A surprise move to chase Indian seafarers for income tax will be challenged in the coming days at the Kolkata High Court.
The Maritime Union of India (MUI) and the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) are protesting a ruling by the Kolkata income tax tribunal demanding seafarers pay 30% income tax, a move that could shatter the nation’s standing as a leading provider of crews to the world’s merchant fleet.
Up until now, Indian seafarers who spent more than six months of the year at sea were exempt from paying income tax.
“India with 12% of the world’s population has just 7% of the worldwide seafarers’ market whilst much smaller Philippines has grabbed a 20% global share. Additionally, the Philippines’ government does not levy income tax on the remuneration earned by the country’s seafarers,” said NUSI’s general secretary Abdulgani Serang.
“Tax-free income has always been an added attraction for the young Indian aspirants choosing a career at sea. The tribunal’s decision is a major disappointment for them,” he said in a release.