When aviators around the U.S. were preparing to fly to Florida for Sun 'n Fun a few weeks ago, concerns arose about a "use tax" that could be levied against out-of-state aircraft, as has been done to pilots who fly in Maine. This week, the Florida House of Representatives passed a new General Aviation Tax Exemption to "limit" tax exposure for new aircraft owners flying into the state -- although it does not eliminate that exposure. The newly passed legislation allows aircraft that were purchased within the last six months to be in Florida for a total of 21 days, plus up to 20 days for maintenance, without being subject to a tax. It also exempts new aircraft owners who come to Florida for flight training during this time frame. The Florida Aviation Trades Association lobbied for the legislation, which they say will enable non-resident pilots to visit Florida for vacation, flight training, or to attend an event without fear of receiving a tax bill when they return to home where the aircraft is based.
Documentation will be required by the state, said FATA. Acceptable documentation will include fuel, tie-down, and hangar receipts that prove the aircraft is not based in Florida. "Lifting the entry barriers to our state will spur activity at Florida's airports and tourism industry," said FATA President Michael Slingluff. "Increased activity creates tax revenue for the state. ... More work needs to done to change state tax regulations that impose barriers to our state's businesses." House Bill 1379 will now move to the Senate, where it must be considered and approved before it is presented to the governor.