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Seafarers’ taxes

Seafarers’ taxes often cause many doubts and problems for seafarers. The reason is the lack of precise conditions for taxing seafarers working outside the territory of the Republic of Poland. As a result, there are many ambiguities in the understanding of Polish tax law, and the tax settlement itself is extremely troublesome.
Recently, tax regulations have been changing dynamically along with the position of tax authorities. Every year, new decisions related to the settlement of Polish seafarers are added, thus the jurisprudence in this area becomes more and more extensive. The problem is serious because there are often situations when the tax authority presents two completely divergent positions in the scope of the same factual state (e.g. with regard to two seafarers working on the same ship).

Due to ignorance of the law and errors in understanding double taxation treaties, some seafarers do not account for their taxes at all, which is not always a good practice. By the way, it is worth mentioning that, in the maritime environment, there is still a fairly common belief that they are not covered by any tax system, e.g. if they are outside the country for more than 183 days.

In the case of seafarers working on foreign flag vessels and benefiting from the abolition relief (the relief is granted to seafarers living in Poland and earning income abroad. Moreover, they use the proportional deduction method for income settlement, i.e. deduction of tax paid abroad from the total sum of Polish and foreign income). Unfortunately, the interpretation of tax regulations by the Polish tax authorities is often inconsistent.

Thanks to many years of experience, our Law Firm’s legal counsel, Natalia Zielmachowicz, professionally deals with the problems faced by seafarers on an annual basis.
We provide legal assistance to seafarers, including taxes (e.g. we prepare applications for limiting the collection of advance payments for personal income tax – the so-called applications for abolition relief, we prepare tax returns, submit applications for individual interpretations of the tax law) and pensions.

As part of legal assistance, our Law Firm conducts a thorough legal analysis of documents regarding the employment of a seafarer in terms of tax obligations. Moreover, a team of specialists cooperating with our Law Firm represents seafarers in proceedings before the tax office, administrative courts and pension authorities.

We encourage you to read the information brochure on the legal service of seafarers in 2022.

Check out the brochure.