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Unforeseen liabilities and unexpected lease returns; Martyn Fiddler Aviation are attending ERA

When an aircraft comes off lease – planned or not – there is a taxable event. Often, when the lease return is planned, the taxable event is managed swiftly and without concern. However, during unplanned returns – which were seen during the global pandemic and more recently with the Ukraine conflict – the VAT liability of the lessor can be overlooked causing a huge potential problem. Mark Byrne, a director at Martyn Fiddler Aviation explained:

“It is illegal to travel in an untaxed means of transportation in the EU and UK. This includes all aircraft regardless of whether they are private or commercial. The majority of commercial lease aircraft are being operated by an airline (and therefore on its AOC) and have mitigated VAT as a result. However, during an unplanned lease return the aircraft will come off the lessee’s AOC. At the moment the aircraft is removed from the AOC and back into the control of the lessor, a taxable event occurs which needs to be managed or VAT will be due.

The average VAT in Europe is 20%. If a lease return is not managed properly, VAT will be due on the full value of the aircraft. And while many lease returns are transactionally managed to occur simultaneously with a new lease; recent events have caused significant disruption. Most lessors would like to either mitigate the VAT liability or mitigate the payment; and this is where you need an VAT specialist.

Martyn Fiddler Aviation has the only VAT specialist tax practice focusing purely on aviation, and our experts are also able to implement many of the customs processes need to mitigate, defer or process VAT payments in Europe. ERA is a great opportunity for us to advise regional airlines and lessors regarding their options in these turbulent times.”

Mark and Patrick Edmond, Martyn Fiddler Aviation Ireland’s Non-Executive Director, will be explaining how their VAT expertise can assist regional airlines at the European Regions Airline Association’s (ERA) General assembly at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Hotel, Vilamoura, Portugal on Tuesday and Wednesday October 11 & 12.

If you would like to meet with Mark Byrne in Vilamoura then please do contact him to arrange an appointment. You can do this by emailing or calling +44 7341 088382.


The information included in this article is considered true and correct at the date of publication; changes to rules and regulation made after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information referenced or inferred to in this article. The information in the article may change without notice and Martyn Fiddler Aviation is in no way liable for the accuracy of any information printed or stored or in any way interpreted and used by the user. This article or the information contained in it is not provided or intended to be used as advice of any form.
If you have any doubts or would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts who will be happy to discuss your individual circumstance.
About the author

Mark Byrne is a director and shareholder of Martyn Fiddler Aviation. Mark studied law at the University of Westminster and received his MBA from Manchester ...

Contact Mark Byrne
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