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Help for pilots

PPS legal benefits can save your day

The AOPA Pilot Protection Services legal plan is one of the best values in general aviation.

With AOPA’s legal services plan, a network of hundreds of general aviation attorneys is on your team to help navigate topics that span from routine aircraft purchase agreements and lease documents to legal representation during tax matters and enforcement actions.

AOPA membership with PPS Basic coverage ($149 per year) includes guidance during aircraft purchases, title searches, and sales agreements; hangar/tie-down, aircraft rental, and aircraft leaseback reviews; pilot deviations, aviation accidents, FAA enforcement actions, and federal air regulation interpretations; and tax matters. AOPA membership with PPS Plus coverage ($189 per year) affords members additional consulting time and expanded legal representation. With typical attorney fees billed at hourly rates between $100 and $400, both qualify as bona fide bargains—should you ever need it. AOPA PPS legal services staff have assisted members with more than 5,000 aviation-related matters during the previous 12 months.

Webinars, newsletters, and additional communication channels provide AOPA PPS members with advice. Call 800-872-2672 and ask an AOPA member services specialist to enhance your flying benefits today.

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PPS came through in a pinch

I was an Atlanta pilot and an airplane owner with a growing family when finances became tighter, so I leased my 1968 Mooney M20C to a DeKalb-Peachtree Airport flight school. I was proactive with routine maintenance, and when the U.S. Department of the Treasury challenged thousands of dollars of itemized tax deductions for aircraft upkeep and depreciation, I turned to the AOPA Legal Services Plan.

I’d already consulted my certified public accountant and was assured the documents and aircraft expenses were reasonable based on his previous experience with other pilots. However, the IRS representative was not a pilot and didn’t understand the nuances of airplane ownership and of a pilot’s ongoing commitment to safety.

The IRS correspondence occurred several months after the original tax filing year, so I was worried about the additional tax implications for succeeding years, as well as protecting my aviation investment. A heavy-handed approach and demand letters of increasing severity made me feel insecure and vulnerable until I realized I had a safety net in the AOPA Pilot Protection Services plan that I joined in 2000.

One phone call to PPS legal counsel and a brief follow-up meeting with a participating plan attorney led to a more detailed legal consultation that could have otherwise cost me thousands of dollars.

The tax demands ceased immediately after an AOPA Pilot Protection Services attorney made a telephone call to the correct person at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

A few days later the IRS called, apologized, and said they were no longer pursuing the unwarranted claims. A confirmation letter that said I was in the clear arrived later and I filed it away for safekeeping. —DT

This testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.

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