It is often taken for granted that the cross-border movement of aircraft and other aviation assets can occur without import taxes arising. Although this is often the case, it is not an inevitability, and a variety of factors need to be considered before deciding on the most appropriate import or export arrangement. And that is before the customs formalities and documentation requirements are addressed. With over 60% of the world’s leased aircraft being managed from Ireland, tax personnel in the sector often grapple, directly or indirectly, with the onerous requirements of moving products across customs borders and of having to satisfy themselves regarding the customs status of a particular asset. The assumption that leasing companies never act as importer or exporter is not always accurate, and when such scenarios arise, they can prove challenging. Customs issues can often be triggered due to the lifecycle of an aircraft, associated leasing arrangements and the wider geopolitical landscape.
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