Tax refunds for offshore workers

Can oil rig workers claim tax refunds? Absolutely! In fact, all kinds of Offshore workers can claim a tax refund for travel expenses to what HMRC call "temporary workplaces" (under 24 months). That means if you're travelling back and forth from airports or heliports you may have a claim.  It's possible to make a claim for the last four years, and the RIFT average 4-year rebate is £2,500. Best of all, just answering 4 simple questions will put you well on your way to getting back what you're owed.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

DO YOU QUALIFY FOR A TAX REFUND FROM HMRC?

£2,500 - That's the average 4 year claim. Don't miss out!

RIFT Guarantee

Our guarantee means you'll never lose a penny

When you claim an Offshore workers tax rebate with RIFT, our unique RIFT Guarantee means that you don't have to worry about the taxman reclaiming any of your money.  So long as you give us full and accurate information, if HMRC disagrees with the amount that we've claimed and ask for the money back, we'll pay it.  It won't cost you a penny.

Learn More

Offshore Tax Refunds

What information do I need for a tax refund?

Tax deductions for offshore workers aren't well understood and a lot of people are missing out.  RIFT's specialist offshore tax refund teams are dedicated to putting that cash back in offshore workers' pockets.  Remember, this isn't about find some magical 'offshore workers tax loophole''.  This is your money the taxman's holding onto.  Offshore tax relief is your legal right, and RIFT will make sure you get back what's yours.

Here is the basic information we need to start working on your offshore worker tax rebate claim:

  • List of rigs you've been based at - as well as the dates you were there for. If you have been working on offshore installations you can ask for a copy of your rig history from your personnel on board card. The most common provider is vantage.
  • ID documents - A copy of photo ID (like a passport) and proof of address (like a driving licence).
  • Other information – We only need your monthly payslips if you get contributions from your employer towards your travel costs. If you don't get anything from your employer, we don't need your wage slips. Any copies of expenses (like hotel and travel receipts), MOT certificates, P45s and P60s can also help us with your offshore tax refund claim. 

Don't stress if you can't lay your hands on every last scrap of documentation.  Obviously, the more information we have, the smoother your refund claim will go. Even without every single receipt we can still calculate your travel costs.  Since you can claim back money for up to 4 years, we'll even make the adjustments for inflation that HMRC will expect to see.

You will also be required to set up a Personal Tax Account.  It's free and you'll be able to see everything to do with tax, including all information from employers, banks, building societies and other government departments all in one place.  Find out more here.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

HMRC Timescales

How long does it take to get my tax refund?

It takes about 8-10 weeks for HMRC to process your tax refund.  We have 7 dedicated tax relief teams working hard to maximise your refund and get it to you fast.  The sooner you start your claim and provide all the information we need, the sooner you get your cash back. Check out our 4 simple questions to get your offshore tax rebate claim rolling.

 

Do I Qualify?

Specialist Team

Offshore tax relief team

Working offshore often means complicated travel claims based on your particular rotation pattern. We have a lot of clients working offshore and living outside the UK.  We've handled claims for people living in Spain, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Thailand and even further. The claims they make can be much more complicated than people living in the UK so offshore tax refund claims take an expert to handle. That's why we've put together the best specialists in the business for our team. A lot of offshore workers fall into the higher tax brackets. That means many more rules to consider, so maximising your refund becomes even more important. There may also be nasty little extras like the High Income Child Benefit Charge to deal with. Our offshore tax refund experts will quickly get a clear understanding of your position. That's the first, most crucial step in getting the best from your refund claim.

Do I Qualify?

Offshore Tax Refunds

Travel expenses for oil rig workers

If you're working offshore on an oil rig, you're probably on the hook for more than just travel and accommodation costs. There's a wide range of tax deductions for oilfield workers on offer, depending on your circumstances, you might also be owed tax relief on things like:

  • Laundry and maintenance of your specialised work clothing.
  • Upkeep and replacement of any essential tools you need for your job.
  • Subscription fees to professional bodies.
  • Hotel costs - you may find yourself stuck in a hotel the night before you head out to the rig.
  • Expenses whilst waiting to fly out.

If you don't fancy the idea of keeping track of all the available tax deductions for offshore workers, you could still make an ofshore tax rebate claim. The Flat Rate Expenses scheme can help simplify things by listing specific amounts of tax relief you can claim for common costs. You may not get back everything you're owed, but it can take some of the bookkeeping our of the process.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

Keeping records

What if I can't remember what rigs I've been to?

If you're having any problems with getting your travel history, here's what you can do:

  • If you're employer has contractor access to Vantage, they may be able to provide this information for you.
  • Use our free 'Forms by Phone' service and our experienced team will assist you with completing this information.

