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Air Passenger Duty: How far would you go to keep away from paying lots of of kilos in flight tax?

Ouch: a household of 5 flying to Thailand from April onwards in premium economic system can pay £1,000 in tax for the privilege of taking off from the UK in a barely extra comfy seat.

Almost three many years after Air Passenger Duty was launched – at a discount £5 for European flights, £10 for long-haul – the tax system for flights from and throughout the UK is altering but once more.

The man who invented the UK’s tax on aviation was the-then Tory chancellor, Ken Clarke. APD has seduced all his successors ever since. The flight tax is absurdly simple to gather, as a result of the airways do all of the laborious work and ship within the cheques each month.

APD can be unimaginable to keep away from. Or is it? The guidelines are advanced however travellers can actually work them to their benefit.

First a fast reminder of what adjustments on 1 April. Cash could also be tight for the Treasury, however 12 weeks from now the federal government will give up £58m by reducing tax on flying throughout the UK. The price of Air Passenger Duty for home flights halves to £6.50, with the main beneficiaries being travellers shuttling between Edinburgh and London. It will lure passengers from rail to air.

Some of the money can be clawed again by elevating long-haul APD, and particularly penalising journeys in anything-better-than-economy for far-flung flights.

A brand new higher-tax band applies for flights to nations whose capitals are over 5,500 miles from London. That contains the important thing Asian hubs of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – however nowhere in China or Brazil, as a result of the capitals are beneath 5,500 miles regardless that key arrival factors together with Shanghai and Sao Paulo are considerably additional.

The penalty for ultra-long-haul flights shouldn’t be vastly vital: solely 4.5 per cent greater than the sub-5,500-mile tax, which itself is up 3.5 per cent on final yr. But it takes the speed for premium economic system (or enterprise, or first) to £200 for passengers of all ages.

While solely folks 16 and over pay APD in essentially the most fundamental class, for something higher the tax applies for anybody aged two and above. That household of 5 travelling to Thailand, if all the children are within the vary 2-15, would pay simply £182 in economic system – or 5.5 occasions as a lot for something higher.

So listed here are some methods legally to keep away from tax.

Break your journey

APD is calculated in your ultimate ticketed vacation spot. So if you’re flying Birmingham-Amsterdam-New York on a via ticket on KLM (or any airline mixture), you’ll pay £87 in tax. But construct in a stopover of 24 hours or extra, and also you pay solely £13 for the primary section. For a pair, the £148 saving will most likely pay for a cheeky metropolis break.

Going south and east, Istanbul is a very good possibility, given the glories of town and the vary of attainable locations in Africa and Asia.

Split your ticket

A variant, which I take advantage of to the US, is to purchase an affordable one-way to Dublin airport and a separate onward ticket from there. You should permit loads of time to attach – there isn’t a refund in case you miss the onward flight.

The solely different time that purchasing a separate ticket has proved worthwhile by way of Continental Europe was flying to Kazakhstan, when it was oddly less expensive to fly from Brussels; I caught Eurostar and paid nil APD.

Start in Inverness

Bizarrely, APD is zero for flights from town in northern Scotland. It would make some sense for hops to the Scottish islands, or to different UK cities, due to the difficult location. Yet the exemption applies to locations anyplace on this planet.

If that household of 5 lived in Edinburgh or Glasgow, they might drive to Inverness and fly by way of Heathrow on British Airways or Amsterdam on KLM to their ultimate vacation spot.

Some English travellers even discover it worthwhile to fly to Inverness and journey on a recent ticket onwards from there. Which could be an ideal instance of a tax encouraging the very behaviour it was meant to cut back.

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