Air passengers who bought plane tickets before the airlines had to stop collecting U.S. ticket taxes, for travel on or after July 23, may be entitled to a refund of tax paid.
The Internal Revenue Service, in a notice posted today on its website, said it has asked the airlines to repay eligible customers who request refunds. Those who don’t receive one from the airlines can submit claims to the IRS under procedures being developed, according to the statement.
The airlines suspended collection of the taxes when the Federal Aviation Administration’s taxing authority expired at midnight July 22, after Congress failed to extend the agency’s funding.
“We agree that passengers are entitled to a refund based on precedent and case law from previous tax lapses,” Steve Lott, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, the airlines’ Washington-based trade association.
“But we are puzzled by the IRS guidance on how to most efficiently get the refund. We believe it’s the IRS’s responsibility because ultimately it’s the Treasury that has the tax money, not the airlines,” Lott said in a phone interview.
IRS spokesman Anthony Burke didn’t immediately provide comment on the notice.
United, JetBlue, Southwest
United Continental Holdings Inc., the world’s largest carrier, is referring customers who call or write seeking a tax refund to the IRS so the agency can handle the matter, said Mike Trevino, a spokesman for the Chicago-based carrier. He didn’t know how many passengers have requested a tax refund.
“At this point, we are recommending passengers contact the IRS for a refund, since the tax funds are allocated to the IRS at the time of purchase, not travel,” said Brandy King, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co.
JetBlue Airways Corp. posted a note on its website telling passengers it would provide refunds upon e-mail request for people traveling within the next seven days. It advised customers to check back later if they are traveling after the seven-day period.
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