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Recent Tax Court decision could wreak ha

Glover v. Comm, a recent tax court decision, presents several issues to Merchant Mariners. Mr. Glover worked for Reinauer Transportation. His tugs pushed oil coastwise as far as Virginia. The tugs wou

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Recent Tax Court decision could wreak havoc on Mariners

State Taxes and Mariners

Suz asked this question So, what about if you live in one state (TN) and work as a merchant mariner in another state (HI), 45 days on/45 days off rotation? Do you pay HI state taxes, or does the payro

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State Taxes and Mariners

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Mariner Tax Update January 2011

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Recent Tax Court decision could wreak havoc on Mariners

0
by on March 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Glover v. Comm, a recent tax court decision, presents several issues to Merchant Mariners. Mr. Glover worked for Reinauer Transportation. His tugs pushed oil coastwise as far as Virginia. The tugs would assist on docking jobs when in the New York area.

Mr. Glover took deductions on his income tax returns that would be considered acceptable if he was on a “temporary assignment”. Mariners have generally been characterized as such. Thus, their tax home has been considered to be their residence.

Mr. Glover’s attorney cited the now infamous Sailor Tax cases Johnson and Westling, stating that Glover’s tax home was in Missouri as per the decisions. Mr. Glover’s attorney did not introduce any statutory evidence (Jones Act Law) defining tax home for State tax liability purposes.

The attorney failed to meet substantiation requirements to shift burden of proof to the respondent. This means that the IRS’s position is considered to be correct and that Glover was required to meet the burden of proof.

The Tax Court has defined a Tax Home as the area surrounding a taxpayer’s principal place of business. If a taxpayer does not have a principal place of business, it can shift to their residence.

The Court concluded that all of Glover’s arguments were moot irrelevant, or without merit. This is a dangerous outcome that could cause global implications if not addressed. We’re talking coastwise and foreign.

We need someone to appeal this decision….

State Taxes and Mariners

24
by on February 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Suz asked this question

So, what about if you live in one state (TN) and work as a merchant mariner in another state (HI), 45 days on/45 days off rotation? Do you pay HI state taxes, or does the payroll clerk change your home state to TN, which has no state income tax? This will be my fiance’s issue next year as we are moving from Hawaii to Tennessee, but he will be commuting for his pull. Also, would travel expenses to and from HI be a deductible expense? I’ve looked at IRS publication 463 and it was a bit confusing. I’m hoping for a little clarification.

It’s going to be impossible to figure this one out via IRS publications. The problem is that we’re dealing with State law and the applicability of Title 46. Section 11108 says the following.

(a) Withholding.– Wages due or accruing to a master or seaman on a vessel in the foreign, coastwise, intercoastal, interstate, or noncontiguous trade or an individual employed on a fishing vessel or any fish processing vessel may not be withheld under the tax laws of a State or a political subdivision of a State. However, this section does not prohibit withholding wages of a seaman on a vessel in the coastwise trade between ports in the same State if the withholding is under a voluntary agreement between the seaman and the employer of the seaman.

(b) Liability.–

(1) Limitation on jurisdiction to tax.– An individual to whom this subsection applies is not subject to the income tax laws of a State or political subdivision of a State, other than the State and political subdivision in which the individual resides, with respect to compensation for the performance of duties described in paragraph (2).

(2) Application.– This subsection applies to an individual–

(A) engaged on a vessel to perform assigned duties in more than one State as a pilot licensed under section 7101 of this title or licensed or authorized under the laws of a State; or
(B) who performs regularly-assigned duties while engaged as a master, officer, or crewman on a vessel operating on the navigable waters of more than one State.

Does this mean I don’t pay State taxes?

Unfortunately no. In this case it appears as though the mariner works in and around Hawaii. This doesn’t qualify as a foreign voyage. Meaning the mariner would file as a non-resident in Hawaii and receive a credit for taxes paid in their state of residency. The key term is INTERSTATE.

 

JM