Cruise lines that kept their headquarters overseas to avoid paying American taxes won't be getting a bailout from American taxpayers. The Cruise Lines International Association industry group says that while the cruise industry has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic, major operators will not qualify for any of the $500 billion for large employers included in the stimulus bill, the Washington Post reports. The bill states that to qualify for aid, companies must be "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" and have a majority of their employees based in the US. The world's four biggest cruise operators, all headquartered outside the US, have suspended sailings for at least a month. Most of the workers on their ships are from the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.
The provision restricting aid to American companies was added late in negotiations, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to the Journal, Princess cruise ship owner Carnival Corp., incorporated in Panama, paid $71 million income tax on revenue of $20.83 billion last year. Royal Caribbean, incorporated in Liberia, paid $32.6 million on $10.95 billion. President Trump said Thursday that he wants to help the industry, but it is "very tough to make a loan to a company when they’re based in a different country." Cruise Lines International Association spokeswoman Anne Madison says the group didn't seek a bailout for large cruise operators. She says the stimulus package will help travel agents and other small to medium-size businesses that work with cruise companies. (Read more cruise lines stories.)