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UK Air Passenger Taxes Among World's Highest

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

10 June 2015


UK air passenger taxes are the highest in the European Union and well above the G7 average, according to new analysis by UHY Hacker Young.

UHY Hacker Young reviewed the taxes and compulsory government charges imposed by the governments of 20 countries per passenger on an economy class flight.

The UK imposes Air Passenger Duty (APD) of GBP13 (USD20.05) on short haul flights and GBP71 on long haul flights that depart from airports in England and Wales. According to UHY Hacker Young, the G7 average is GBP10 on short haul flights and GBP23 on long haul flights. The global average in countries where aviation taxes are imposed is GBP15 on short haul and GBP35 on long haul flights.

Many smaller European countries, including Ireland, Slovakia, and Belgium, do not impose taxes on individual air passengers. The most expensive taxes are for long haul flights departing from Russian airports, where airline tickets are subject to sales tax. The highest taxes of any G8 economy are in the US, where GBP15 worth of taxes are imposed on a short haul ticket. In the BRIC economies, flight taxes are higher than the global average, at an average of GBP17 for a short haul flight.

Roy Maugham, Tax partner at UHY Hacker Young, commented: "Airlines provide a crucial piece of infrastructure. They facilitate a great deal of economic activity that is essential for countries that want to benefit from globalization. The higher taxes on flying in the UK hurt airlines, business users and consumers."

"Countries and cities that are expensive to fly to lose out on tourism. High air taxes can also be harmful to businesses, as in many commercial relationships there is simply no substitute for face to face contact. For smaller businesses, the cost of flying to see customers may be a serious consideration in deciding whether not to expand into new markets, especially overseas – it can lock them out of globalization. Air Passenger Duty can add another 10 percent to the cost of flying, so it can pose a meaningful additional burden on budgets."

TAGS: Russia | environment | tax | business | sales tax | air passenger duty (APD) | Belgium | Ireland | aviation | Australia | Slovakia | United Kingdom | tax rates | Canada | United States

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