Mike Premo, president and CEO of ARC, responded to a letter from ARTA Vice Chairman John Faulds reporting that ARC cannot issue excise tax refunds as ARTA requested. ARTA asked ARC to process refunds for passengers who bought taxed tickets following the FAA’s partial shutdown last week.
“ARC’s processing, as well as associated processes of the carriers and the GDSs, are coupon-based. As a result, ARC cannot process and agents cannot issue tax only refunds where the passenger intends to fly or has flown on the airline ticket. In the limited scenario where the passenger does not intend to fly, ARC would have some very limited ability to handle this type of operation.”
ARTA asked ARC to process refunds transactions via the Area Settlement Plan, ARC uses to process airline tickets for the carriers. ARTA said its members are being repeatedly asked by travelers to provide these refunds as consumers perceive the travel agent as the "collector" of these taxes, even though the collector is actually the airline. Premo said ARC would check with the carriers to see if there was interest in ARTA’s suggestion but cited the Air Transport Associations (ATA) policy preference for government processing of refunds.