Category: general aviation

Updated Florida Form to Report Sales and Use tax on Aircraft

Florida Introduces New Form to Report Sales and Use Tax on Aircraft

The Florida Department of Revenue (FL DOR) has updated its reporting form on the sale and use of aircraft in Florida. Form DR-15AIR (Sales and Use Tax Return for Aircraft) replaces Form DR-42A (Ownership Declaration and Sales and Use Tax Report on Aircraft). The new form provides explicit guidance on when to report taxes on the sale and use of aircraft in Florida.

When Form DR-15AIR Should be Used.

An individual should report sales and use tax on the purchase of aircraft when they don’t pay Florida’s sales tax to the seller. Form DR-15AIR clarifies the three (3) situations when an individual should instead pay a 6% “use” tax:

1.  An individual purchases an aircraft from a person who is not a registered aircraft dealer and the sale or delivery of the aircraft occurs in Florida;

2.  An individual purchases an aircraft in another state, territory of the United States, or District of Columbia and is brought into Florida within six months of the purchase date; or

3.  An individual purchases an aircraft in a foreign country and is brought into Florida at any time.

This use tax is in addition to any county discretionary sales surtax. The discretionary sales tax applies to the first $5,000 of the purchase price and rates vary by county.

When Sales and Use Tax is Due.

Florida Sales and Use Tax
. Taxes Not Included

Florida’s use tax is technically due when an individual brings an aircraft into Florida for use or storage. The corresponding tax returns and tax payments, however, are due only on the 1st day of the month after the actual month when:

1.  The airaft was purchased in Florida;

2.  The aircraft was delivered to a Florida location; or

3.  The aircraft enters Florida for use or storage.

The tax returns and tax payments are late if coming after the 20th in the month they are due. Late returns and payments are penalized a minimum of $50 or 10% of the amount due, whichever is less. Interest is dues on late payments as well.

Exceptions to Sales and Use Tax.

Exceptions to Florida’s sales and use tax on aircraft continue to apply, including:

1.  The value of an aircraft, boat, mobile home, or motor vehicle an individual trades in reduces the taxable purchase amount. The person accepting the trade in and selling the aircraft must be the same.

2.  An individual removes an aircraft purchased in Florida from the state within 10 days after the date of purchase, or 20 days after completion of repairs or alterations.

3.  A credit for taxes pad in another state, territory of the U.S., or Washington D.C. No credit is available for taxes paid in another country.

4.  An exemption from the tax for non-residents of Florida when their aircraft enter and remain in Florida for 20 days or less during the six-month period after aircraft purchase. This exemption also applies to non-resident owned aircraft that enter Florida for the purposes of flight training, repairs, alterations, refitting, or modification.

Ari Good, JD LLM, a tax, aviation and entertainment lawyer, is the Shareholder of Good Attorneys At Law, P.A. He graduated from the DePaul University College of Law in 1997 and received his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida.

Contact us toll free at (877) 771-1131 or by email to

IRS Suspends Aircraft Management Tax Assessments

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is suspending tax assessments applied to aircraft management companies during federal exercise tax (FET) audits while it develops additional guidance for auditing aircraft management operations.

The suspension is the result of government-industry collaboration since 2008, when the agency released an audit technique guide, and began assessing FET
on a wide variety of non-commercial flight operations. These assessments included FET on a “wide variety of non-commercial flight operations,” including flights
under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, according to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

IRS’ suspension of the audits comes following a meeting between the agency and NBAA, along with officials from the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) last week to discuss a possible suspension.

“Since 2008, NBAA has been diligently working with senior officials at the IRS to address significant industry concerns about the applicability of FET to management companies,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen. “Today’s announcement that IRS will suspend any potential assessments on these audits until the work to develop formal guidance is complete.”

The agency will still be completing open audits, though the aircraft management companies will not be subject to the tax assessments while the additional guidance is being developed. IRS is expected to release additional guidance for aircraft management companies in June.

By Woodrow Bellamy III

SIFL Rates Rise for the Fourth Consecutive Term

SIFL Rates
SIFL rates on the rise again.

SIFL rates are important numbers used to calculate the taxable income you receive when taking a personal flight on employer provided aircraft as a fringe benefit.  The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released new SIFL rates for the 1st half of 2013 and there was an increase of 3.33% overall.  This marks the fourth consecutive term that SIFL rates have significantly increased, with a total hike of over 17% since July of 2011.  The following table shows these new numbers:



SIFL Rates for 1st Half of 2013

Time Period of Flight 01/01/2013 – 06/30/2013
Miles: 0 – 500 –> .2655
Miles: 501 – 1500 –> .2024
Miles: > 1500 –> .1946
Terminal Charge –> $48.54

Aircraft Multiplier

Weight Class

Control Employee

Non-Control Employee

< 6,000 lbs. 62.5% 15.6%
6,001 – 10,000 lbs. 125% 23.4%
10,001 – 25,000 lbs. 300% 31.3%
> 25, 000 lbs. 400% 31.3%

Crunching these numbers, a control employee would have a $598.59 taxable fringe benefit for a 750-mile flight, a 3.23% increase from the prior term.

If you’re unfamiliar with SIFL rates and whether they may apply to you, please read my earlier blog post.

