That's the question that Steve Kahn and dozens of other pilots are wondering about, after being hit by the state of Maine with tax bills in the thousands of dollars for flying into the state. Kahn, an investment advisor who lives in Boston, flies his Cirrus SR-22 frequently into Maine to visit a summer home and other destinations, and as a volunteer with Angel Flight. He's been doing that since 2003, but this year, he got a tax bill from the state of Maine saying he owes them a "use tax" that totals over $26,000 with interest. Kahn says he had no way of knowing that flying in Maine would trigger the tax until he got the bill. "It's so unreasonable and unfair," he says. He has hired a lawyer to appeal the assessment, but since the appeal is heard by the state tax division, he doesn't have much hope of success. If the appeal is denied, he can take the matter to court, but then expenses will pile up fast. "I'm willing to fight this on principle," he says. "But there is a point where you just give up, even though you know you're right." AOPA has been talking with officials in Maine.
A meeting was set up for this week, but was cancelled due to a snowstorm. "We're working now to set up another meeting, probably in January," Greg Pecoraro, AOPA's vice president for regional affairs, told AVweb on Wednesday. Some pilots who fly into Maine, even if just for a handful of trips, have received tax bills up into the six figures, he says.