August 6, 2007
Out-of-state general aviation aircraft owners are being unfairly singled out in Maine, AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote to Gov. John Baldacci this week.
The Maine Revenue Service is tracking IFR flight plans, collecting the N numbers, searching the FAA's aircraft registry database, and billing owners for five percent of the aircraft's value if they purchased the aircraft in a state without sales tax. It is intended as a deterrent for Maine residents who might buy their aircraft in another state, but it is adversely affecting pilots from many areas.
Under a new state law, effective January 1, 2007, certain aircraft are exempt from the tax. But the law still imposes the use tax on smaller private piston aircraft that weigh less than 6,000 pounds and spend relatively little time in Maine. AOPA believes this unfairly singles out light GA operators who like to frequent the state.
"Maine's law and tax collection policies are unreasonably penalizing nonresident owners of aircraft purchased for visiting your state," Boyer wrote. "This not only transgresses on the spirit of the new law, but we believe is inimical to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and federal protection of interstate air travel.... As governor, we call upon you to check the excesses of your state's tax collectors, and cease their discriminatory enforcement efforts."
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