Don't worry too much if you can't remember everything, we don't need exact dates and locations for your first claim, just give us as much detail as you can.

By the time you come to make any future claims you'll know what to keep each year so we'll probably be able to claim a lot more for you. Again, our 4 easy questions will quickly get your refund claim moving.

Do I Qualify?

Transport to Rigs

I pay for a tax from hotel to heliport, can I claim for this?

Yes, as long as you've got a receipt from the taxi driver.  We can't claim without a receipt because prices can vary a lot and we need evidence of your actual expenses for HMRC.  We can only claim for the actual taxi rides you made, not the average cost between two destinations.

Transport to Rigs

I get a helicopter to my rig which I don't pay for, can I still make a claim?

Yes, we can claim the mileage from your home to the heliport. Use our tax calculator to see how much you could claim back.

Offshore Tax Refunds

Can offshore workers get tax back?

When you fly out to your platform, do you drive or get public transport to the airport or heliport? If so, there's a good chance you're due a tax rebate on your taxes to cover the costs. Our tax refund calculator takes less than a minute to complete and gives you an instant estimate of money you might be owed. It's not just for offshore travel expenses, either. There are plenty of other tax deductions for offshore workers. The tax rules also allow riggers to claim for hotel bills and a number of other expenses. If you're footing those bills yourself, you could be due some cash. 

Do I Qualify?

Offshore Tax Refunds

How much tax can you claim back?

The average tax refund for riggers is £600-£700 per year. We’re able to go back 4 years, so your first refund with RIFT could be about £2,500. What could you do with the extra cash? A holiday in the sun with the family? Deposit for a new car?

Working offshore is challenging enough already. You don't need the taxman drilling deeper into your wages than he's supposed to.

Do I Qualify?

Refunds Aren't Just for 'Rig Workers'

Offshore tax refunds: not just for 'roughnecks and roustabouts'

No matter what your job title is, working offshore means you can claim tax refunds on your travel and other costs. The same rules apply to everyone from mechanics and electricians to cooks and waiters.  You're still travelling out to a "temporary workplace", so you can still get cash back from the taxman for your costs. Examples include:

  • Toolpushers, admin and communications officers
  • Divers and subsea engineers
  • Kitchen assistants, chefs, stewards, cleaners and painters

What you can claim tax back on depends on more than just the distance you've travelled. Depending on your job, there may be many other expenses that count toward your refund. For example, an SAP Planner or Crane Operator heading out to a rig might need to use a combination of personal and public transport. An overnight stay in a hotel might be necessary, along with food costs.  Cleaning, replacement and repair of your specialised clothing, tools or safety gear can also entitle you to money back. Here are a couple examples of claims made by RIFT clients working offshore in other kinds of roles:

  • Offshore catering customer: annual tax refund of £1,312.89
  • Offshore cleaning customer: total tax refund of £705
  • Husband and wife team working as a rigger and stewardess: total tax refund of £3,836.02 between them.

If you're living somewhere else but paying UK tax on your income, you may still qualify for a refund. In fact, in many cases your refund will be even bigger as a result.  Talk to RIFT to discuss your circumstance and to see what you could claim.

Remember to tell your friends and family.  If they make a claim with us, you may still have qualify for a tax refund.  In fact, in many cases your refund will be even bigger as a result.  Talk to RIFT to discuss your circumstances and to see what you could claim.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

Offshore Tax Refunds

What is Seafarers Earnings Deduction and do I qualify for it?

Seafarers Earnings Deduction (SED) allows people who perform all or most of their duties on a ship to claim tax relief. It's a tricky piece of legislation with some vague wording around it, but it can sometimes mean paying no tax at all. It's mainly for people who work permanently on ships, but even then not everyone qualifies. Work on an offshore installation won't normally entitle you to SED, but some fiddly wording can sometimes confuse the issue.

If you're not sure whether your work is covered by SED, take a look here for more info, or give RIFT a shout. We'll let you know where you stand.

Do I Qualify? Start My Tax Return
 

Customer stories

"My friend told me about RIFT and I spent my refund on a proper belta of a holiday!"

"I’ve worked on the rigs for years now and I first heard about RIFT from a friend on site who had already got a nice refund back from them. I gave them a call to see if I could claim and was proper happy that they could get a refund for me for my travel. As soon as I received the money I spent it on a proper belta of a holiday. I’ve let the other lads on the rigs know about RIFT and told them to call and find out if they can make a claim too."

Kevin Kinson, 49, South Shields

Do I Qualify?

Offshore Tax Refunds

What is double taxation? Does it affect my oil rig worker tax refund?

