Consolidation Act where fishing vessel workers were excluded from claiming the allowance. An independent review of marine taxation by Indecon consultants in 2015 recommended the change.
Minister Joe McHugh (second left) and IFPO representatives at their offices in Killybegs prior to Budget 2017 announcement
“I am pleased that Minister Noonan followed through on his commitment in last year’s budget to establishing the feasibility of their implementation in future budgets. I would also like to recognise the support from Minister Creed and his officials and Pat the Cope Gallagher for all their work in bringing this measure finally to fruition,” remarked Sean O’Donoghue, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation chief executive.
He added this change would be a “significant boost” to mainintaing employment, encouraging new entrants and enhancing viability and safety throughout the sector.
“As with all these measures, the devil is in the detail” he however warned. “I hope when the Finance Bill is published it will not contain any surprises.”
Francis O’Donnell, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, also thanked Minister Creed, and recognised Minister McMcHugh and Pat the Cope Gallagher, “both of whom kept [the issue] on their agendas during a series of meetings with the IFPO over the last twelve months”.
The Seafarers Allowance is described as a taxable allowance for seafarers who are at sea on a voyage to or from a foreign port for at least 161 days in the tax year. It also applies to seafarers on vessels which service drilling rigs. The allowance was introduced 1998/99.