The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has agreed to suspend possible tax assessments against aircraft management companies now undergoing federal excise tax (FET) audits.
Internal Revenue Service
On March 26 an NBAA and NATA working group met with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials to discuss the Federal Excise Tax (FET) issue. IRS auditors are applying the FET to management fees and expenses paid by Part 91 (non-commercial) operators to management companies.
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.
Owners and operators of business aircraft were disappointed last month when the IRS issued final regulations disallowing certain deductions for “entertainment” use of company aircraft.
The provisions were originally contained in the “American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.”
Under the new rules, the difference between the actual cost of personal entertainment flights provided for “specified individuals” and the amount included as income for the individual is disallowed as a deduction to the corporation.
After five years in proposed form, the IRS issued its final rule today disallowing tax deductions for “entertainment” (non-business) use of business aircraft. The rules apply whether the company owns, leases or charters the aircraft.
The U.S government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is auditing aircraft management firms and trying to impose the federal excise tax (FET) on fees charged by the firms to aircraft owners. According to industry sources, IRS agents are targeting major charter/management firms, although the firms allegedly being audited didn’t wish to speak to AIN about their experience with the IRS.
Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.) sent a letter early last week to Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, asking for clarification of Congress’s intent on applying the Federal Excise Tax (FET) to managed aircraft.
Since business aviation operators are increasingly turning to independent contractors to contain costs and do more while conserving resources, NBAA has published a guide aimed at helping flight operators to properly classify these workers as either employees or independent contractors. “If a worker is classified incorrectly, there are significant tax, liability and legal risks for the employer,” NBAA said.
The release of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) memo on March 9 outlining guidance on how to apply the federal excise tax (FET) to fees paid to aircraft management companies adds to business aviation’s burden at a time when the industry continues to suffer from weak demand, high fuel prices and public criticism of this form of travel. This memo isn’t the first time the IRS has attempted to apply the 7.5-percent FET to non-commercial Part 91 flight operations.