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Short & Sweet no. 1
Flying with the CEO

Added 2020 – Updated January 2024

  • What are the consequences and the pitfalls?

  • How to get the greatest flexibility?

The Flying with the CEO case describes a scenario where an aircraft is imported or admitted by a non-EU corporation that operates and uses the aircraft mainly for its own business, flying with the CEO or management. Please remember that other scenarios that influence the situation are in play.

The customs aspect of flying within the EU
Any aircraft flying into the EU will operate under customs control using either the Temporary Admission procedure (TA) or full importation (FI). There are no other options. The TA procedure can only be used by EU outsiders where the aircraft is owned (including any UBOs), operated, registered, and based outside the EU, leaving EU insiders with only one option: full importation. EU outsiders can, of course, choose to use full importation instead of TA if they find it beneficial. However, both options can be used commercially or privately if applied correctly.

It is often tricky for laypeople to see the differences between the two entry options, but the flexibility and long-term consequences are indeed very different, and certain preconditions must be considered when opting for TA or FI. Non-compliance with the TA or FI procedures will likely activate a direct VAT payment (15-27%) and customs duty (2.7-7.7%). Please see the topics and comments below.

General business and corporate use
FI: In general, business use is not a problem if the usage is directly in pursuit of approved economic activity of the importing entity.
TA: If no tickets are sold, the aircraft can be used for any purpose.

What if the aircraft is used for commuting by the CEO?
FI: Any flight where the purpose is commuting, entertainment, hobby, and personal recreational travel, or any travel in furtherance of another business than the importing entity’s affairs, cannot be considered business or corporate use. The mentioned usage can cause payment of the VAT imposed during the importation, but any non-business use can be justified if the CEO pays the correct compensation for the non-business flights.
TA: If no tickets are sold, the aircraft can be used for any purpose.

How can the CEO pay compensation if the aircraft is used for non-business use?
FI: The CEO must pay the importing entity directly for the flights at a market rate. The use of imputed income will not work as the payment is not effectively made to the importing entity.
TA: Use of imputed income, timeshare, or any other form of payment is accepted as long as it does not function as payment for a ticket.

Is the EU importation or admission affected when the aircraft flies outside the EU?
FI: Yes. A non-business or non-corporate leg flown, e.g., in the US, will impact the EU VAT handling during an audit by the EU VAT authorities.
TA: No. Only flights within the EU matter.

List of all OPMAS
Short & Sweet mails:

No. 22 – What does it take to be compliant?
Jun 2024 TA FI

No. 21 – Part 4: Using Temporary Admission – how to prepare for a customs ramp check
Jan 2024 TA

No. 20 – Buying or selling aircraft within, to, or from the EU
Nov 2023 TA FI

No. 19 – The real differences between full importation and Temporary Admission
Sep 2023 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 18 – Exporting an aircraft from the EU
Jun 2023 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 17 – What is the correct use of a corporate aircraft?
Mar 2023 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 16 – Which customs procedures can be used for parking an aircraft within the EU?
Jan 2023 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 15 – Liability and risk elements associated with EU importation and admission
Oct 2022 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 14 – Part 3: Using Temporary Admission – when does an operator need help?
Aug 2022 – Updated 2024 TA

No. 13 – Importation impacts when traveling the world in corporate aircraft
Jun 2022 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 12 – How to get the 0% airline VAT exemption meant for commercial operators
May 2022 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 11 – Part 2: Using Temporary Admission
– what do customs look for during a ramp check, and why?

Mar 2022 – Updated 2024 TA

No. 10 – How to handle aircraft maintenance correct in a customs context​
Feb 2022 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 9 – Part 1: Using Temporary Admission – the Supporting Document
Dec 2021 – Updated 2024 TA

No. 8 – Do not fall into the operator trap when flying within the EU and UK
Oct 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 7 – Which offshore aircraft registrations can be used with Temporary Admissions when flying within the EU and UK?
Sep 2021 - Updated 2024 TA

No. 6 – Flying with EU-resident persons onboard when using Temporary Admission
Aug 2021 - Updated 2024 TA

No. 5 – What about private use
of corporate aircraft?

May 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 4 – What does ‘VAT paid’ mean?
Mar 2021 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 3 – Is a full importation needed
in both the UK and the EU27?

Mar 2021 - Updated 2024 FI

No. 2 – Flying commercially
within the EU

Feb 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI

No. 1 – Flying with the

Nov 2020 - Updated 2024 TA FI

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