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Flying for business in Europe

I’ve been thinking about using an aeroclub airplane for a business trip for a long time but always shied away from it because of potential tax consequences here in Austria. I’m a non-instrument rated pilot which might cause problems when having to defend a business trip by private plane. I’ve also heard of cases where cost had to be justified compared to other means of transportation (train, car, etc.).

Just a general question: would it be even possible to use a flying club’s airplanes that doesn’t have any VAT included on its bill?

I’ve also heard of cases where cost had to be justified compared to other means of transportation (train, car, etc.).

That would be a very unusual law, because it would prevent the use of any airline ticket other than the cheapest one. Reducing it to absurdity it would mean hitch-hiking if travelling on business

Here in the UK, there is no “best economy” requirement and only extreme cases would be disallowed as a business expense (e.g. travelling via a hot air baloon, or maybe on a yacht).

would it be even possible to use a flying club’s airplanes that doesn’t have any VAT included on its bill?

I can’t see why not. It would merely mean that your employer, if VAT registered, will not be able to reclaim any VAT. But that happens normally with many expenses anyway e.g. buying stuff at a local supermarket.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

would it be even possible to use a flying club’s airplanes that doesn’t have any VAT included on its bill?

As a business, you cannot “deduct” VAT that is not formally charged to you, of course; as Peter already pointed out. But acting as your private self, I can see no objection. The tax(wo)man might demand to see a rental contract, which the club might be reluctant to produce, both depending on local regulations.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Oberpfaffenhofen if fine to use. But I may be over the MTOW low end limit. I just use it for Munich, nothing to do with businesses there.

Schoenefeld and Amsterdam also pretty good for business airports. Not cheap but not stupid expensive.

EGTK Oxford

Be VERY careful giving tax advice about a country’s tax system that you have no knowledge of!

They can be VERY different to what you are used to, and it only takes one minor little (seemingly insignifiant point) to change the whole thing. These (seeminly senseless) things can easily come for politics as a result of some media story. Sometimes they are things that nobody with a right mind would do, but politicians do to help get them reelected.

Give tax advice, in a tax system that you know nothing of, at your own peril!

A professional tax advisor, who’s very reluctant to give tax advice unless he’s 110% sure! ’- – - – - >

Last Edited by dublinpilot at 08 Jan 22:07
EIKH Kilrush

The advice I always give is to find an accountant who is familiar with businesses involving planes, boats, horses or brothels

Such accountants are not easily found (NOT the street corner type) and are normally expensive.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I’ve been thinking about using an aeroclub airplane for a business trip for a long time but always shied away from it because of potential tax consequences here in Austria. I’m a non-instrument rated pilot which might cause problems when having to defend a business trip by private plane. I’ve also heard of cases where cost had to be justified compared to other means of transportation (train, car, etc.).

I’m no accountant, but I’m not aware of any case in Austria where

a) the authorities would have cared about an IR (perhaps you mingle this up with German tax authorities supposedly allowing people to deduct their IR etc., but not the initial PPL training)

b) a comparison between different ways of thransport would have been required.

A friend of mine who flies out of LOAV uses his club’s SR20 very frequently for business trips.

I have rented aircraft in LOAV and LOAN and charged these costs to my company, before co-acquiring my own aircraft in 2011. I now pass on the fuel and landing bills from time to time, but I have to say that I fly very infrequently for business (2 or 3 times a year). On the one hand, job life has become very demanding so that I often feel a safe conduct of the flight would be jeopardised by external factors. OTOH, with a non-deiced basic IFR single it is hard to achieve the necessary dispatch reliability.

Nevertheless, you sure start the day with a big smile on your face when climbing out over the jam on the A2 motorway

Last Edited by blueline at 09 Jan 07:53
LOAN Wiener Neustadt Ost, Austria

I do about 10 trips a year for business.
Most in between Dk and Sweden. I have a places there I can reach in the Cessna in one hour which takes app. 6 hours in car. I run the aircraft privately – pay VAT and invoice the hours to the company on a level similar to high-end rental. Our accountant advised this was a safe method as the company can pay no private flights and thus the taxman does not care.
This last year I was also in UK, and Germany.
I have a foldable electrical mountain bike that fits in the back of the Cessna. It is good for close to 40km/h and has a range of 50km. Since most of my flights are in the months with nice weather I sometimes bring the bike and use that for the final stretch, it is amazing how many strips and airports there is and sometimes you can get really close to the destination.
I am currently studying for the IR as I want to extend the possible trips.
Even though a lot of time can be saved on the actual flight, sometimes i have wondered that including all the other time spend on planning etc. often the total time spend is equal to traveling commercially or by car. My point of view is that if I can go by plane on the same time and money budget I can combine my hobby and work and that approach works well. That also allows me to skip flights where the stress of planning, bad weather etc. will interfere with my job.

pmh
www.ekbr.dk, Denmark

As a business, you cannot “deduct” VAT that is not formally charged to you, of course; as Peter already pointed out.

Is that really true? It is perfectly legal in Sweden (and happens all the time with e.g. travel expenses) and I would expect this kind of thing to be harmonised within the EU. The important thing is that the VAT is stated on the invoice/receipt.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

That is a matter of wording. The amount of VAT must indeed be mentioned separately (which it is, even on supermarket receipts, in some European countries), but most of all your VAT identifier must be mentioned. This is what I meant by “formally charged”. Such is law here and I can not imagine it would be different elsewhere, it would open the door very wide to fraud.

Last Edited by at 09 Jan 12:38
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium
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