United Kingdom Advance Passenger Duty (UK-APD): Business Aviation Guide

PT 4 M minute read

All aircraft departing the United Kingdom (UK) are required to assess and pay duty per passenger on a recurring basis. The tax applies to each passenger departure outbound from the UK.

UK-APD (Advance Passenger Duty) is a per-passenger duty that must be paid to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for qualifying business aircraft departures from most UK airports for flights out of the country.

Here’s everything you need to know about UK APD.

UK-APD Applicability

UK-APD applies to all passengers departing the UK on fixed-winged aircraft weighing 5.7 tons or more.

It is applicable to passengers only (not crew) of both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights.

UK-APD Exemptions

UK APD exemptions exist for emergency, training, military, humanitarian, search-and-rescue and air ambulance flights. Diplomatic flights must pay the duty, but it may be reclaimed from the Foreign and Commonwealth office by the appropriate government in the same manner as for any reclamation of duties and taxes. Also, aircraft that are operating as Head of State will be exempt, but you must indicate the type of flight in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) portion of the flight plan. UK APD does not apply to cargo flights. There’s a general exemption for aircraft under 5.7 metric tons (12,500 lbs.) Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), as well as for passengers in transit. It’s best to confirm exemptions, as they may or may not apply in your particular case, with your 3rd-party provider.

*UK APD is also exempt in the case of tech stops (no passengers disembarking or embarking).

UK-APD Rates

The UK has introduced new premium rates of APD for passengers on flights using aircraft of 20,001 metric tons (44,094 lbs.) or more with fewer than 19 seats. Flights in this category pay APD at double the prevailing standard business/first-class APD rate. The following is the rate schedule provided by the HMRC in a briefing:

The Air Passenger Duty rates for the tax year 2023 to 2024 will be as follows (from April 1, 2023):

Bands (distance in miles from London) Reduced rate (lowest class of travel) Standard rate (1) (other than the lowest class of travel) Higher rate (2)
Domestic band £ 6.50 £ 13 £ 78
Band A (0 to 2000 miles) £ 13 £ 26 £ 78
Band B (2,001 to 5,500 miles) £ 87 £ 191 £ 574
Band C (over 5,500 miles) £ 91 £ 200 £ 601
  • Bands: Each band is the approximate mileage from the UK.
  • Reduced rate: Applies where the passengers are carried in the lowest class of travel on any flight unless the seat pitch exceeds 1.016 meters (40 inches). In that case, whether there is one or more than one class of travel, the standard rates apply.
  • Standard rate: Applies where passengers are carried in any class of travel other than the lowest or where the seat pitch exceeds 1.016 meters (40 inches), unless the conditions for the higher rate below are met.
  • Higher rate: Applies if passengers are carried on aircraft with an authorized takeoff weight of 20,001 kg or more and equipped to carry fewer than 19 passengers.

Note: For a list of the bands, please visit HMRC’s Website.

How UK APD will impact your specific operations

APD for the UK is based on MTOW and distance flown and seat pitch. The two MTOW categories are 5,700-20,000 kg and 20,001 kg and above.

For example, if you’re flying a 0-2000-miles Band A, APD will be £13 per passenger for the lower-weight category, assuming the aircraft has fewer than 19 seats and the seat pitch doesn’t exceed 40 inches (in which case the standard rate applies), and £78 per passenger for aircraft over 20,001 kg and equipped with fewer than 19 passenger seats.

When calculating the fees due for a flight, it’s important to note that calculations aren’t necessarily based on your actual destination. Mileage is only calculated from the UK to the appropriate country’s capital city.

Registering for UK-APD

Registration with the HMRC is required for operators to make payments.

The posted lead time is 7-10 days.

Applications are filed via e-mail.

Requirements to file include:

  • Inbound and Outbound Itinerary including ATAs and ATDs
  • Manifest info
  • Letter of Authorization
  • 3rd party payment via a foreign bank
  • Pre-certified operator account with HMRC
  • Per-leg flight details/itinerary

Paying UK-APD

APD is calculated based on departures of applicable flights. It’s not an arrival tax. In some cases, your ground handler may be able to pay APD due. The UK APD collection is governed by the HMRC, and payments should be made to them.

The HMRC website contains information on APD regulations. APD may be collectible as a per-flight, semi-annual or annual charge based on average passenger loads. In order to qualify for the annual accounting scheme, the operator must have UK APD annual revenue of less than £500,000. There is a special accounting scheme option that allows operators to average the number of passengers carried.

Also, for infrequent flyers, the HMRC has looked at options that will make the process easier. They have developed an “occasional operator’s scheme.” In order to qualify for this option, you will need to have 12 or fewer flights per year and an APD liability of £5,000 or less.

Potential Challenges with UK-APD

If UKAPD is not filed correctly, you could face tax penalties and or operational restrictions to, from, and within the UK.

More on penalties.

Universal Global Regulatory Services Can Help

Universal’s Global Regulatory Services team offers a streamlined UK-APD pre-trip filing and payment processing service that saves time and reduces the risk of non-payment penalties. This is an especially valuable service for operators with frequent, recurring trips in/out of the UK.

Our Global Regulatory Services team and local experts in London facilitate thousands of departures per year from the UK and have the expertise, bandwidth and global resources to reduce your risk and alleviate your administrative APD burden.

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