by Michael J. Shapiro | July 27, 2011

 Because the U.S. Congress failed to authorize the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget by midnight last Friday, July 22, FAA employees are not getting paid and the government cannot collect federal taxes on air travel. The latter point could lead to some budgeting and accounting issues down the road, warned the American Society of Travel Agents and the Business Travel Coalition. “Until details are announced, ASTA and BTC are recommending that their members begin thinking about how they will track tickets that might be eligible for a tax refund,” said BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell. “This would include tickets issued prior to the ticket expiration date for travel during the expired period. Until the taxes are reinstated, the ‘expired period’ will remain a moving target.” Of additional concern are taxes that could be added to reissued tickets that were initially purchased during this tax-free period. According to the two organizations, the 7.5 percent airline tax (including the levy on the sale of frequent-flyer miles), $3.70 per-segment fee, $16.30 international arrival/departure tax, and $8.20 departure tax for flights between Alaska or Hawaii and the mainland could account for about $25 million per day for the federal government. Thus far, airlines appear to be raising fares to account for the tax difference, keeping costs relatively steady for travel buyers while increasing their own revenue.