Tax Navigation When Buying An Aircraft

Tax Strategy

As you may know, most states charge sales tax on the purchase of tangible property, including aircraft. Ordinarily the seller is required to collect and remit sales tax to the taxing authority. So, one of the first tax issues an aircraft buyer must address is whether the state in which the buyer intends to take delivery of the aircraft has any applicable exemptions from that state’s sales tax. In the absence of an exemption, sales tax would otherwise be due on the purchase/sale with either the seller collecting and remitting the sales tax or the buyer paying the sales tax directly. And since a seller does not want to be responsible for the sales tax, the seller will require the buyer to provide satisfactory proof of an applicable exemption, usually in the form of a signed exemption certificate.

Although taxes are a fact of life, in aircraft transactions they can be a very significant fact when a buyer is spending millions of dollars on an aircraft. Aircraft buyers need to analyze their situations to identify the strategies and exemptions that may allow them to minimize or avoid assessment of tax on their aircraft acquisitions. Buyers should also work with their aviation and tax counsel to properly structure their transactions in a way that accomplishes their goals and complies with applicable laws and regulations.

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