Home Information Cases Graham Gouldson v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (2011)

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Graham Gouldson v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (2011)


The word "structure" in the context of the use of an offshore installation as set out in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 s.837C(2)(f) was capable of wide interpretation and would include structures in the course of construction which on completion would be used for mineral exploitation.


The appellant taxpayer (G) appealed against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal to uphold a decision of the respondent commissioners not to allow the seafarers' earnings deductions (SED) to be set against his earnings for part of the relevant period. G was a seafarer serving aboard a vessel described as a "multipurpose platform supply vessel". The commissioners considered that when the vessel was fitted with accommodation she became, even temporarily, an offshore installation rather than a ship so that G was not entitled to SED under the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 s.378(1) during that period. The First-tier Tribunal upheld that decision, finding that the vessel was used principally to house workers engaged in the construction of oil storage tanks. It also found that a very limited amount of construction work had taken place on the vessel itself. The main issue on appeal was whether the tanks were "structures" destined to be used for the exploitation of mineral resources in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 s.837C(2)(f). G maintained that the workers housed on the vessel were not working "on or from a structure which was, or had been put to a specified use" within the meaning of s.837C(2)(f) because the tanks were not structures until they had been completed and were capable of their intended use.


The objective of the legislation was to deny relief to those who were working on essentially fixed installations used, directly or indirectly, for mineral exploitation. The definition of "structure" was capable of wide interpretation and therefore structures in the course of construction which on completion would be used for mineral exploitation were included. There was force in the argument that the vessel was a floating toolbox ancillary to construction rather than to mineral exploitation, but once work had started on the construction of the tanks each was already a structure, in the ordinary sense of the term and part of an eventual larger structure "which is, is to be, or has been, put to a specified use". Accordingly, the First-tier Tribunal was correct in its conclusion that G's vessel fell within the definition of an "offshore installation" in s.837C of the 1988 Act and he was therefore not entitled to SED.

Appeal dismissed

Upper Tier Tax Tribunal
Judge Colin Bishopp, Judge Richard Barlow
Judgment date
7 June 2011

​LTL 23/6/2011 : [2011] UKUT 238 (TCC)