Double taxation is what happens when you pay taxes in two countries for the same income. Taxation laws vary from one country to another. If you're a UK resident but work somewhere else, it's possible to get stuck paying more than one set of taxes. The same goes for non-UK residents working here. This is a situation that can crop up easily when you're working offshore. 

To try to make sure that people don't end up paying tax in more than one country, the UK has some "double taxation agreements" in place. These agreements determine which territory takes priority for tax on the income. Sometimes, you get a special tax relief from one of the territories involved to make up for the extra tax you're being charged. The rules vary between countries, so get in touch with RIFT to find out exactly what your situation is.

Do I Qualify?

Rigger Tax Refunds

I'm an oil rigger being taxed in two countries on the same income! Can I claim any tax back?

Possibly. The double taxation rules can be complicated, so it's always best to get good advice. The deciding factors include things like:

  • Your country of residence, along with your employer's.
  • Where your rig is located.
  • The length of time you spend offshore in a year,
  • Whether a double taxation agreement is in place.
Do I Qualify?

Rigger Tax Refunds

What if there's no double taxation agreement? Will I have to pay two sets of taxes?

Not necessarily. Even without a double taxation agreement, it may be possible to get some tax relief in the UK. It'll usually be in the form of a tax credit, depending on the rates you're being charged.

For instance, suppose you're getting charged 15% tax on your income in another country. The UK, by comparison, might be charging you 20%. To off-set the double taxation, HMRC might give you 15% tax relief, effectively covering you for the overseas tax.

Do I Qualify?

Uniform tax refunds

I work offshore. Am I owed a tax refund for my work clothing expenses?

Offshore work is tough on your clothes, and can mean taking care of life-saving safety gear. If you're paying for the upkeep of things like this yourself, you could be owed tax back. How much you can claim for varies with your job and circumstances.

If you're paid and taxed PAYE, your clothing expenses claims will come from:

  • Upkeep and replacement of your necessary work clothes.
  • Upkeep and replacement of your vital safety gear.

It's important to understand the fine details here. Anything you claim for has to be necessary for you to get your job done. If you wear a specific uniform, then you can claim tax relief when you pay to maintain or replace it. Whatever you're wearing when you're not on the clock won't count. You also can't claim for actually buying the clothes or gear in the first place.

Self-employed people have a whole different system for working out their allowable expenses. When they file their tax returns, any essential costs of doing business count against their taxable income. That means they can claim for initial purchase costs as well as upkeep.

It doesn't have to be a massive headache to claim your uniform, clothing or gear expenses. In fact, you have the option to use HMRC's estimated figures instead of your own. If you're on PAYE, you can use a "flat rate deduction" to make your expenses claim. Meanwhile, self-employed people can opt for the "simplified expenses" system. If you decide to go this route, you probably won't get back all the tax you're technically owed. On the other hand, you won't have to worry so much about receipts and paperwork. Have a chat with RIFT if you're not sure what to do. We'll take a look at your situation and tell you what your best move is.  To make the first step, answering our 4 easy questions will put your on the path to getting your Offshore worker tax rebate.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

Refer a Friend

Extra cash for you and your mates

Help your mates get a tax refund and get an extra £50 in your own pocket! At RIFT, we love it when happy clients tell their friends about us.

We love it so much that we reward you for doing it! To thank you we'll give you £50 for everyone you recommend (T&Cs apply) who claims with us, but we'll give you a bonus of an extra £150 if 5 people do.

That's £400 in your pocket as well as the warm glow you get from helping out your mates. Help your workmates out now and you'll both get some extra cash.

Refer Your Friends Now

Refer a Friend

Get started

Simply enter your friend’s name and email address on our referral form, and we’ll send them a one off email to let them know you think RIFT tax refunds could help them.

  • If they get in touch and claim a refund, we’ll send you a £50 reward for your help.
  • And for every 5 you send that claim, you get an extra £150 bonus. 

Ask us any questions on Facebook, Livechat or call us on 01233 628648.

How does it work?

RIFT tax refund calculator

Use our tax refund calculator to find out what you're owed.

Do you qualify for a tax refund?

Find out if you're due a refund.

Refer a friend and earn extra cash

Refer a friend and earn extra cash

RIFT Tax Refunds

Find out more about RIFT.

Tax returns

Self assessment tax returns with RIFT

What is a tax return and how much tax do I owe? It's a common question, and there are a few ways to work out how much tax you should be paying. If you're employed then tax will be taken from your salary by your employer using your tax code. If you have other sources of income, though, you may have calculations to make to work out your tax return. If you file your own self assessment tax returns those little details can be difficult to get right and dangerous to get wrong.

