AOPA Italy reverses government luxury tax on private aircraft

May 2, 2012

The Italian Senate and House have passed a measure that repealed a luxury tax on aircraft owners or operators of private aircraft who spend more than 48 hours in the country. Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, signed the measure, making it official.

The previous law allowed private aircraft to stay in Italy for no more than 45 consecutive days before charging the tax. But the Italian government, plagued by rising debt and austerity measures imposed by the European Union, decided to implement a number of new taxes on items including houses, gasoline, luxury cars, boats, and aviation, said AOPA Italy Director Massimo Levi. “The government was trying to go after the private property of Italian citizens who they thought was registering aircraft abroad to avoid paying taxes.”

The tax was a problem for pilots worldwide, not just Italians, said Levi. “Just think: A Piper PA-28 Cherokee owner being charged with a new luxury tax of US $4,000, a Cessna 172 owner being charged US $3,700 or a Robinson 44 helicopter being charged US $8.000,” he observed.  “It canceled in an instant all tourism and business. It also sent away all foreigners who were taking their aircraft, mostly helicopters, to Italy for maintenance operations.”

AOPA Italy worked with a team to get this legislative change, including Italy’s president, the presidents of the country’s historical aircraft association and Aero Club, an Italian senator with contacts in the pilot community, and the National Business Aviation Association, said Levi.

“I am happy that by working with those who want to protect general aviation in Italy, we were able to get the government to change its mind about imposing taxes that would have been detrimental to an industry that brings so much to our country,” said Levi.