The French authorities have recently issued an update on their social security position.
This update will impact Superyacht crew who spend time in French waters. If you are considered to have a residence in France by virtue of having spent a reasonable time in French waters (normally in excess of 183 days). This applies regardless of where your yacht is registered and under what flag it is flying. It also applies even if you are not paying French tax, for example, if you are paying tax in the UK.
There is an exception to this rule which applies Superyacht crew who would be eligible to pay social security in France. That is if they are paying social security in another country which has a relevant agreement with France. Specifically for most of our members that will be the UK.
Therefore, if you already make National insurance contributions in the UK and can prove that you do this you will not be asked to pay in France as well.
If you are looking to make social security contributions in the UK you should be completing the mariners’ questionnaire each year. This will establish what rate of social security you should be paying in the UK.
The two options of social security applicable to Superyacht crew in the UK are Class 1 or Class 2.
Class 1 is worked out as a % of your earnings and is split into employers and employees liability with the rate at 13.8% and 12% respectively. Depending on how you have been paid the responsibility for the employer’s liability may also fall on you.
Class 1 is not voluntary and is calculated based on the answers provided in the questionnaire. However, you will likely only be liable to this if you have spent a significant amount of time in the , you are paid by a UK or Isle of Man registered company or the ship you work on is registered in the UK.
Class 2 is voluntary and is calculated at a rate of £2.80 a week. As a seafarer you can only make this payment once you have completed the questionnaire at the end of the tax year.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your position and the action you should take, please contact us or another adviser.