If you're self-employed you should get yourself registered as self-employed as soon as possible after you start trading. The deadline's the 5th of October in the year you started your self-employment. Miss that, and you're risking self assessment tax return penalties based on the potential lost tax. However, with RIFT on your side we can ensure that your tax returns are in safe hands.

Tax return quote Tax calculator

Self Assessment

Do I need to register for Self Assessment to get my refund?

Generally, you won't need to file a Self Assessment tax return unless you're self-employed. However, if the expenses you're claiming for add up to over £2,500, HMRC will want a return from you before they pay out. Don't let the idea of filing a Self Assessment return put you off getting your tax refund, though. Remember that RIFT can take care of that for you, too.

Do I Qualify? Tax Calculator

Ex-Military Offshore

Offshore options for former Armed Forces Personnel

The offshore oil and gas industries are crying out for new staff these days, while the emerging renewables sector is gathering momentum.  This is opening up wide range of ex-military jobs on oil rigs and other offshore locations.  Many former Armed Forces personnel are finding challenging and rewarding post-service jobs offshore. As more and more companies wake up to the skills and experience that ex-military employees bring to the table, this is a great time to get your feet wet in a new career.

The oil and gas sectors need to find an estimated 120,000 new employees over the next 10 years. At the same time, large redundancies in the Armed Forces are putting thousands back into civilian life. What many employers are starting to realise is that ex-military personnel have a lot of skills that are transferable to offshore work. Expertise is always in demand, whether it's in engineering or project management.

A military life teaches you some of the most important skills and lessons of offshore work. You've already proven you can handle challenging conditions, recognise the importance of teamwork and keep your colleagues safe. Why not put that hard-earned expertise to work in an industry that's critical to the whole of the UK? With support available from both government and corporate sources, a career offshore could be exactly the right next step for you.

RIFT works with former Armed Forces personnel all the time as they move into civilian life. Sometimes that means claiming for up to 4 years of tax refunds from their time in the military. Other times, we're showing them how to get back what they're owed in their new careers. Many don't even realise that they can carry on getting tax refunds after leaving the service. Wherever life after the Armed Forces takes you, talk to RIFT about putting money back in your pocket.

Do I Qualify?

FAQs

Our most popular offshore questions

Yes, as long as you’ve got a receipt from the taxi driver.

We can’t claim without the receipt because prices can vary a lot and we need evidence of your actual expenses for HMRC. We can only claim for the actual taxi rides you made, not the average cost between two destinations.

Have a look at our checklist of the documents or paperwork we'll need for your claim.

Use our tax calculator to see if due a tax refund for your travel and expenses.

Yes, we claim the mileage from your home to the heliport.

Use our tax calculator to see how much you could claim back.

No this is completely different. Seafarers deduction deals with residency issues and how many days you are out of the country. Our claim is for your travel from your home to the heliports.

Tax refunds aren't just for offshore travel expenses, either. The tax rules also allow offshore workers to claim for hotel bills and a number of other expenses. If you're footing those bills yourself, you could be due some cash. Working offshore is challenging enough already. You don't need the taxman drilling deeper into your wages than he's supposed to.

Use our tax calculator to find out if you're owed a refund.

Yes, as long as you’ve got the receipt.

We can’t claim without the receipt because costs for hotels can vary a lot, even for the same room on different dates.

We need evidence of your actual expenses for HMRC. We can only claim for the actual stays you made.

Have a look at our checklist of the documents or paperwork we'll need for your claim.

Definitely. Most of our offshore clients work two weeks on, two weeks off and we can claim on average £700 - £900 per year.

Use our tax calculator to see if you're owed anything for the past 4 years.

If you’re having any problems with getting your travel history, we've listed 2 possible options below:

  • If your employer has contractor access to Vantage, they may be able to provide this information for you.
  • Use our free ‘Forms by Phone’ service and our experienced team will assist you with completing this information.

Don’t worry to much if you can’t remember everything, we don’t need exact dates and locations for your first claim, just give as much detail as you can.

By the time you come to make any future claims you'll know what to keep each year so we'll probably be able to claim a lot more for you.

Need more help?

calc

Wondering if you can claim a tax refund or need to submit a tax return? Use our online tools to find out if you're owed money by HMRC.

Do I Qualify?

Call

Speak to us 6 days a week.
Mon-Thurs 08:30 - 20:30
Fri 08:30 - 18:00 and Sat 09:00 - 13:00.
RIFT Refunds, RIFT House, 200 Eureka Park,Upper Pemberton, Ashford, Kent, TN25 4AZ

Call us on 01233 628648

chat

Want to chat to a member of our team?
Why not use our live chat to speak to an
online advisor now?

Open live chat