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’ve paid for the flight or not

When and how to register

You can register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) before your first flight begins. But you must register no later than 7 days after the flight.

Use the online service to register. You’ll need to sign in to, or set up, a Government Gateway account.

If you can’t 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 HM Revenue and Customs.

If you don’t register on time, HMRC may issue you with a penalty.

Businesses based outside the UK

If you’ve 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

What happens when you register

You’ll 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

Please 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 don’t get a reply within 28 days of applying contact HMRC.

After you register

After registration you must:

  • tell us about any changes in your registration details
  • keep records and accounts
  • submit duty returns
  • pay any duty you owe

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.


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.


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

Special accounting schemes

If you can’t 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’ve registered, we’ll send you a monthly or annual notice to file. We’ll tell you the deadline for submitting your return and paying duty.

Sign in to your online account and submit your return, pay any duty due at the same time.

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

If you can’t 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 cash deposit or bond if they think there’s a risk you won’t pay your tax or duty on time, or you’ve appointed an administrative representative.

Incorrect returns

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

If you don’t 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