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Wed, Apr 30, 2008

Florida House Of Representatives Passes GA Tax Exemption

Would Limit Use Tax Exposure For New Owners Visiting State

For many years, non-resident new aircraft owners have been restricted during the first six months of ownership from visiting Florida. ANN has reported extensively on this issue, including on the potential ramifications for such owners attending events held in the state.

This may soon change, however... and not a moment too soon. Newly-passed legislation would allow aircraft to be in Florida for a total of 21 days, plus up to 20 days for maintenance. It would also exempts new aircraft owners who come to Florida for flight training during this timeframe, according to the Florida Aviation Trades Association.

House Bill 1379 will now move to the Senate, where it must be considered and approved before it is presented to the Governor.

FATA met with representatives of the Florida Department of Revenue last fall to discuss the inequities of the statute. At that time, FATA began to develop a plan to have the current language changed so non-residents of Florida who wanted to vacation, do flight training or attend an event in Florida, can do so without fear of receiving a tax bill when they return to home where the aircraft is based.

Documentation will be required by the state. Acceptable documentation will include fuel, tie-down, or hangar receipts that prove the aircraft is not based in Florida.

Representative Ralph Poppell, (R-29) introduced the bill. Rep. Poppell is a pilot and has owned several aircraft. He knows the value of aviation to Florida and to restrict activity was keeping dollars out of Florida.

"FATA is supportive of bills such as House Bill HB 1379," said FATA President Michael Slingluff. "It is a net gain for Florida revenues. Lifting the entry barriers to our state will spur activity at Florida’s airports and tourism industry. Increased activity creates tax revenue for the state.

"Representative Poppell’s efforts and that of other legislators are to be commended as they understand that creating and promoting business activity increases tax revenues for all of us. More work needs to done to change state tax regulations that impose barriers to our state’s businesses," Slingluff added.

E-I-C Note: This is a ponderous issue that ANN has covered extensively for well over a year... and one for which we were attacked by ranking officials from the Sun 'n Fun organization, who attempted to assert that our reporting was false -- in an apparent attempt to stave off concerns about attending the event by owners of aircraft that might be adversely affected by the Florida program.

SnF President John Burton specifically stated that, "Sun 'n Fun has recently been made aware of media reports of a 'Florida Tax Ripoff' and the impact this may have on the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, which opens Tuesday, April 8, and runs through Sunday, April 13. The reports erroneously describe 'non (Florida)-resident pilots who have been caught in the FL tax trap' and who have been "targeted for 'use tax' by agents of the state's Department of Revenue . . . despite the fact that the targeted aircraft were not owned or operated by state residents. This is inaccurate and misleading."

Burton further stated that, "...It DOES NOT impact aircraft owners who have purchased an airplane within the past six months and have it titled, registered or licensed in another state (other than Florida)."

Since the House has voted positively (and courageously, we might add) on an issue that SnF attempted to assert did not exist, we continue to demand that SnF's John Burton have the integrity to retract and apologize for his false and misleading statements on this issue. However; since SnF's track record for misleading and self-serving misdirection is "significant," we're not going to hold our breath.

Regardless; congrats and kudos to the FATA, AOPA, EAA and other organizations for the magnificent effort which got us all this far. -- Jim Campbell, ANN Editor-In-Chief.

FMI: www.fata.aero

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