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Tonnage Tax and SMarT Funding

UK Tonnage Tax

The UK offers a globally competitive Tonnage Tax. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has created a full UK Tonnage Tax manual for operators for more information.  

UK Tonnage Tax is an alternative way of calculating your taxable profits that is based on the net tonnage of your ships. The UK Tonnage Tax regime may offer a more favourable rate of Corporation Tax for shipping companies based in the UK.

UK Flag registration can be used as a contributing factor towards HMRC’s “strategic and commercial management” test for enrolment to UK Tonnage Tax, however you do not need to be registered to the UK Flag to join the scheme.  

In addition to the benefits of Tonnage Tax the UK also offers access to a wide range of maritime professional services. To find out more visit the UK Shipping Concierge website, for maritime businesses wishing to interact with a range of UK government departments.

Election into Tonnage Tax requires a commitment by the company to train or underwrite the training of sufficient UK seafarers to meet a "Minimum Training Obligation" (MTO). Eligible trainees resident in the UK who are recruited under this requirement should be eligible for UK government training support under the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme.

Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Funding

Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) is a government-funded scheme created to increase the number of qualified seafarers in the UK maritime industry. Full details are available on GOV.UK.

The scheme supports training courses approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) for the training of officers, officer cadets and ratings. 

SMarT funding is claimed on behalf of trainees by sponsoring companies enrolled in the scheme. 

It’s designed to help support up to 50% of training costs, subject to eligibility requirements, for the following:

  1. Officer cadets following approved training leading to a II/1, III/1 or III/6 Certificate of Competency
  2. Junior officer trainees following approved training leading to a II/2, III/2 or III/6 Certificate of Competency. 
  3. Shore-based elements for Ratings Training 
  4. Ratings to Officer Conversion Training 
  5. Graduate Engineer leading to a III/1 Certificate of Competency 
  6. ECDIS/HV/HELM courses where applicable 
  7. Officer cadets eligible for COVID-19 funding

SMarT funding may also be available for unemployed trainees undertaking junior officer training, ratings training (shore-based), and ratings to officer conversion training.  

You can find a full list of scheme requirements, as well as information about the application process in MGN 455, MIN 486 and MIN 678 on GOV.UK.