–          Ari Good

Ari Good, JD LL.M. is the Shareholder of Good Attorneys At Law, P.A.  Mr. Good received his BA, With Distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1993, his law degree from the DePaul University College of Law in 1997, and his LL.M. (Masters of Law in Taxation) from the University of Florida.  A long-time supporter of the general aviation community, Mr. Good serves aircraft buyers, sellers, dealers, brokers, flight schools and commercial operators worldwide in contractual, operational and tax matters. The firm’s services include federal income tax, state sales and use tax and excise tax planning, and defending both state and federal tax audits.  Mr. Good is a frequent speaker in aviation tax law and a proud member of The Florida Aviation Trades Association and NBAA.

Florida Aircraft Repair Maintenance Exemption – Aircraft Tax Lawyer Ari Good

Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Exemption in Florda
It’s good to turn wrenches

Florida Aircraft Repair Maintenance Exemption:  As a friendly reminder to aircraft owners (and snowbirds) nationwide, be advised that Florida wisely modified the “repair and maintenance” exemption this past June to apply to smaller, in fact most, planes, giving greater tax benefits to small aircraft owners having work done on their planes in Florida.

The aircraft repair and maintenance exemption in Florida has since 1994 provided that “repair and maintenance” labor charges are tax-exempt when performed on aircraft with a MTOW of greater than 15,000 pounds (10,000 pounds for helicopters).  Parts and equipment remained taxable “except as otherwise provided” in the exemption statute.  Fortunately for the airplane owner, the statute does indeed otherwise provide that “equipment used in aircraft repair and maintenance” (including replacement engines, parts and equipment used for such activities) is also tax exempt when used for these purposes.

Taxpayer information publication TIP #12A01-04 extends this exemption to planes weighing 2,000 pounds or more. This will obviously apply to most owner-pilot, single piston aircraft using the plane partially or wholly for business.

Also welcome are provisions of the Florida Administrative Code that provide that “labor, parts and materials used and actually incorporated into and becoming a component part of [the aircraft] in rebuilding repairing or reconditioning same for resale or exclusively for leasing are exempt.”  Since many of you have airplanes in leasing company is for purposes of Florida’s “sale for resale” exemption, you may enjoy these provisions and reap considerable Florida sales tax and use tax cost savings.

Please contact me at 877-771-1131 for more information about this exemption, possible pitfalls and how I can make this work for you.


Enter The Drones – FAA required to make room for UAVs by 2015

Ari Good aviation tax lawyer drones
Lousy legroom too

Enter The Drones – fSo from the looks of it it’s not so much a question of if, but rather when, private and commercial pilots will be sharing the American skies with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones.  The FAA has at least as early as 1991 been collecting information and requests from industry and Congress alike regarding implementing these systems. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requires that the FAA implement the necessary procedures to put drones to share our skies by 2015, although it looks like they’re running into little delays here and there (perhaps not so strange for a government agency).

So, drones, are they a good thing or a bad thing?  Well, I say both.  The possible civilian uses are exciting.  I was listening to people sound off on the issue in a Google hangout (a little virtual town meeting on pretty much anything).  One person who influenced me the most was a fire chief talking about its department’s use of a drone to pinpoint hotspots in a dangerous wildfire.  He said that he would not have been able to get the fire under control nearly as effectively without it, since the area was too dangerous for helicopters and too distant for conventional aircraft.  Industries of all stripes lined up with their favorite uses, ranging anywhere from monitoring oil pipelines to crops to real estate professionals who want the coolest video ever for the neighborhood they’re showing.  The technology is impressive (and undoubtedly has multiple commercial uses).  So, there is no doubt there are some serious potential benefits and a fun, technological “gee whiz” factor.

Now the part that concerns me a bit.  Among the biggest proponents, and biggest customers, for drones are federal and state law enforcement agencies, many of whom already have them, even smaller bodies like my own hometown Collier County Sheriff’s Department.  Now I am a law and order guy but in a Constitutional democracy we have the obligation to ask, and the right to know, the types of policing operations would require mass, continuous and detailed surveillance?  There is no doubt that certain operations would benefit tremendously from this type of technology, and having drones in high-stakes scenarios could save officers’ lives.  The problem is that these machines are not like manned aircraft.  They don’t get tired, they can see almost anything, and they can watch over people 24/7, whether we like it or not.  We need to be honest with ourselves about human nature: isn’t a drone is just too cool a toy to sit underneath the government tree?  I vaguely recall a case from law school in which the court threw out evidence collected from a marijuana grow house because the police used electronic surveillance equipment to “look” through the grow house walls without a warrant.  So, maybe the drones will be looking for terrorists, maybe for pot, but what about a politically unpopular land-use or political gathering?  Food for thought.

In any case drones are already a reality in our US skies.  It is essential that the FAA continue to develop the appropriate regulatory and operational framework with the Constitution in mind.  From a technological standpoint, too, we also need to make dern sure we don’t have Predators smashing into cargo ships full of Spongebob Squarepants paraphernalia or shooting down 172s.  It sounds funny but computers can and do make mistakes, and these would be big mistakes.  There must be some sort of civilian oversight of law enforcement use of the drones, and, in my view, military missions are probably prohibited under the Constitution.  Given that there are some years of implementation to come it’s worth having a look at the issue and the current debate.