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Tackling unfair tax relief

by John Moore BALPA Head of Industrial Relations

When something is unfair I believe it is important to challenge it and seek to make a change. And that is a principle that underlies a campaign that BALPA is undertaking for its members who are subject to tax rules for self-funded, work-related training that are no longer fit for the modern economy.  

The problem: 

Some airlines expect pilots to pay for type rating courses to allow them to fly specific aircraft. Type rating is a requirement. If the employer pays for this then they get tax relief. But we are hearing time and again from individual pilots who have paid themselves but been denied the same relief by HMRC. And that’s unfair. 

What is BALPA doing about it?

We believe strongly that pilots who are required by their employers to stump up the cash for this required training should be able to claim tax relief in a similar way an airline would if it were to fund the training. We have been campaigning to see these rules amended to make it easier for pilots to claim the tax relief we believe they are entitled to. BALPA has met with senior treasury and HMRC officials, the TUC and other professional bodies to discuss options. 

At the same-time we continue to support individual members who are making claims. And we are beginning to meet some success here, with one recent claim being accepted by HMRC. 

What we want: 

The basic premise here is that we want the system to be fair. Pilots who are required by their employer to pay personally for training that is required as part of their employment, such as type rating courses, should be provided with the same tax relief that would otherwise be available to their employers should they provide for the costs. 

If this is something that is affecting you, please get in contact with your BALPA CC Reps or National Officer – they can advise you on the process of submitting a claim. 

The good news

We have been campaigning to make sure the Government addresses the issue and it appears the Treasury is starting to take note. HMRC has announced a consultation on taxation of self-funded training which we are involved in. 

We continue to assist members with individual claims and have begun to have success here too. We will continue to campaign against this unfair system and do everything we can to ensure  that our members can get the tax relief to which we believe they are entitled.