For years, Florida has levied a six-percent tax on the sales price of certain visiting general aviation aircraft. The tax affects pilots who bring aircraft to Florida within six months of purchase, and can be especially onerous if the aircraft was registered in a state without aircraft sales taxes—or sales taxes less than Florida’s six-percent. In the later case, pilots are required to pay the difference between the tax in their home state and the Florida tax.
AOPA worked hard to overturn the tax in the last Florida legislative session. But proposals were rejected. Now, three bills have been introduced in the legislature to try to overturn or ease aviation taxes. AOPA is supporting H.B.51, introduced by Rep. Ralph Poppell (an AOPA member), and S.B.300, introduced by Sen. Stephen Wise. These bills, if passed, would exempt visiting out-of-state aircraft from the tax. Another bill, H.B.469, would limit sales tax on airplanes to $25,000 within the state. That bill was introduced by Rep. Tom Grady.
AOPA will continue to work for these bills’ passage with Poppell, Wise, and Grady in the new legislative session, which begins on March 3. Apart from the excessive nature of the tax, AOPA will also be emphasizing the adverse effects it has on Florida’s economy.
For example, here’s what Mike Thompson, chairman of the Sport Air Racing League, has to say: “Every year we talk about racing in Florida, and every year we learn that their state legislature refuses to modify their laws to protect short-term visitors. As a result, we take our considerable dollars to other states which are more aviation-friendly.”
In the meantime, members beware: That six-percent tax is still out there.