Families face £250 hidden tax bill before flying abroad

Families going abroad this summer will pay up to £250 in “hidden” taxes to the government as a result of air passenger duties and VAT on holiday purchases.

Research into the hidden costs of a family holiday reveals that tourists will pay an average of £61.12 to the taxman this year. This will generate £2.4 billion for the Treasury — £900 million more than eight years ago.

The research, carried out by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, found that a family of four travelling to Spain this summer will face an average bill of £133.20 on their flights and holiday purchases. A family of four travelling to Florida would pay £253.20 in tax.

Air passenger duty (APD) was introduced in 1994 at £5 for short-haul flights and £10 for long-haul flights. The charges are now £13 and £73, although from March children have been exempt.

The alliance said that most tourists would also pay £7 in travel insurance premium tax and up to £100 in VAT on goods bought before travelling. “Taxpayers have every right to be angry that the taxman chases them all the way to the departure gate,” Jonathan Isaby, the chief executive, said.

“Not only is APD too high, it hits those on the lowest incomes the hardest.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “Air passenger duty has been frozen for most passengers since 2012. 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.”