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Tax Relief on Self-Funded Training

BALPA is concerned that tax rules in relation to self-funded, work-related training are no longer fit for the modern economy. 

BALPA is campaigning for these rules to be changed so that pilots who are required by their employer to pay for vital training, such as type rating courses, can claim tax relief in a similar way an airline would if it were to fund the training.

BALPA believes that under current HMRC rules it should be possible for pilots to claim tax relief on self-funded type rating courses. However, many members have experienced difficulty in actually persuading HMRC to accept their claims. BALPA is continuing to support members in making claims for tax relief in relation to self-funded type rating courses – and we have started to meet some success with one recent claim being accepted by HMRC. At the same time, we are campaigning for the rules to be amended to make it easier for pilots to claim the tax relief to which we believe they are entitled.

All airlines expect people to pay for their initial training. Regrettably, some airlines also expect pilots to pay for type rating courses to allow them to fly specific aircraft as well. Type rating is a requirement. If the employer pays for this then they get tax relief. But in many cases if an individual pays, they are denied the same relief by HMRC.

To make matters worse, in April 2017 HMRC removed work related training from salary sacrifice. We believe that this is fundamentally unfair.

BALPA’s Position

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.

BALPA has met with senior treasury and HMRC officials, the TUC and other professional bodies to discuss options.

We are also supporting individual members who are making individual claims.

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 for employer-funded training.

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