COMMERCIAL AND CORPORATE FLYING WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION
Short & Sweet no. 5
What about private use of corporate aircraft?
Can a corporate aircraft be used for private purposes without VAT consequences?
What does the term predominately used for business mean?
What are the definitions of private use and business use?
The case below describes a scenario where the aircraft is imported and admitted by a non-EU corporation that operates and uses the aircraft for its own business. We have often, in a VAT context, seen the use of the term predominately used for businesswhich should somehow indicate that a certain amount of private use of a corporate aircraft is acceptable without any VAT consequences but is this correct? Please, remember that many other scenarios are in play that also influences the situation.
Any aircraft flying into the EU will fly under customs control using either the Temporary Admission (TA) procedure 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 customs territory of the Union, while the FI procedure can be used by anyone. Consequently, full importation is the only option for EU corporations.
It is often tricky for non-experts to see the differences between the two entry options, but the flexibility and long-term consequences are very different, and there are certain conditions that must be taken into consideration when opting for either the TA or FI procedure. Non-compliance with the TA or FI procedure will most likely activate a direct payment of the VAT (ranging 17-27%) and customs duty (2.7-7.7%).
Can a corporate aircraft be predominately used for business without VAT consequences?
FI: No, not unless proper VAT corrections are made.
TA: Yes, this is not a problem. Here, 100% private use is also acceptable.
FI comment: The term predominately used for business has for years been used to sugar-coat a scenario where an imported corporate aircraft has partly been used for private use without any corrections of the import VAT, which has previously been deducted in full. This kind of uncorrected and mixed use is simply not accepted anywhere within the EU. After the Paradise Papers were revealed, the EU Commission promptly stated that such misuse would simply not be accepted. A Dutch judgment has also recently confirmed this position. The judgment will influence other EU member states as the Netherlands has normally been known as an ‘accommodating’ jurisdiction, but with this judgment, they have raised the bar. In 2021, we have not been able to locate one single EU member state where the VAT authorities are willing to rubber-stamp any ‘unpaid’ private use as described under the term predominately used for business. However, this does not mean that the mentioned term is not being promoted, so please be cautious.
Please, have a look at the Short & Sweet mail no. 1 – Flying with the CEO.
What is the general definition of business use?
This is typically activities such as:
– Any business travel in furtherance of the corporation’s affairs
– Flying with the management and staff to support the economic activities of the corporation
What is the general definition of private use?
This is typically activities such as:
– Entertainment of clients
– Staff commuting
– Hobby activities of shareholders, principal, management, etc.
– Any personal, recreational, or amusement travel
– Any travel in furtherance of another business than the importing entity’s affairs
Legal background – learn more
The description is based on the Union Customs Code (UCC) and various EU working papers and directives. The usage of both the TA and FI procedure includes limitations that must be handled correctly and situations that must be avoided. Please, visit our webpage, opmas.dk, to learn more or contact us directly.
How can we help?
If you have questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a cost-free introduction and analysis of the owner, user, and operator scenario to find the best option for you when flying within the EU. Please, feel free to contact us at any time.
List of all OPMAS
Short & Sweet mails:
No. 16 – Which customs procedures can be used for parking an aircraft within the EU?
Jan 2023 TA FI
No. 15 – Liability and risk elements associated with EU importation and admission
Oct 2022 TA FI
No. 14 – Temporary Admission is easy and flexible if you know how to use it
Aug 2022 TA
No. 13 – Importation impacts when traveling the world in corporate aircraft
Jun 2022 FI
No. 12 – How to get the 0% airline VAT exemption meant for commercial operators
May 2022 FI
No. 11 – Part 2: what to do when arriving in the EU using the Temporary Admission procedure?
Mar 2022 TA
No. 10 – How to handle aircraft maintenance correct in a customs context
Feb 2022 TA FI
No. 9 – Part 1: what to do when arriving in the EU using the Temporary Admission procedure?
Dec 2021 TA
No. 8 – Do not fall into the operator trap when flying within the EU and UK
Oct 2021 TA FI
No. 7 – Which offshore aircraft registrations can be used with Temporary Admissions when flying within the EU and UK?
Sep 2021 TA
No. 6 – Flying with EU-resident persons onboard when using Temporary Admission
Aug 2021 TA
No. 5 – What about private use
of corporate aircraft?
May 2021 TA FI
No. 4 – What does ‘VAT paid’ mean?
Mar 2021 FI
No. 3 – Is a full importation needed
in both the UK and the EU27?
Mar 2021 FI
No. 2 – Flying commercially
within the EU
Feb 2021 TA FI
No. 1 – Flying with the
CEO within the EU
Nov 2020 TA FI