Assessments, penalties and appeals for Air Passenger Duty

How and why HMRC raises assessments, applies penalties and charges interest.


If you have not declared Air Passenger Duty correctly we’ll send you an assessment. If your actual figures are not available we’ll consider all the facts and make a decision about how much duty you owe.

We assess errors made in accounting periods that ended 4 years ago or less. In cases involving fraud or dishonesty, we may extend the period we assess to 20 years.

We’ll issue an assessment if either:

  • you do not submit returns
  • your returns look incomplete or inaccurate because:
    • you have not kept or produced any records
    • your accounts and records look incomplete or inaccurate

Time limits

We issue assessments within strict time limits within:

  • 1 year of us having enough facts to make an assessment
  • 4 years of you becoming liable for duty

We’ll extend this to 20 years in cases of dishonesty.

You must pay an assessment of duty immediately. We’ll recover assessments as a debt if you do not.

Penalties and interest

Appeal against a penalty

You can appeal a penalty and ask for an independent review. If you’re still unhappy with the outcome, you can take your complaint to a tribunal.

Reasonable excuses

If you’ve got a reasonable excuse for making a mistake, HMRC will look at your case. If we agree with you, you may not need to pay some or all of the penalty.

Interest on unpaid duty

We’ll charge interest on the whole amount we assess if we make an assessment of duty because:

  • you did not declare enough duty on a return
  • a previous assessment of duty was too low

We’ll apply interest from the date that a return is due to the date you pay the assessed amount.

Paying you interest

If you pay too much duty because of our mistake, we’ll repay you. We’ll also pay interest to you for the applicable period.

Types of penalties

Fixed penalty

There’s a fixed penalty of £250 if you do not:

  • tell us about a change in the business for example, address
  • appoint a fiscal representative
  • give security if you’re asked to
  • send a return by the due date
  • keep or produce accounts

This penalty also applies to a fiscal representative if they do not tell HMRC about their appointment.

Geared penalties

There are 2 types of geared penalty.

5% of duty involved in the offence or £250, whichever is more

We apply this penalty when you do not pay the full amount of duty you owe by the due date.

Up to 100% of the duty you owe

We apply this penalty if you:

  • do not tell us about your liability to register
  • make errors or inaccuracies in returns or documents
  • evade duty

We may apply a penalty of up to 30% of potential lost revenue, if we’ve sent you an assessment that is not enough and you do not tell us.

Daily penalty

Daily penalties apply if you do not:

  • produce records
  • pay duty on time
  • send a return on time

We’ll issue a daily penalty if we’ve already issued a fixed or geared penalty for the same offence. The daily penalty is £20 a day for each day the offence continues.

Published 29 January 2018