Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Refund of Airline Ticket Taxes

Some taxes have come off your airline fares and you may be entitled to a refund.
The magic date is July 23, 2011. The following have expired:
·         The 7.5% tax on the base ticket price
·         The $3.70 per person per segment (a segment is one takeoff and one landing) on domestic flights
·         The international facilities tax of $16.30 for flights that begin or end in the U.S.
·         The $8.20 premium for flights that begin or end in Alaska or Hawaii
·         The 6.25% tax on the air transport of property (this does not apply to excess baggage fees)
If you buy a ticket now, you are OK as the tax does not apply and will not be collected. However, if you bought a ticket prior to July 23, 2011 for a flight after that date, you may be entitled to a refund.
Here is the rub: the IRS wants the airlines to refund you the tax they collected. The airlines want the IRS to refund the taxes. The IRS argues that the airlines have better information to handle the refund, as they have the date of purchase and credit card information. They can have the taxes refunded to your credit card, for example.  If the IRS has to refund, all this information has to be provided with the claim, as the IRS does not have the information readily. The IRS has said they will provide additional guidance on the how-to at a later date.
I think this applies to me personally, as we recently bought an airline ticket for my mom. I can tell you in advance that, unless the taxes exceed a reasonable threshold, I will not be assembling a claim to send to the IRS. It’s not worth the hassle, even to a tax CPA.
BTW, you may have read that many airlines immediately raised ticket prices when the tax ended, thereby easily (and invisibly) adding to their profits. Nice people, those.

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