Travelers who paid all federal airline taxes when they bought tickets on or before July 22, 2011, for travel beginning on or after July 23, 2011, now might get a refund since the taxes have expired. The refunds are due after Congress failed to pass legislation funding the Federal Aviation Administration and stopped collecting taxes that expired at midnight Friday. Until things are resolved, airlines can’t collect the taxes on tickets sold after July 23, and the government isn’t authorized to collect the taxes on tickets sold before that time if people who bought those tickets travel during the shutdown period.
The IRS is asking airlines to handle the refund process, but they aren’t required to, and most are directing customers directly to the IRS, which says it is still working on a procedure for handling refunds. Jetblue is the only major airline accepting requests for ticket tax refunds.
In the meantime, CBS News reported that instead of passing the tax savings (on new ticket purchases) onto the consumer in the form of lower ticket prices, most airlines have raised their fees to make up the difference. Only Alaska, Hawaiian, and Spirit Airlines seem to be sticking to their normal pricing.
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