Good Tax News for California's Historical Aircraft Owners

The California Board of Equalization has agreed to honor the request of California Pilots Association in assisting owners of historical aircraft who wish to maintain their tax exempt status. In late 2003 the California Legislature amended Revenue and Taxation Code Section 220.5 relating to exemption of aircraft of historical significance from personal property taxes. The amendment was supposed to become effective January 1, 2004.

A significant change 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.”

In a letter to the Board of Equalization, Jay White, President of California Pilots Association requested that this requirement be delayed until 2005. The reason being that no certificates of attendance were issued during 2003. Aircraft owners had no knowledge that a certificate of attendance would be required for 2004. Thus, it would be impossible for aircraft owners to comply with this provision in 2004.

Officials of the Board of Equalization agreed. They will issue a directive to all county assessors stating that the new certificate of attendance requirement will become effective in 2005. Assessors will be directed to utilize the application form currently in use for 2004. No aircraft owner will be denied an exemption for not having a certificate of attendance for 2003.