Flying High (On Tax Refunds)
06th December 2018
With International Civil Aviation Day drawing the world’s attention to the importance of air travel, it’s time look at what it takes to get the wheels up on your yearly flight or cabin crew tax refund.
The nuts and bolts of tax refunds are pretty much the same whatever your job is. When you’re spending your own cash just to keep yourself in work, you can claim tax back from HMRC. The expenses you can claim for vary with what kind of work you do, which is why so many people never get back everything they’re owed.
Here’s an example. If you’re a pilot or other uniformed flight deck crew member, you can claim a Flat Rate Expense allowance of £1,022 a year. That figure was negotiated between the British Airline Pilot’s Association and the taxman, and it’s a key one to remember. It’s far from the only way to claw back tax from HMRC, though.
You can claim an additional deduction of £110 if you have to travel to essential things like medical examinations, training courses and technical refreshers or flight simulator sessions. Again, that’s a flat rate, but if you find yourself spending more for your eligible travel, you can still claim back tax on it. It just means you need to provide the taxman with some proof of what you’ve spent.
For uniformed cabin staff, the Fixed Rate Expenses allowance is £720 per year. As with the version for flight deck crew, this is meant to cover the cost of cleaning or laundering your uniform. In the rare event of you not getting a uniform provided for you, you could still claim a tax deduction for replacing one from your own pocket.
Your flat-rate expenses are supposed to cover most of your basic work costs, but it’s worth getting professional advice if you’re a pilot or co-pilot and aren’t being provided with things like noise cancelling headsets. Don’t forget that professional body fees and subscriptions can be an important part of your tax refund claims, too. You can, for instance, claim back tax on 67% of your BALPA subscription.
As for what your allowable expenses actually cover, you can get tax back when you’re reaching into your own pocket for things like travel and accommodation costs when you’re travelling to a temporary workplace. On the other hand, if your employer’s paying for most of your required equipment, you could find your Flat Rate Expenses allowance being reduced. Again, talk to an expert if you’re not sure where you stand.
One particular thing to keep in mind is that you might be paying UK tax even if you’re actually from overseas. Chances are, if you work for a UK business you’re paying UK tax through the PAYE system. Depending on double taxation agreements or your residency status, however, you could still claim a refund for any tax you’ve overpaid. The rules around this can be complicated, so get in touch with RIFT to make sure you get back what you’re owed.
It’s not always easy to fly straight when you’re dealing with the complexities of tax law. RIFT are the UK’s leading experts in tax rebate claims, so give us a shout and let’s get your HMRC tax refund off the ground for you today.