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As of now 100% wage tax relief (31.05.2016)

Bild deutsche Flagge
As of now 100% wage tax relief
The planned increase of wage tax relief from 40% to 100% for the German flag has become reality: as of now shipowners do not have to pay wage tax to the tax office for their seafarers working on German-flagged merchant ships.
Basis for the change is the "Gesetz zur Änderung des Einkommenssteuergesetzes zur Erhöhung des Lohnsteuereinbehaltes in der Seeschifffahrt" (Act of the amendment of the Income Tax Act to increase wage tax relief in maritime shipping). This act also repeals the previous 183-day-regulation. Crew members do not have to be in a 183 day long employment relationship anymore for the shipowner to be able to make use of this tax benefit.
The European Commission has declared its consent to this aid on 3. May. With the publication of this resolution in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt), this new regulation will come into force.
With this act the federal government and states make good on their promise to make the German flag more competitive. The shipowners deduct the full wage tax from the wages of their seafarers, but may keep it rather than forwarding it to the tax office. This puts German shipowners on equal footing with many shipping companies abroad that do not have to pay wage tax for their seafarers.
Shipowners may utilize the full wage tax relief from the June wage payment period.