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Virginia tax bill falls short

Small businesses, aircraft, excluded from sales tax exemption

Editor's note: This story was updated March 25 to correct information about aircraft subject to Virginia's sales tax. AOPA regrets the error.

A long-awaited bill to uphold Virginia’s sales tax exemption for aircraft maintenance was signed into law on March 3, but final concessions excluded many small businesses and aircraft owners from reaping its benefits.

During the 2022 legislative session, AOPA and the Virginia Aviation Business Association (VABA) worked to extend the state’s 2017 sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and components—which would lower costs for pilots, stimulate competition, and boost the local economy.

And while Virginia House Bill is a necessary and welcome extension for many stakeholders, the amended language excluded aircraft weighing less than 2,400 pounds—meaning Cessna 150s, Cessna 172s, and all light sport aircraft would be cut out.

AOPA was a key component in getting the bill passed in 2017, working to educate lawmakers on the incentives the tax exemption would bring to the state. Since it was enacted, the exemption has allowed Virginia-based aviation business to compete with neighboring states that offer similar incentives such as Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

But since the legislation amended language to include a weight limit, many owners of small aircraft and businesses in rural communities will be at a competitive disadvantage.

“Extending the sales tax exemption will benefit many larger GA aircraft owners and businesses in the state; however, we are disappointed that the same incentives weren’t afforded to training aircraft and smaller mom and pop repair facilities and flight schools,” said AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins. “AOPA will continue to educate lawmakers on this important component of the industry and the value it brings to Virginia’s economy with the goal of removing the weight limit in the next legislative session.”

Amelia Walsh

Communications and Research Specialist
AOPA Comms and Research Specialist Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she's a private pilot working on her instrument rating in a Colombia 350.
Topics: Advocacy, State Legislation, Taxes

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