February 10, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Florida’s tax on recently purchased out-of-state aircraft continues to drive AOPA efforts in the state’s legislature. On Feb. 4, AOPA Manager of State Legislative Affairs Mark Kimberling and AOPA Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes met with Florida State Rep. Ralph Poppell on the issue. Poppell’s new bill—H.B.51—follows up on last year’s attempt at rejecting the out-of-state tax that passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
Current law allows for the taxation of new (i.e., purchased within the six months prior to a visit) aircraft brought into Florida. The taxes can amount to six percent of the aircraft’s sales price. Consequently, many pilots and aircraft owners have avoided flying to Florida, depriving the state of vital economic activity.
Poppell said, “House Bill 51 is designed to not only stop the abuse to owners of recently purchased out-of-state aircraft, but also to make Florida more competitive on sales tax so that we can once again be the aviation-friendly state we used to be…. This bill will allow aircraft owners, who purchased their aircraft outside the state, to travel to Florida without worry for 21 days, and an unlimited time if it is for training or maintenance during the first six months of ownership. After six months, there are no restrictions.”
In support of this bill, AOPA is asking members everywhere to send us an e-mail about how these taxes have impacted them or their businesses—or how they have avoided Florida because of the tax. In addition, how much would have been spent on tourism, business, and maintenance if tax-free trips were permitted? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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