China cuts oceangoing seafarers’ income taxes

Chinese crew member. Credit: Hasenpusch Dietmar

The Chinese government will reduce income taxes for oceangoing Chinese seafarers, in order to lower their costs of living and make seafaring a more attractive career choice. Currently, there are more than 100,000 oceangoing Chinese seafarers.

It was decided at the State Council’s recent executive meeting that the taxable income earned by oceangoing seafarers from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023 will be halved. To be eligible for the reduced taxes, seafarers must spend at least 183 days sailing non-domestic waters.

Shipping supports 90% of world trade and the tax cut follows a proposal submitted by Ding Xiaogang, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, at a meeting in Beijing in March 2019.

Ding is also the former chairman of the China Seafarers’ Construction Union.

Ding said that lowering oceangoing seafarers’ income taxes will improve their living standards, make seafaring a more attractive career, and stabilise the growth of China’s shipping industry.

Ding said, “The state has proposed the goal of building a maritime power through the Maritime Silk Road, and this requires a group of experienced seafarers.”

Ding also said that cutting the income taxes of oceangoing seafarers will bring China in line with the practices of other countries. India did so in 2017, and several other countries have similar policies.