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US State Sales Tax on Purchasing an Aircraft for Export

I wanted to see if anyone here has a quick and handy answer on this. If you purchase an aircraft in the USA, and want to ferry it home, how does the sales tax work? I know the blanket rule is there is no state tax on an export out of the USA. Given they are not putting the aircraft in a container, you are taking possession of a flying aircraft and heading home…….. the guidance I’m finding online is somewhat opaque.

Has anyone here dealt with it before?


Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland

Not exactIy the same but I bought a new car in Sarasota a couple of years ago and it never touched the road there, put it onto a trailer then onto a boat so I never paid a cent in tax … except for the ‘gas guzzler’ tax that was charged by the dealer.

There is no US Federal (i.e. national) sales or use tax, it is a state tax collected from buyers when an aircraft sale is recorded the FAA Federal registry. Therefore the issue is dependent on the state in which you buy the plane, and reading stuff like this link could be useful.

The FAA role is interesting. The FAA bill of sale includes a place in which the sale price is recorded, and the bill of sale database is monitored by the states looking for money. To avoid documenting the sale price it has for ‘about a million years’ been customary to report “$1 plus OVC” (other valuable consideration) and the FAA has no interest, they derive no benefit from knowing the sales prices and don’t work for the states. If you as buyer registered the plane in that way, an interested state might send letters asking both buyer and seller to report the price. Very often the seller throws the letter in the trash, he does not owe them anything and has no obligation to answer the question. The buyer is then dealing directly with the state, with all the objective evidence held by the buyer and no record of the sale except the FAA bill of sale being required by law.

I’m guessing that if somebody buys a modestly valued aircraft in the US but doesn’t live, base or operate the plane in any US state it’s unlikely you’ll hear from anybody in relation to sales tax… certainly so if the plane was purchased in one of the more reasonable (‘fly away’ or no sales tax) states described in the link.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 09 Mar 01:09
3 Posts
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