For the most recent 2016 article see Tax Deductibles for Flight attendants
Tax Deductions for Airline Flight Crew Personnel
As an airline employee, you are qualified to claim a number of job-related tax deductions. What they are depends on your position, whether you are a pilot or flight attendant.
What’s the lowdown on flight crew personnel tax deductions?
Effective from 2013/14 onwards, Flat Rate Expenses allowance (FRE) that applies to all uniformed pilots and co-pilots have been increased to £1,022, as agreed by the HMRC and the British Airline Pilot’s Association.
A further deduction of £110, previously £100, is made to cover allowable cost of travel to certain, regular specified events, which are: medical examinations, flight simulator sessions, crew resource management training (CRM), emergency and safety equipment training (SEP), technical refresher sessions, and fire and smoke
In the event that travel expenses exceed the £110, pilots are entitled to relief based on the actual journey, provided they can vouch for the actual expenses incurred.
Pilots and co-pilots are also entitled to other tax deductions, such as the following:
- Replacement of uniforms. The industry wide FRE £1,022 covers the cost of replacement, cleaning and laundering of uniforms, but not the initial cost. In the event that a company requires their crew to wear a uniform but does not provide one, pilots and co-pilots are entitled to a deduction for the cost of replacement under Section 336 ITEPA 2003, but not the initial
- Noise-cancelling headsets. Although deemed important, not all employers provide noise-cancelling headsets, which is why it is not covered by the FRE. Pilots who bought the headsets themselves, however, are entitled to relief through the capital allowances and the £1,022 FRE.
Other expenses and capital items eligible for relief include:
- Equipment: Torch, CRP5, Knee board, Trifold, Chart plotters, Mileage scale rule, Atlas, Protractors/ dividers, Pens, Travel iron, Calculator, Stopwatch, Clipboard
- Reference Material (when used at work)
- Currency Commission
- Duplicate Passport
When employers provide most of the equipment required, a pilot’s FRE will be reduced accordingly.
What about the luggage and computers? Since both items are not considered used in the actual performance of duties, which is to fly an aircraft from one destination to another, they do not qualify for tax relief.
In case a flight deck crew wishes to obtain relief for the actual cost of allowable items, rather than take advantage of the FRE, deductions will be based solely on the actual, vouched, qualifying cost of a particular tax year. Qualifying cost refers to
deductions due under Section 336 ITEPA 2003 and Section 36 CAA
Similar to pilots and co-pilots, industry wide FRE for airline cabin crew (steward and stewardess) has also been increased to £720 as agreed by the HMRC and the Unite union. This will be effective for 2013/14 onwards.
The £720 FRE includes the cost of cleaning and laundering of uniform, but not the initial cost. Similar to the case of the flight deck crew, if the airline requires staff to wear a uniform but does not provide one, employees who buy them are entitled to a
deduction for the cost of replacement under Section 336 ITEPA 2003, but not the initial purchase.
What is considered a uniform is a set of clothing that will make a cabin crew instantly recognisable as wearing a uniform by any person in the street. Deductions, however, only cover what is part of a uniform and excludes socks, underwear, and shoes from the equation.
Between a pilot and a flight attendant, tax treatment is fairly easy on a flight attendant. Still, to avoid penalties and problems, consultation with tax experts is highly recommended.