Is Pilot Salary Tax-Free?

No, a pilot’s salary is not tax-free. However, the fees for learning to become a pilot often are. But, if you want to complete your pilot training completely tax-free then you will have to be very careful with the fine print.

This is because a lot of flight training is categorized as personal and if this is the case, you will not be able to get a tax deduction for your expenses. The only way to get a tax deduction for your expenses is if they are purely trade or business related, so how do you do this?

If your flight training helps you (a) meet the minimum educational requirements for that trade or business, or (b) be part of a program of study that will qualify you for a new trade or business, then it will not be tax-deductible.

This is why you have to be very careful when reporting this training, as if you pay for this training yourself then it will not be deducted from your taxes.

The only way to get your flight training to be tax-free is if your flight company were to incur the costs for this training, as they have the ability to take tax deductions for work-related education. 

Do pilots pay income tax?

Yes, pilots do pay income tax. But there are some situations in which companies will use loopholes to reduce the amount of income tax that pilots pay. This is mainly done to cover the huge costs that are required to train to become a pilot.

In order to cover the high costs of training, some companies will pay pilots a lower salary figure until they have paid off the costs. This might seem like a bit of a backward step, but a lower salary means lower taxes as the pilot can only be taxed on the pay that they are entitled to receive. 

Once flight training costs have been paid off, then almost all pilots will pay income tax. There are some exemptions to this rule in some countries, and there have been times when employers have covered these costs in order to encourage pilots to join their company.

However, generally speaking pilots, like everybody else who is actively employed in the USA, will pay income tax on their salary and any bonuses that they receive from the company that they work for.

Are pilots paid hourly or salary? 

In most cases, pilots are paid hourly so that they are directly covered for the specific amount of flight hours that they complete.

However, as a lot of flights are pre-scheduled most pilots will know how many hours they will be expected to work per month, and they will be able to work out their annual salary from that.

However, it is important to remember that pilots are only paid for flight hours, so this does not involve time spent in the cockpit or pre-flight planning. Essentially, pilots are not paid for anything other than the time that they are in the air. 

So in a lot of cases, pilots are paid hourly. These hours only include flight hours, and for this reason, they will usually be paid for about 85 hours a month. There is a limit to the amount of hours that a pilot can fly, but as long as a pilot is under their hours then they can pick up additional flights which will impact the amount that they are paid.

But generally speaking, a pilot will expect to be paid hourly for approximately 85 hours per month by their employer. 

Who is the highest paid pilot?

Of course, there will be a pilot somewhere in the world who is paid the highest, but we will never know who this is. Instead, we can only look at how much pilots are paid by company or by area in order to figure out where those who are the highest paid are. 

Being a pilot is definitely a well-paid job, however there are some common misconceptions about how much they make a year. A lot of people believe that pilots make more than $300,000 a year, but generally they do not.

There are some cases where pilots do earn this amount of money, but these are only really pilots who fly private jets for the mega-rich, so they are generally few and far between. 

From an area perspective, in the USA, the highest paid pilots can be found in California where the average pilot’s salary is $208,000. These are followed by Illinois pilots who are paid $194,000 on average.

Then in terms of airlines, Delta is one of the best companies to work for as they pay their captains roughly $205,000 per annum. So it is likely that the highest paid pilot in the world is operating in one of these areas.