Tax laws that affect business aircraft owners are constantly changing, and a new law this year makes the process of complying with these tax laws even more complex. Dean Sonderegger, director of product management at Bloomberg BNA Software, explained the new law and how his company’s software helps owners keep track of tax implications to ensure that they meet the legal requirements and don’t pay more tax than is necessary.
Income tax in the United States
On May 2, NBAA is holding its one-day Business Aviation Tax Seminar at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. The seminar begins at 8 a.m. Among the subjects to be covered are two key tax issues for business aircraft operators: the application of the federal excise tax (FET) to managed aircraft flying under Part 91; and “Federal Audit Traps and Solutions for Aircraft Leasing Structures.”
NBAA has issued a new resource about the net investment income tax (NIIT), having now fully reviewed the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS regulations on this tax, which was enacted as part of the 2010 healthcare overhaul. Beginning this year, the law imposes a 3.8-percent tax on the investment income of certain individuals, and it will affect many common airplane leasing arrangements, NBAA said.
With the growing complexity of myriad federal, state and local taxes and fees, and the increasing intensity with which they are enforced, there was plenty to discuss at the Commercial Operators Tax (COT) seminar, held September 7 and 8 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Co-sponsored by Conklin & de Decker and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the event attracted business aircraft owners, operators and management companies.
“The FAA, and the IRS…they really don’t think alike,” began tax attorney Gary Garofalo, first speaker at the NBAA Federal Aviation Tax Forum in Arlington, Va., on May 7. Some 80 specialists, accountants and financial officers attended the most advanced forum the NBAA tax committee has held on aircraft taxation.
A letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can cause any taxpayer’s heart to skip a beat. For aircraft operators, whose main focus of government compliance is the FAA, it can be easy to overlook the many nuances of the federal and state tax codes to ensure all taxes are being paid.
At press time, the Internal Revenue Service had yet to officially publish IRS Notice 2005-45, Deductions for Entertainment Use of Business Aircraft. This notice is intended to provide aircraft operators guidance on revised rules for computing the deductible amount of expenses for personal use of a corporate aircraft.
The 2004 American Jobs Creation Act could have entirely the opposite effect on business aviation due to an “overreaching” IRS interpretation that’s causing many companies to reconsider their corporate aircraft use.
Some flight departments employ independent contractors as a way to keep their costs in check. However, with the IRS taking a new interest in the “independent contractor classification,” companies might want to take a closer look at this plan and its tax and liability implications.