What They Meant, Not What They Said (Rhode Island Taxes Part Two)

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AVweb told you last week that the little state of Rhode Island had enacted an "emergency regulation" that could slap a 7-percent use tax on transient aircraft ... but despite what the regulation says, that is not what it means, according to a Rhode Island tax official. The regulation is intended only for residents of the state, or businesses based there, who bought their aircraft out of state, and hangar it out of state, but then fly it in Rhode Island (remember, Rhode Island is only about 40 miles across). "The regulation does not apply to non-commercial aircraft purchased by the user while a non-resident of this state ... and thereafter brought into this state," Robert Geruso, R.I. assistant tax administrator, wrote to AOPA. Geruso said the regulation will be rewritten -- and clarified -- next month. He also told AOPA that the old regulation hit R.I. pilots with the use tax the first time they brought their aircraft into the state, and the new regulation is meant to offer them more flexibility. Meanwhile, R.I. pilots have been lobbying to have the sales/use tax on aircraft eliminated altogether, but so far without success. Rhode Island has long allowed boats to be sold without taxes -- but the coastal state has far more boaters than pilots.