What is Air Passenger Tax?
In 2000 the Minister of Finance announced that an Air Passenger Tax (APT) was to be instituted on chargeable passengers on a chargeable aircraft departing from an airport in the Republic to a destination outside the Republic. This is also applies to charter companies.
Who is Air Passenger Tax For?
The tax is not applicable to domestic flights. It is only applicable to chargeable passengers leaving on an international flight. Operators (airline), registered Agents (those acting on behalf of an operator) or charter companies will be liable for the payment of the APT to SARS on a monthly basis after reconciliation of the passenger manifests. Non carrying passenger Airlines (cargo) will be required to register for APT purposes but will not be liable for APT payments.
How to register?
All operators (airlines) and duly appointed agents and charter companies have to register for this tax which can only be done at the Customs and Excise Branch Office at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
Every operator or charter company must complete an APT102 form and if an operator is required to appoint an agent the APT101 form must also be completed and the following documents must be attached:
- A copy of company registration documents (this is issued by the Registrar of Companies and Close Corporations)
- A copy of Operating Certificate (this is issued by the South African Civil Aviation Authority)
- Proof of banking details (a letter from the bank confirming the details)
- The Commissioner may require any other documents or information
Once the above has been received, it will be captured on the APT system and an APT code will be allocated to the operator that applied for registration.
When and how should it be paid?
An Operator, duly appointed agent or Charter Company is liable to pay SARS, within 21 days after the end of the month during which the amount was collected. Where the 21st day is not a “Business day” such payment must be made on or before the last “Business day” prior to the 21st in order to avoid late payment, which may incur interest and possible penalties.
If not already registered on SARS eFiling for other taxes it is required from the Operator, duly appointed agent or Charter Company to register and use the SARS eFiling service when making payment. Other payment methods such as Internet banking or payment at a branch of an approved bank may only be used in exceptional circumstances.
Who is exempt from the payment of Air Passenger Tax?
The following are exempt fro Air Passenger Tax:
- Children below the age of two years who are not allocated a separate seat before boarding are not liable (If a seat is purchased for a child below the age of two years then APT is chargeable)
- A passenger is not a chargeable passenger if not carried for reward in pursuance of any requirement imposed under any law and or for the purposes only of inspecting matters relating to the aircraft or the flight crew
- A passenger whether or not carried for reward is not a chargeable passenger if he or she is carrying out a duty in terms of an international agreement, convention or obligation, subject to the approval of the Commissioner and such conditions as he or she may impose in each case
- Any passenger, who is in transit through South Africa and departs from the transit area of the airport on a flight without entering South Africa by passing through immigration, is not a chargeable passenger employee of operator or the airport
Some categories of airline / airport employees are not regarded as passengers for APT purposes when they are engaged in duties on a flight. As such, APT is not charged on their carriage.
- Flight crew
- Cabin attendants
- Employees escorting a passenger or goods
- Employees undertaking repair, maintenance, safety or security work
- Employees ensuring the hygienic preparation and handling of food and drink
- Airport aircraft handling, airport passenger handling and cargo handling
- Airline business support services including:
- Passenger services, sales, marketing, finance, administration, information technology and human resources functions.
- These employees are also exempt if they carry out the above duties within 72 hours of the flight ending.
- The exemption also applies to employees who begin a return journey within 72 hours after performing any of the above duties provided that they are returning to base, that is the place where they are normally stationed or from where they normally operate.
- When the above employees are travelling as passengers, that is: they are not working, they are liable for APT.