Tax Alert for Owners of Historical Aircraft

Tax Alert for Owners of Historical Aircraft

The President of California Pilots Association has requested the California Board of Equalization to issue a clarification for tax assessors in all California counties. January 30, 2003

California Board of Equalization 450 N Street Sacramento, CA 94279

Re: Personal Property Tax, Aircraft of Historical Significance, Rev. & Tax Code 220.5

Honorable Members:

The California Pilots Association is dedicated to preserving the public airports and securing fair and equitable treatment of aircraft owners. A recent law change is causing owners of aircraft that are of historical significance (over 35 years of age) to be confused about personal property tax exemptions for 2004.

In late 2003 the California Legislature amended Revenue & Tax Code Section 220.5. The added language states: “When applying for an exemption pursuant to this section, the claimant shall attach to that application a certificate of attendance from the event coordinator of the event at which the aircraft was displayed as required by this paragraph.” This change is not being interpreted uniformly by tax assessors throughout California.

Since the law was not in effect during 2003, aircraft owners had no knowledge that a certificate of attendance would be required in 2004. Moreover, coordinators who would have been available in 2003 are not known to be available in 2004. This requirement for a certificate of attendance defies logic and common sense. It would require an aircraft owner to perform an impossible task because no certificate of attendance is available.

Some California counties are waiving the requirement for 2004. Others are insisting that no application for exemption will be accepted for 2004 unless accompanied by a certificate of attendance–a condition of impossible performance.

While the California Legislature has amended Rev & Tax Code 220.5, the Board of Equalization is the implementing agency. As such, BOE has an administrative mandate to interpret the amendment in a fair and equitable manner. To that end, BOE is urged to issue an interpretation to all county tax assessors stating that the law will be effective January 1, 2005, not 2004.

Very truly yours,

Jay C. White

President, California Pilots Association