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How should buyers and sellers interact as to aircraft sales tax?



Whenever title to an aircraft changes hands, the parties need to think about sales tax. This often comes as a surprise because they don’t routinely make sales and don’t individually file sales tax returns, but in general, aircraft charge sales tax, just like any other merchandise. Fortunately, there are usually ways to avoid this tax, so long as it is planned in advance. Early on in the transaction, the party should discuss their sales tax plan, which will often need positioning the plane to one of the twenty or so states that have so-called fly away exemptions, under which, sales can be tax free so long as the plane is promptly flown out of the state. Each fly away state has different rules. Some require the seller to keep a written affidavit. Some involve state filings, or are limited to certain aircraft. Before closing the transaction, identify your exemption, know it and follow it. Keep in mind the corollary sales tax which is use tax and which requires separate planning of its own.

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