How to make VAT savings

 - November 29, 2006, 6:26 AM

If you buy, sell or operate aircraft in Europe and have been liable to EU value added tax (VAT), a chat with Lasse Rungholm could help you to save lots of money. You will find Rungholm by a beautifully maintained Beech 18 on the ramp, which OPM Aviation Services (OPMAS) acquired a month ago and flew here from its Aarhus, Denmark headquarters to publicize the company.

Opmas EU VAT exhibited at EBACE last year but concluded that a shiny vintage aircraft would attract more attention than a booth. A former commercial pilot, Rungholm grew tired of being a “bus driver,” he said, and trained to become a VAT consultant to save fellow aviators money.

He said that individuals cannot reclaim VAT, but some companies that can fail to reclaim all of the tax paid and other aircraft owners outside the European Union are often baffled by the complexities of VAT documentation. The EU’s 6th VAT directive is a complex set of rules involving 25 different member states’ national legislation, but if the rules are applied correctly, the single-market approach can be beneficial to most people, he said.

However, Rungholm warned that if an aircraft’s purchase or sale is handled incorrectly the airplane could be impounded. So Opmas is here to promote its experience in handling both second-hand and factory-new aircraft while saving customers big bucks.

Swiss VAT Change To Benefit Bizav

Meanwhile, here in Switzerland, a five-year tax problem is nearing resolution. Hitherto, foreign-owned and -operated business aircraft managed by Swiss-owned companies, such as Jet Aviation (Booth No. 780), have been liable to Swiss VAT, and, consequently, many have switched to business aviation management companies outside Switzerland to avoid this tax.

Now following years of negotiation with the Swiss tax authorities, Jet Aviation said it expects that a VAT law will remove this anomaly starting July 1, thus helping it and other Swiss aviation-service companies to regain their competitiveness in the international market.