SALES & USE TAX QUESTION
Having read Mr. Swirsky’s and Mr. Younger’s September article ‘State Sales & Use Tax Dilemmas’ in World Aircraft Sales Magazine- I was left wondering how the states locate aircraft owners? Can aircraft owners just wait for the state to contact them? - Aircraft Owner (Southeastern States)
KEITH SWIRSKY RESPONDS:
This is not necessarily a straightforward question to answer. Use tax is predominantly handled through self-compliance- meaning that the aircraft owner must contact the state and advise the state that they are making use and consumption of the aircraft within the borders of that state. However- I am not aware of any real self-compliance activities among aircraft owners when it comes to reporting a single aircraft to multiple states.
With the Federal cut-backs on state support and states real estate tax collections shrinking- states are increasingly looking for revenue. So- the reality is that we are in a different environment today than we have been in the past; and states are getting more and more aggressive and creative in locating aircraft owners- and sending out correspondence seeking to obtain information on whether an aircraft owner has a liability.
Florida is perhaps the best example of a state that has become increasingly aggressive and creative. For many aircraft owners- who have homes in Florida (vacation or otherwise) Florida has become a major concern.
THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT ISSUE
I understand Pete Agur’s recommendation that we have a flight attendant on every passenger leg as a best safety practice on our large cabin jet (see ‘Setting the Safety Standard’- October issue). I agree with it. But our top passengers refuse to have their privacy infringed upon. They say they are willing to accept the risks. - A Frustrated Aviation Manager
PETE AGUR RESPONDS:
Dear Frustrated- The resistance to having a Cabin Safety Attendant (CSA) can have many sources (a number of them may never be expressed). The fact remains that the risk is not only theirs to accept - the risk encompasses everyone on the plane. If they refuse having a CSA (the best option)- then the risk can be moderated by requiring they participate in thorough cabin safety and evacuation training on an annual basis.
As the aviation expert for the company- it may be necessary for you to take a firm stand as to where you draw the line for safety. Most reasonable executives may not understand the technical aspects of managing safety and risk mitigation- but they are likely to respect and appreciate your professional integrity.
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