Unless you hang your hat in Delaware or New Hampshire or live in one of the few countries that don’t assess sales tax, you probably hand money to the government almost every time you buy something. In many U.S. states, the levy on purchases runs 5 to 7 percent or more and, with local surtaxes, you can wind up paying as much as 15.5 percent on most purchases.
Wisconsin MROs have once again been foiled in their attempt to get the state legislature to exempt private aircraft maintenance and modification from the 5.5-percent state sales tax. While the tax does not apply to aircraft operated under Part 121 or 135 certificates, it does apply to those operating under Part 91.
Operators of Bombardier jets are dismayed because they now have to pay state sales taxes on parts purchased through Bombardier’s Smart Parts program. Several operators who spoke to AIN on condition of anonymity said one of the primary reasons they participate in Smart Parts is to control and budget annual operating costs. “This adds a new dimension to overhead we didn’t budget for 2010,” one said.
Although some operators expressed concern because Bombardier has begun charging sales tax for parts covered under its Smart Parts program, this is a fairly normal requirement, according to tax expert Nel Stubbs, vice president of Conklin & de Decker. “If an aircraft is based in a state that has a sales/use tax,” she explained, “and the part is brought into that state and installed on an aircraft, that state’s tax rules apply.
The Ohio General Assembly has included an amendment to a recently enacted sales and use tax exemption for aircraft maintenance and repair transactions done at an FAA Part 145 repair station.
Conklin & de Decker last month released the 2008 State Tax Guide for General Aviation. The guide contains the latest taxes and fees for all 50 states, as well as sales and use tax applicable to aircraft sales, ownership, lease, parts and labor.
As of July 1, the state of Indiana can no longer impose a use tax on the value of aircraft temporarily located in the state for refurbishment, maintenance and overhauls.
California has amended its aircraft sales and use tax law, essentially closing a loophole that allowed buyers of aircraft and other big-ticket items to escape paying sales taxes.
The New York State Assembly didn’t follow the Senate’s lead and pass legislation that would exempt Part 91 aircraft from sales and use taxes. The bill’s sponsors said they intend to reintroduce the measure early this year. “This bill would make New York competitive with other [nearby] states that already exempt sales taxes related to aviation activities,” Sen. Bill Larkin (R-39th District) said.
New York’s state Senate last week passed legislation (S.3655) sponsored by Sen. Bill Larkin (R-39th District) to provide a sales and use tax exemption on general aviation airplanes to be operated under Part 91 and purchased in the state. The exemption, if passed by the state Assembly and signed by the governor, would take effect on December 1.
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