Friday, March 21, 2008

Florida and its Use Tax Controversey...

Putting this everywhere UCAP listeners might go, so here goes...

A few moments ago a press release from Sun 'n Fun landed in my e-mail addressing aviation-media reports about a tax issue in Florida that could expose aircraft owners to thousands of dollars in taxes if they visited the state during their first six months of ownership but had not elsewhere paid taxes on the airplane an equivalent to the Florida tax.

Well, turns out the problem wasn't exactly as portrayed; it sounded credible, given what we know is happening in other states...but not in this case.

Here's the skinny straight from the Sun 'n Fun release; and a note: John Burton, Sn'F president, is someone I've known nearly two decades and dishonesty has never been one of his faults.

So, with no further ado...

March 21, 2008

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. Sun ’n Fun contacted the Florida Department of Revenue and received a definition of the regulation in question. Language within the Florida Tax Code quoted in the media reports clearly indicates this tax affects ONLY those owners who have:

Purchased their airplane in another state (outside of Florida) within the past six months but who have the aircraft titled, registered or licensed in Florida and have not paid Florida tax on that airplane.

This DOES NOT impact Sun ’n Fun Exhibitors who bring aircraft to Lakeland.

  • It DOES NOT impact aircraft owners whose airplane is more than six months old, which comprises a vast majority of aircraft being flown to Sun ’n Fun.
  • It DOES NOT impact aircraft owners who have owned their airplane more than six months and have it titled, registered or licensed in another state.
  • 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).
  • And it DOES NOT impact aircraft owners who have purchased their airplanes within the past six months in Florida and have paid the appropriate tax.

The bottom line is that the Florida Tax Code in question has the capacity to impact a minute number – if any – of the aircraft flying to Lakeland for Sun ’n Fun. More importantly, the Florida Department of Revenue has assured Sun ‘n Fun that there will not be any agents assigned to the Fly-In event conducting “ramp checks” and that out-of-state aircraft flying to Florida for Sun 'n Fun are not subject to the "sales/use" tax as long as the aircraft owner is not trying to avoid taxes owed because he/she is a Florida resident or operates a business in Florida and uses the aircraft for that purpose.

We look forward to seeing you at Sun ’n Fun!

John Burton
Sun ‘n Fun


So, if you had decided against attending Sun 'n Fun because of worries over this, well, now you can come and watch Jack, Jeb and me blather on during our two live podcasts -- after the opening-day air show on Tuesday, April 8, and at 10 a.m. on closing morning, April 13. We'll be on the porch of the Sun 'n Fun Radio station, where our musings will be broadcast live on the station's frequency, 1510 a.m....

Ya'll come by, no, ya'here??



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