Shipping tax

Shipping is the most international of businesses, therefore advising on the planning and control of multi-jurisdictional tax matters is a key element of our tax offering.

We have an unparalleled level of knowledge and experience of shipping and UK tonnage tax.

We have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with tax-related issues which are specific to the shipping industry, and we leverage this knowledge to provide clients with valuable advice. By working closely with you, our commercial approach ensures that your tax issues are fully addressed. As well as tax compliance services, we provide support on:

Tonnage tax
The UK tonnage tax regime provides an alternative way of calculating the taxable profits of UK shipping businesses. Entry to the regime usually results in the entity obtaining a corporate tax saving.  However, there are a number of potential pitfalls, such as ceasing to qualify for the regime part way through the 10 year election period and the EU flagging rules. In addition bareboat chartering out a ship so that it ceases to qualify for the regime, or ceasing to bareboat charter out a ship so that it falls within the tonnage tax regime may cause difficulties.

If you would like more information on the regime, please download our factsheets from the menu on the right or for a hard copy, e-mail

Capital allowances
Special rules apply to capital allowances on ships owned by UK businesses which do not elect to enter the tonnage tax regime.

We have extensive experience in advising on transactions in the shipping sector, including buying and selling ships, and shipping companies, and flotations.

Withholding taxes
A common issue for shipping companies is withholding tax on interest payments to overseas banks. It may be possible to obtain clearance to make interest payments gross.

Other jurisdictions
Working with our international network we advise on the shipping tax position of other jurisdictions, such as Singapore, Greece, and other European tonnage tax regimes.

US freight tax
Foreign shipowners and operators are liable to tax at 4% on 50% of their gross US transportation income relating to international voyages where the ship docks at a US port.