Guidance

Air Passenger Duty for plane operators

Check if you need to register, send returns and pay Air Passenger Duty.

Who should register

You must register and pay Air Passenger Duty if you operate a fixed wing plane from any UK airport that:

  • weighs 5.7 tonnes or more
  • is fuelled by kerosene
  • carries passengers, whether they have paid for the flight or not

When to register

You can register with HMRC before your first flight begins, but you must register no later than 7 days after the flight.

What you will need

You’ll need the VAT registration number (if this applies).

You’ll also need to provide details including:

  • whether you operate any aircraft with an authorised weight of 5.7 tonnes to 10 tonnes, or 10 tonnes or more
  • the estimated number of your chargeable passengers from a UK airport during the next 12 months in bands A (0-2000 miles) and B (over 2000 miles)
  • whether you operate any aircraft authorised to carry fewer than 19 passengers, or 19 or more passengers
  • the date you first carried (or expect to carry) chargeable passengers in a chargeable aircraft
  • an estimate of the Air Passenger Duty due for the next 12 months - you should use the latest rates when calculating this

You will need to contact HMRC after registering if you:

  • need to appoint a representative (if your business is based outside of the UK)
  • operate direct long haul flights from Northern Ireland

If you cannot register online you can register using the postal form. You’ll need to fill in the form on screen, print it off and post it to HMRC.

If you do not register on time, HMRC may issue you with a penalty.

Businesses based outside the UK

If you have based your business outside of the UK, you must appoint a fiscal representative. You may be asked to provide a bond if you appoint a representative for administrative purposes only.

Occasional operators

You may be eligible to use the Occasional Operator Scheme if you:

  • operate 12 flights or less in a year
  • have an annual duty liability of less than £5,000

Register for Air Passenger Duty

To register online, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID you can create one when you register.

Use the online service to register.

What happens when you register

You will get a certificate of registration within 28 days of us getting your application. The certificate will include:

  • your Air Passenger Duty reference number
  • your name and your trading name if different
  • the address of your principal place of business in the UK
  • the date of your registration
  • your accounting period

Check that your details are right. If there are any mistakes, let us know. Always quote your 15-digit registration number when you contact us.

If you do not get a reply within 28 days of applying contact HMRC.

Change or cancel your registration

If any of your business registration details change you must tell HMRC within 30 days giving as much information as possible. Changes about fiscal representatives must be notified to us within 7 days.

Amend and sign your certificate of registration, and return it to the Air Passenger Duty team at HMRC.

If you stop operating passenger flights you must tell HMRC in writing.

Rates

There are different rates of duty for each passenger you carry. The passenger will fall into either tax band A or B depending on their final destination and class of travel.

Exemptions

There are some people and flights that are exempt from duty.

Special accounting schemes

If you cannot calculate your duty based on actual passenger numbers from your existing systems, you may need to use a special accounting scheme.

Records you must keep

You should keep business records for 6 years. Make sure they’re available for us to see whenever we need to.

Returns and payments

Once you have registered, we will send you a monthly or annual notice to file. We will tell you the deadline for submitting your return and paying duty.

Sign in to submit your return and pay any duty due. You will need the Government Gateway user ID and password you used when you registered.

If your return or payment are late, we may issue a penalty. We will include a remittance advice showing the address to send your payment to. Include this remittance advice with your payment.

If you cannot account for duty on the basis of calendar months, you can ask for returns to match your accounting periods.

If your return deadline falls on a weekend or bank holiday, your return and payment must reach us on the last working day before your deadline.

HMRC can ask you to pay a deposit or bond if they think there’s a risk you will not pay your tax or duty on time, or you have appointed an administrative representative.

Incorrect returns

You can use your return to correct any errors you make.

If you do not pay enough, HMRC will charge you interest on any unpaid duty. Depending on how the mistake happened, we may also issue you with a penalty.

Annual accounting

If your business is likely to pay £500,000 duty per year or less, you may be able to use the Annual Accounting Scheme.

Published 29 January 2018
Last updated 27 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on how to register for Air Passenger Duty has been added.
  2. First published.