Record keeping for Air Passenger Duty

Records and paperwork you must keep if you’re a passenger plane operator.

Who must keep records and accounts

You must keep records and accounts if you’re:

  • a passenger plane operator
  • a fiscal representative appointed by a plane operator
  • an administrative representative appointed by a plane operator

Records you must keep

The records you keep must show that the amount you declare on the Air Passenger Duty Return is accurate.

Air Passenger Duty account

This is your main record. It’s the monthly summary of passengers you’ve carried and your calculation of duty you owe. It must contain the total number of passengers you carried:

  • in the whole period including those who are exempt
  • at reduced rate for each destination band
  • at standard rate for each destination band
  • at a higher rate for each destination band
  • not chargeable because they’re:
    • carried from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands
    • transfer passengers who fulfill the terms of the Connected Flights Order
    • children aged under 16 with a ticket, travelling on the lowest class of travel
    • carried free of charge under a statutory obligation (for example, people who’ve been refused entry and who must be flown back to country of origin)
    • carried free of charge to inspect the plane or crew (for example, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) flight operations inspectors)
    • covered by the provisions of an Extra Statutory Concession
  • who are not chargeable because they’re:
    • escorting a passenger or goods
    • undertaking repair, maintenance, safety or security work
    • ensuring the hygienic preparation and handling of food or drink
    • positioning for, or returning to base following a period of duty (do not include the number of operating flight crew and cabin attendants)

Your account must also have duty declarations for the:

  • total amount of duty due at each rate
  • total amount of duty due
  • amount, date and payment method of any duty paid

Include any adjustments.

Other records

Other records you need to keep are:

  • all documents that prove passengers are not chargeable for any reason
  • copies of any returns you’ve sent to the CAA or airport authorities that show the number of:
    • flights you operate
    • passengers you carry
  • voyage reports, load sheets, passenger manifests
  • flight interruption manifests
  • CAA certificate of airworthiness
  • documents relating to any contractual arrangement for the leasing, hiring or chartering of planes by or to yourself
  • invoices relating to ‘Time-saver Cheque book’ type tickets
  • flight coupons

Special Accounting Schemes records

If you’re operating a Special Accounting Scheme, you’ll need to keep:

  • the agreement letter from HMRC
  • copies of any passenger surveys you’ve undertaken
  • data you used in compiling the scheme, including any passenger surveys you’ve undertaken
  • all supporting calculations used to complete the return

Northern Ireland direct long-haul flight records

You’ll need to give the Air Passenger Duty Central Assurance Team the following details quarterly:

  • class of travel
  • destination
  • exempt passenger numbers

Errors found in records

Where you find that your records have errors, you must correct them.

If this guidance does not fit your circumstances, please contact the helpline.

Time limits for correcting errors, claims and assessments

You cannot adjust your return, or make an error correction notification for any errors that arose in accounting periods that are outside the time limits.

You cannot make claims for amounts of tax overpaid that are outside the time limits.

HMRC cannot asses for amounts of tax due that are outside of time limits.

Correcting errors on a return or document

You may be liable to an inaccuracy penalty for careless or deliberate errors.

You can correct non deliberate errors using method 1 or 2.

If you correct the mistake on your return, and the mistake was carelessness, you might have to pay an inaccuracy penalty. But HMRC’s view will be that you’ve disclosed the error as long as it’s included in the relevant box of your return.

You cannot correct deliberate errors by including the correction in your return. You must tell HMRC separately by writing to the Central Assurance Team (CAT).

You may be liable to a deliberate inaccuracy penalty or criminal prosecution if intentionally, you do not make a correction when:

  • you have not declared enough duty
  • the inaccuracy penalty regime applies

If you incorrectly record or calculate what you owe

If you find you’ve recorded an entry in your business records incorrectly and you have not yet completed your account or return for that period, you can correct the error by amending your records. Keep a note to show the reason for the error, and include the correct duty figure in your account for the same period.

The correct duty figure will then work its way through to your return, as normal. You do not need to fill in corrections boxes 15 or 16 of the return.

If you’ve already sent us your return you’ll need to correct the error.

Correcting errors on a return already submitted

There are 2 adjustment and error correction methods that apply to previous return errors.

Method 1

You can apply method 1 if the net value of errors you’ve found on a previous return is either:

  • no more than £10,000
  • between £10,000 and £50,000 but not more than 1% of the duty due (before adjustment) on the current return in which you find the error

To find the net value of any errors on previous returns, workout:

  • the total amount due to us, if any
  • the total amount due to you, if any

If the difference between the 2 figures is more than 1% of the duty due, or more than £50,000, use method 2.

Adjust your account and include the value of that adjustment in your current return by filling in box 15 or 16.

Record full details of the adjustment in your account.

Method 2

Use method 2 for previous return errors between £10,000 and £50,000 net that are more than the limits.

Tell us in writing about the errors if either the net value of the error is:

  • between £10,000 and £50,000 and is more than 1% of the duty due on the current return where you find the error
  • more than £50,000

Give details of the errors including:

  • how each error arose
  • the accounting period affected
  • the amount you declared incorrectly in each period
  • how you calculated the amount
  • the total amount you want to change

If you use this method, do not make an adjustment for the same errors on a return.

Keeping and saving records

How long to keep records

You must keep your business records for 6 years. But you may ask if you can keep your records for a shorter period if this causes you:

  • storage problems
  • unreasonable expense

If you use a Special Accounting Scheme, we’ll agree how long you need to keep records as part of the scheme.

You must have our agreement before you destroy any of your records if they’re less than 6 years old.

If you do not keep accounts and records

If you do not keep records and accounts for your business you may be liable to a penalty.

Where to keep your records

You may keep your records anywhere as long as you make them available to us when and where we require them. Normally this will be at the address where you’re registered for Air Passenger Duty. We’ll make appointments before we visit. We’ll contact you to confirm the time and place of a visit and what records you should make available for us to inspect.

If you keep your records overseas

We’ll need to see records you keep abroad. You must discuss this with us. We’ll tell you which of your records we need to see. It may be that the records you keep in this country meet our needs. Or you can arrange with us for certain records to be copied before you send them overseas.

Storing information

You do not have to keep your records in any set way as long as you can produce copies and you let us view them when we need to.

If you upgrade to a new computer system which is not compatible with your old system, you must make sure that you can still access the records held on your old system for up to 6 years. If this is not possible you must make paper copies.

Published 29 January 2018