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Soaking wet’s Blog

Tax trouble, is this your story?

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I’ve been in yachting for five years, and been ignorant about my tax responsibilities.


At 28 I’ve accumulated a tidy sum and thought I was being smart until the taxation department contacted me, via my parents.


I’m being audited and don’t even have an accountant, never have.


Please read my story and offer any advice…….Anyone in yachting can face what I’m dealing with when they ignore tax and try to bring the money back into there home country.


I was hoping to buy a house. But thing have changed my friends…..


Fives years of cash, an American Bank Account and a Offshore Account worked for me, until I decided to send money home, in an effort to buy a property. My first mistake was opening a bank account in my home town and slowly making deposits by check. You know $5000.00 here, $12000.00 there and so on.


When I deposited a third check, with my Mums help that’s when the tax office called home.


My Mum called me, and said that I needed to call the commonwealth tax office..


I panicked because I now needed to prove residency outside of Australia. I am also required to prove I’ve filed taxes where I am a resident.


For the past few years I’ve called Florida home, bought a cheap car and done short term rentals when the boats in refit or dockside.


How do I make myself legit for the Australian taxation office?????


Since 2011 I’ve failed to file for taxes and declare an income.


I’m in the USA on a B1B2 visa, have a Bank of America account and a Lloyd’s TSB offshore account. Have not paid taxes since I was 21, never realizing I was supposed file each year.


Aside from the USA I’ve worked in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and am onto my forth boat.


My employers didn’t take taxes out, nobody ever explained my tax obligations while I floated around the world in the bubble, we call Professional Yachting.


No taxes paid anywhere else……No official place of residency, except Australia because that’s the address and phone number I’ve always used as a point of contact. Mail, Banking Address and Everything.

I think what got me in trouble was the amount and frequency I was suddenly sending money home.


I’m screwed for back taxes, but on what I’ve got no paperwork to speak of except cash, check and wire transfer deposits into my two overseas accounts.


I’ve written to past captains and they tell me I’m on my own and feel lost.


I’m now realizing this is mostly my fault, but also feel past and present employers and the crew agents failed to inform me about tax responsibilities.


Are past employers and crew agents also on the hook for my taxes???


It’s seems odd to me that a little fish like me is on the chopping block, when it’s always the big fish avoiding tax. Yachting is a Grey area which is becoming more Black and White.


There is no mechanism I’m aware of for paying taxes, when working on yachts. Except for declaring myself as a business back home????


I really am scared, feel the MLC2006 is partly to blame because it’s supposed to legitimize employment onboard ships and yachts. Which include tax, insurance as well as the health and wellbeing of seafarers.