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Revenue and Customs Brief 46/07


HM Revenue and Customs -Tax Authorities

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Issued 15 June 2007

Marine Voyages Relief – Treatment of Diving Clubs


1. The guidance in this note seeks to clarify the eligibility of diving clubs to claim marine voyages relief.

Eligibility of Claimant

2. The first consideration is whether the club is entitled to claim. The definition of “qualified claimant” is set out in Law and is usually the owner of the vessel making the voyage, therefore if the boats used are in private ownership the club will not normally be a qualified claimant.

Exceptions to this will be if the club:

  • formally chartered the vessels from the owner, or
  • is appointed by the owner as sole agent for the vessel(s) in accordance with paragraph 4.1 of Public Notice 263; and
  • holds written authorisation from the owner or master to claim on their behalf.

Eligibility of the voyage

3. No relief is allowed for private pleasure craft. The definition of private pleasure craft is:

  • craft used other than for commercial purposes and particularly not
  • for the carriage of paying passengers or
  • for transporting goods/supplying services for a consideration or
  • used by public authorities

Generally, boats used by diving clubs will be considered private pleasure craft as they are used by club members in pursuit of a hobby.

4. Paragraph 2.5 of Notice 263 details exceptions where marine voyage claims are allowed in respect of vessels used for pleasure purposes. The exceptions include voyages made by boats hired out for diving, fishing, water skiing, etc carrying paying passengers and/or appropriate equipment and/or providing specialised services.

5. Diving club members normally pay a subscription which covers boat use and as the divers are non-paying passengers the club cannot claim relief. The ‘grey area’ for diving clubs is where its members may make additional payments for trips i.e. instead of, or over and above their subscriptions to cover fuel costs, etc. Members do not constitute paying passengers in these circumstances as they are club members effectively using their own boat for pleasure purposes. Therefore claims cannot be made in these circumstances.

Dual use

6. Where a diving club hires out a boat with a crew to non-members or takes paying passengers who are non-members on a diving trip these particular voyages are considered to be commercial and eligible for relief. In addition, where diving club boats are used as safety/rescue vessels on a voyage either solely for this purpose or in conjunction with another commercial purpose then relief may be claimed. This is subject to the conditions in paragraph 2.4 of Notice 263.

7. Public Notice 263 will be amended in due course. The current version is available on our website within the Leaflets and Booklets/Excise/ Oils public notices.

8. If you have any queries regarding this note please contact our National Advice Service (NAS) on 0845 010 9000

About the Author

© Crown Copyright 2007.

A licence is need to reproduce this article and has been republished for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of HM Revenue & Customs under the terms of a Click-Use Licence. Tax briefs are updated regularly and may be out of date at time of reading.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-06-15 20:54:53 in Tax Articles

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