Taxing Matters

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It's summer in Washington, D.C., and, with the steamy, dreamy days of August fast approaching, both houses of Congress are looking forward to bailing out and heading off into the wild blue yonder. In addition to all the nasty, time-consuming tasks they will probably leave behind -- like Supreme Court nominees, for instance -- the business aviation industry is hoping two tax-related provisions in the huge, expensive highway-funding bill will fall onto the taxiway like so much blue ice. According to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), an existing limitation on the deductibility of business expenses for entertainment use of employer-provided aircraft enacted last fall would be expanded by the Senate's version of the highway bill. Another provision would change procedures for paying the fuel tax on jet fuel. The association is fighting both provisions. According to NBAA, last fall's legislation limited a company’s ability to deduct aircraft operating costs attributable to flights provided to executives for entertainment purposes. The offending provision would extend this limitation to all employees. With respect to the jet fuel taxation change, NBAA says the IRS is concerned that substantial amounts of jet fuel are being diverted to highway use -- the IRS obviously hasn't checked the price of Jet A lately. To address the IRS concern, the Senate version of the highway bill would put into place a cumbersome provision basically requiring FBOs to pay the jet fuel tax up front and then apply for a refund. The association notes that the House version of the bill does not contain either provision and is opposing both of them.