BALPA is the professional association and registered trade union established to represent the interests of all UK pilots
Susan Ball
Partner of the Employers Advisory Group, Crowe Clark Whitehill
At Crowe Clark Whitehill, we provide employment tax support to BALPA and personal tax support BALPA members via the BALPA email helpline (
Our service ranges from assisting BALPA with the employment tax implications associated with certain industry-wide matters such as non-standard employment arrangements, responding to government consultations on proposed tax changes which may affect members, and responding to queries from BALPA members on personal tax queries associated with your employment. 
Via our ‘helpline’ email we regularly receive queries on the types of tax relief that pilots can claim and how to go about claiming these. There are a range of income tax reliefs which are potentially available to pilots. For some reliefs, it is possible to arrange for HMRC to include an amount in your tax code (i.e. so that your PAYE withholding is reduced accordingly).
For other reliefs, you may need to file additional forms and/or a tax return with HMRC in order to claim the relief.
The key reliefs and deductions include:
  • A flat rate fixed expense allowance (FREA) of £1,022 per annum for all uniformed commercial pilots and other unformed flight deck crew. The allowance was negotiated with HMRC by BALPA and represents an annual tax saving of £408 for higher rate taxpayers;
  •  £110 per annum for travel to and from medical examinations, flight simulator sessions, technical refreshers courses and other training. 
  • 67% of your annual BALPA subscription;
  • The cost of travel, subsistence and accommodation costs associated with working at a temporary workplace (e.g. where you are working away from your home base and the costs are not paid by your employer);
  • The cost of subsistence before or during a flight where these are not paid by your employer; and
  • Capital allowances for your noise-cancelling headset where this is not provided by your employer.
Further details on these tax reliefs, including what can be claimed and how to claim, can be found on pages 15-32 of the 2016 BALPA tax guide.
If you have any other routine tax related queries which are not included in the guide, please email with the details and we may be able to provide you some additional guidance.

Posted on 13 January 2017

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