1.01 What is Air Departure Tax (ADT)?

Air Departure Tax is a tax on the carriage of passengers on any flight that begins in an airport in Scotland. There will be instances when the tax does not apply, and these are expected to be confirmed as part of the parliamentary legislative process. The tax will replace UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) in Scotland from 1 April 2018.

1.02 How will the tax be collected and managed?

Revenue Scotland will have responsibility for collecting and managing ADT, and will build on its experience of the successful delivery and administration of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT). Continuing the digital approach, we will be promoting online registration and returns, as well as electronic payment as the most efficient and secure way for taxpayers to fulfil their obligations. At present, over 98% of returns for LBTT and SLfT are made online.

1.03 How does ADT differ from UK Airport Passenger Duty (APD)?

The Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill provides for a tax that is similar to UK APD. A key difference is that ADT returns will be made quarterly, rather than monthly. The biggest practical differences will be in the approach Revenue Scotland takes in collecting and managing the tax, which will be built round a wholly online system.

1.04 How often must a return be submitted?

The Bill as introduced in December 2016 requires operators to make quarterly returns. However, for operators making infrequent (i.e. non-scheduled) flights, with an estimated ADT liability of less than £5000 per year, there is the option of making occasional returns (on a flight-by-flight basis).

1.05 How can I submit a return?

The simplest and quickest method will be to submit the return online, through Revenue Scotland’s online SETS portal. This is the returns system Revenue Scotland has used for the other devolved taxes since April 2015. Over the coming months, we will be developing the portal for ADT, and would welcome input from operators to support this.

Registration for the tax and the portal will open in early 2018, in advance of the tax coming into effect on 1 April 2018.

1.06 Will operators that are exempt from ADT still have to register and submit nil returns?

The tax is only applied to chargeable aircraft and flights, so any operator without a chargeable aircraft will not be expected to make a return.

1.07 Do operators have to advise Revenue Scotland if they no longer plan to fly from Scottish airports?

Yes, an operator who no longer plans to makes flights from Scottish airports will be required to advise us within 30 days of the decision to no longer operate. Doing so helps us maintain our register, and prevent us approaching you for a tax return unnecessarily.

1.08 Are aircraft operators able to make a change to an ADT return once it has been submitted?

Yes, returns can be amended at any time within 12 months after the filing date. Amendments to returns can be done within the SETS platform which will record and store any changes that are made.

1.09 When will operators be charged a penalty or interest on ADT?

Operators may be charged a penalty or interest in respect to a number of aspects of ADT. These include, but are not limited to: failure to register for the tax; failure to provide a fiscal representative (where necessary); failure to make a return, or inaccuracies on a return(s).

1.10 How will ADT information be stored?

Information submitted online through or SETS portal will be stored securely within the system. Any returns provided on paper will be scanned onto the system or kept securely within Revenue Scotland.

1.11 Will Fiscal Representation be required?

Operators without a fixed base in the UK will have to appoint a fiscal representative who is jointly and severally liable for the tax. Revenue Scotland may also require airlines to appoint fiscal representatives under certain other conditions.

Last updated: 
20 December 2016
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