Despite lobbying from AOPA and aircraft owners who have been slapped with hefty tax bills after flying their airplanes into Maine, the state has refused to change its ways, AOPA said this week. "We've told the legislature that they won't be able to get much revenue from the use tax, because new aircraft owners won't fly into the state," says Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. The state has billed aircraft owners for up to 6 percent of the value of their aircraft. The use tax kicks in during the first year of ownership if the owner hasn't paid a 6-percent sales tax elsewhere, and the airplane is in Maine for at least 20 days. Those 20 days can sneak up on you, Pecoraro warns. "Let's say your aircraft gets weathered in during your weekend trip, but because of work obligations, you have to leave your airplane and drive or catch a train home. The clock is ticking the whole time the aircraft is stuck in the state," he says. A bill that AOPA had lobbied for to make the law less egregious has been "gutted" by the legislature. Details of the Maine tax are posted online.
Maine tax lawyer Jon Block is defending eight aircraft owners against the tax in that state, and he spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles recently about the issue. Click here for the podcast. Meanwhile, nine Maine airports will get $5.5 million in FAA grants this year, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.