Offshore Rig Workers and Sea-farers Tax – dispelling the myths

Created by Rosie

north sea offshore oil rig

We recently were made aware of a warning pamphlet/ poster produced by the O.I.L.C,  the Offshore Energy Branch of the RMT.

The “URGENT  -  ATTENTION ALL OFFSHORE WORKERS” poster can be found here.

We fully agree with everything stated by the O.I.L.C.  We've read it and it is specifically in relation to sea-farers tax.

This is in no way related to what Bettertax do, and does not describe our work, less than 1% of all clients that come to us for tax advice actually qualify for it and we have never claimed it on behalf of a client only to see it clawed back by HMRC.

Anyone who comes to Bettertax is made very aware that we're very clear about the rules regarding this tax relief. For those in any doubt, here are the rules for claiming sea-farers tax & If you don’t tick ALL of these boxes, you
DO NOT qualify.

1. You must be located a minimum of 12 miles from the British coastline (i.e. on the Continental shelf)

2. You must be directly involved with a) the exploration or the transportation of a mineral or oil (basically, working directly with the drill head).

3. You must be offshore for a minimum of 183 days ‘consecutively’ (Unite are currently disputing this in European Court but as yet NO decision has been made).

Unfortunately, O.I.L.C do not name the tax adviser they are warning their members about and whilst we agree with it we do feel their final warning paragraphs are a little ambiguous if the whole article has not been read thoroughly, and much confusion aboard the rigs has ensued.


To put things in perspective, over 45% of Bettertax’s clients are offshore workers who work for Salamis, Palmers, Cape Industrial, RBG and Pyeroy to name but a few. The range of trades includes Scaffolders, Blasters, Roustabouts etc, and what we do is absolutely nothing to do with Seafarer Tax – these guys all incur expenses ranging from offshore survival course’s, medicals, MIST courses,  travelling to and from Aberdeen, Tools,Protective equipment – what we do is help them claim relevant expenses on these purchases.  

To be clear, If you are working for any of those firms or others similar, and NOT claiming sea-farers tax, you ARE indeed legally entitled to claim back expenses on the purchases you have made for work.


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