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HMRC internal manual

Air Passenger Duty

HM Revenue & Customs
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Returns and accounting procedures: Repayment, error and mismatch returns

Repayment returns

If a return is a repayment return, the relevant boxes should be completed with the repayment figures entered in brackets.

On receipt of a repayment return, the following action should be taken:

Step Who Action
1 CCU – if under £500 Authorise and repay unless:
  • a debt is on file and then the repayment should be appropriated against the debt and any difference repaid; or
  • there have been 5 repayment returns in a row. The 6th will be referred to the CAT for authorisation or investigation.      
      2 CCU – if over £500 Send to the CAT to confirm that the return is valid with form APD24.
      3 CAT * Respond to CCU within 7 working days by either sending back the return confirming its validity or provide some other response if this is not the case.
  • Unless you are aware of the reason for the repayment return, contact the operator immediately. You must satisfy yourself that the repayment liability is correct.
  • If you consider statutory interest is payable in these circumstances, consult Penalties and Debt Management Policy for advice.
Important: All repayment returns must be authorised at SO level or above (see APD12000).

Note: any unnecessary delay which occurs in making the repayment to the tradermay result in the trader claiming interest on the repayment from us (see APD5900).

Error returns

The computer checks the amounts entered in boxes 1 to 6 of the APD return. If any apparent inconsistencies are found, incorrect calculations or omissions, the return is classed as an “error return”. CCU make “in house” corrections where possible to returns which are classed as error returns. Otherwise CCU will send the return back to the aircraft operator for correction. A reminder will be sent to the aircraft operator if a response has not been received after 7 days.

If after a further 7 days a response has not been received or the operators reply indicates that he requires further assistance, CCU will send the error return to the CAT together with an APD 21 highlighting the error.

Returns sent by CCU the CAT for correction will not have been fully processed. The CAT should return the corrected return to CCU within 10 days.

If the error involves the operator changing figures on the return the local officer should ask the operator to cross out the incorrect figures and insert the correct figures immediately above the alteration. All amendments must be initialled and dated by the operator. Amendments are to be made by the original signatory or another qualified signatory.

Mismatch returns


A mismatch return may be generated if the operator manually amends the pre-printed accounting period dates. The computer system does not recognise the period as a correct or valid one for that trader, for example if the return is:

before the registration date; after the deregistration date; or a return already exists for that period. Although a mismatch return will be entered on the trader’s ledger, the APD due will not be included in the ledger balance.

Cases resolved by CCU

CCU will resolve mismatch returns where:

  • an exact duplicate return is received;
  • a nil return is received for a deregistered trader; or
  • CCU has received prior notification that a return has been amended but the return has been input before the system has been updated.

CCU will send all other cases to the CAT for further investigation.

Cases referred to the CAT

All mismatch returns will be accompanied by Form APD21 from CCU which will identify why the return has mismatched. The CAT should investigate the problem and forward either an interim or full response by the date shown on this form.

The CAT should always ensure that any period amendment does not leave gaps in the operator’s period history, and that the return covers the whole period of trading. The only exception to this is where an amendment is made by officers’ assessment or voluntary disclosure.

Cases which require the input of an APD641 to correct the ledger

If a return mismatches and the only method available to correct a trader’s account is by input of an officer’s assessment or voluntary disclosure then the documents which are produced by the input of this should not be sent to the trader. When sending the APD641 to CCU you must mark the forms clearly “output documents must not be issued to trader”.