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HMRC internal manual

Air Passenger Duty

HM Revenue & Customs
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Auditing APD traders: Educational visits

Who should receive an educational visit?

All aircraft operators who are about to register for APD or who are newly registered should be visited before the first chargeable flight takes place.

What is the purpose of an educational visit?

The educational visit should:

  • determine whether the trader should be registered;
  • inform the trader about their APD responsibilities;
  • advise the trader of our responsibilities;
  • gather information about the trader’s business systems;
  • assist the trader to set up acceptable systems including special accounting schemes, where appropriate;
  • all information should be recorded in the traders file and evaluated to prepare an audit programme.

How do I carry out an educational visit?

You can use the following table as an aide memoire when carrying out an educational visit. You should obtain as much relevant information as possible during the visit. Subsequent visits may need to be arranged to discuss accounting systems before the operator becomes liable for APD.

Step Subject Action
1. Establish background and credibility information Flight programme Establish: for both scheduled and charter flights:
  • number per week (summer and winter);
  • UK airports used, destinations and routes;
  • aircraft types, number of crew and cabin staff; and
  • maximum passenger configuration.
Aircraft - details of any leasing agreements with other airlines.      
    Passengers Establish:
  • occupancy rates;
  • seasonality;
  • estimate of annual numbers;
  • estimate of numbers split between economy and business class of travel; and
  • details of potential connections (transfers).      
        Documentation, systems and records Establish:
  • CRS and DRS and any other relevant systems and computer documentation currently available;
  • records currently held for what period and where;
  • flight coupons - retained where, for how long, can they be retrieved?; and
  • interline agreements and any code share agreements.      
        Designated staff Establish:
  • contact points and responsibilities;
  • where will airlines register;
  • who will complete and sign the return;
  • payment method to be used.      
      2. Outline duty and responsibilities Duty rates and airline requirements Explain:
  • registration;
  • record keeping;
  • submission of returns; and
  • penalties.      
      3. Discuss all potential exemptions   Discuss:
  • infants;
  • connecting passengers;
  • flights from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands;
  • passengers carried under a statutory obligation;
  • forces personnel;
  • pleasure flights; and
  • airline employees (positioning crew, maintenance, safety, security and hygiene staff).      
      4. Discuss audit visits   Outline:
  • procedure; and
  • operator’s responsibility.      
      5. Judge airline capacity to meet duty requirements and need or potential for a special accounting scheme.