Feb. 21, 2019

Florida state legislators are currently considering Senate Bill 580, which would reduce the sales-and-use tax rate on aircraft from 6 percent to 4 percent, making Florida more competitive with surrounding states.

In recent years, aviation advocates – including the Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA), the Florida Airports Council, the South Florida Business Aviation Association, the Tampa Bay Aviation Association and NBAA – have encouraged the state to decrease or eliminate its aircraft sales-and-use tax rate to be more competitive with surrounding states. In addition, Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc, which has more than 1,200 employees in Florida, issued a letter in support of Senate Bill 580.

“This legislation is very important to the Florida Aviation Business Association and its members,” said Rich Richards, of Richards Legal Group and FABA president. “Through seeing what has occurred in other states that have decreased or eliminated their sales-and-use taxes for aircraft, we believe this legislation will attract more aviation business to Florida.”

For example, general aviation in New York state has seen increased sales activity since the state passed an NBAA-supported bill in 2015 exempting all general aviation aircraft (defined as any aircraft used in civil aviation that is not a commercial aircraft, military aircraft or unmanned vehicle/drone) transactions from the state’s sales-and-use tax. The exemption also applies to machinery or equipment installed on those aircraft.

“With major aircraft manufactures including Embraer and Piper located in Florida, passage of Senate Bill 580 will lead to additional aircraft transactions occurring in the state and ultimately more operators will elect to make Florida their home base, creating new jobs and additional economic activity,” said Scott O’Brien, NBAA senior director of government affairs.

General aviation in Florida is already a key economic driver, supporting more than 65,000 jobs and contributing $7.7 billion annually to the state’s economy. Reducing the aircraft sales tax rate will keep Florida competitive and allow it to remain a leader in general aviation.

For this effort to be successful, elected officials in Tallahassee need to hear from the aviation community as to how Senate Bill 580 is critical to keeping Florida competitive. Operators based in Florida can send a letter of support to their elected officials by visiting NBAA’s website resource.