A one-year extension of the accelerated bonus depreciation for general aviation aircraft purchases was included in S.1637, the Jumpstart Our Business Strength (Jobs) Act, which the Senate passed by an overwhelming 92-5 vote last month. The next step is for the House of Representatives to pass similar legislation.
The Danish government is preparing to impose a 25-percent value-added tax (VAT) on imported aircraft to close a loophole that has allowed owners to bypass taxes due in other European Union countries. Aircraft imported for “personal transportation” are currently zero-rated for VAT purposes in Denmark, and this has exempted just about all aircraft applications apart from gliders and other forms of recreational flying.
General aviation late last week won a major battle, but not yet the entire war, against user fees. The House of Representatives last Thursday approved H.R.2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, and the next morning the Senate Finance Committee drastically modified the tax provisions in its companion bill, S.1300.
With Congress out of town for its “summer district work period,” there was little action on the FAA’s reauthorization bill, and the nagging question of how to fund the agency for the next four years hung over the legislature as the September 30 deadline loomed.
Lawmakers departed early last month for a 25-day hiatus, but the rhetoric between the nation’s airlines and general aviation over user fees continued apace.
With stark differences between House and Senate versions of FAA reauthorization bills working their way through Congress, some industry and congressional insiders see little chance of an agreement before September 30, the day when current taxes and fees that support the FAA expire.
The Senate last week passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (the “Highway Bill”), which authorizes surface transportation spending through fiscal year 2009. The legislation includes two provisions that could affect business aviation if signed into law, according to NBAA.
The House Transportation Committee’s attempt at an FAA reauthorization and funding bill has received praise and backing from general aviation interests, but they warn that the fight for passage without user fees is far from over.
Despite heavy lobbying by general aviation groups, a promising effort to have the concept of user fees for ATC services stricken from the Senate’s version of an FAA reauthorization bill failed narrowly in mid-May by a 12-11 vote.
Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, and ranking member Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) are expected to introduce an FAA reauthorization bill this week to counter one the Bush Administration released in February.
NBAA and the National Air Transportation Association are creating a joint working group to address the fuel tax provisions of the Highway Bill that was signed by the President earlier this month. “Of particular concern is that taxes on jet fuel will be assessed at the diesel fuel rate [24.4 cents per gallon instead of the 21.9-cent per-gallon jet fuel rate] and deposited into the Highway Trust Fund,” NBAA said.