Holiday shopping VAT adds £62 to travellers' bills - research


Families jetting off on their summer holiday could be paying out nearly £62 a head extra on their break because of taxes on the must-buy items they want for their trip, according to new figures.

VAT on holiday shopping for items such as sun cream, sunglasses and swimming shorts and the cost of Insurance Premium Tax and Air Passenger Duty comes to more than £2.4 billion, according to research from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA).

It estimates that the average UK holidaymaker will be hit with a £61.12 tax bill and that a family of four travelling to Spain with two children under 16 will face an average bill of £133.20 on their flights and holiday purchases.

A similar family of four travelling to Florida from the UK will be hit with a £253.20 tax bill, the TPA said.

TPA chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: "Families across the UK work hard and save every year so they can enjoy a week away in the sun. So hard-pressed taxpayers have every right to be angry that the taxman chases them all the way to the departure gate to squeeze that little bit extra from their budgets."

Air Passenger Duty (APD) was introduced in 1994 on many flights leaving Britain.

APD on economy flights for children under 12 was abolished in May 2015 and for under 16-year-olds in March 2016.

APD rates increased in line with inflation on April 1 this year and the RPI uprating will continue in 2017. The future rates are shown alongside the current ones.

Mr Isaby said: "Not only is APD too high, it hits those on the lowest incomes the hardest, making it more difficult for hard-working people to get a well deserved break."

British Air Transport Association chief executive Tim Alderslade described APD as "a departure tax on the hard-pressed British traveller", saying it was "the highest levy of its kind in Europe - by a long way". 

A Treasury spokesman said: "Air Passenger Duty has been frozen for most passengers since 2012. Alongside this, children under 16 are now exempt from paying APD and the cost of flying to many long-haul destinations has been cut. This means that a family of four will save up to £242 on the price of their tickets."