FAQ'S

Q : Do I have to pay sales or use tax on my aircraft, vessel or vehicle purchase?
A: Sales or use tax is administered dependent upon where the aircraft, vessel, or vehicle is stored, used or consumed, ASTC may be able to help you legally mitigate or eliminate the entire sales or use tax liability on an aircraft, vessel or vehicle purchase.

Q: Can I use an out-of-state corporation or LLC to avoid sales tax?
A: The age-old myth is to use an out-of-state entity to avoid paying sales or use tax on the purchase of an aircraft, vessel or vehicle. NO, you can not legally avoid paying sales or use tax by only using an out of state entity to purchase the aircraft, vessel or vehicle. The state where you domicile your aircraft, vessel or vehicle has the legal authority to levy sales or use tax on your purchase. In this era of revenue deficits, many states have dramatically stepped up their enforcement efforts to assess sales or use tax on all aircraft, vessel and vehicle purchases. Their tactics range from obtaining registration information directly from the FAA, Coast Guard or DMV, auditing manufacturer’s or dealer’s sale records, to requiring airports / FBO’s / Marinas / RV Parks to submit listings of tail numbers, CF numbers and license plate information of visiting aircraft, vessels, or vehicles.

Q: I already bought an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle, can you still help or is it too late?
A: While it may be too late to structure a plan for sales and use tax, it is not too late for ASTC to review your purchase details, current ownership structure, and use patterns to determine if there is a way to mitigate or eliminate the tax.

Q: I am ready to close on an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle next week, is there enough time to get things set up?
A: Depending on the states that are involved, the closing location, how the aircraft, vessel or vehicle will be used, where you will domicile the aircraft, vessel or vehicle and how flexible the seller and buyer are — ASTC can create and implement a plan in as little as 4 hours.

Q: My CPA does my taxes, why do I need ASTC’s services?
A: You will continue to work with your CPA on your accounting and income tax needs. ASTC will be responsible for structuring, implementing and executing an aircraft, vessel or vehicle sales or use tax avoidance plan that fits your needs, which is in full compliance with California sales and Use Tax Law.

Q: Do I have to pay sales tax when I sell my aircraft, vessel, or vehicle?
A: It depends. If you have made two prior sales within the previous 12 month period, yes, you will be required to collect and remit the sales tax to the Board of Equalization; unless they are sales of vehicles. If you are registered with the DMV as a vehicle dealer, then you are required to collect and remit sales tax to the Board of Equalization. If you have not made two prior sales, then chances are you are not yet considered a retailer and would not be required to collect and remit the sales tax.

Q: I received a letter from the Board of Equalization asking me to pay sales/use tax on my aircraft, vessel or vehicle, can you help me?
A: Possibly, once the state authority “catches” you, it may be more difficult to overcome the burden of proof to support an exemption due to the amount of time which has passed since your purchase. However, ASTC’s experts will review the notice and your transaction details and give you a definitive answer with no obligation to you.

Q: What is the difference between sales tax and use tax?
A: In California, transfers of tangible personal property for a consideration (sales and purchases) are subject to sales tax or use tax unless the law provides an exception (that is, an exemption or exclusion). Although the rates are generally the same, sales tax is imposed on the retailer for the privilege of selling tangible personal property in this state. The retailer may collect reimbursement from their customer if the contract of sale so provides. Although this is usually invoiced as “sales tax,” it is actually sales tax reimbursement. Whether or not the retailer collects reimbursement, the retailer is liable for the tax due.

Use tax is generally imposed on the purchaser of tangible personal property that is used, consumed, or stored in this state. Sales of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft by licensed dealers are usually subject to sales tax, for which sales tax reimbursement is collected at the time of purchase. Use tax applies to the cost of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft purchased from non-dealers (for example, private parties) or are purchased/delivered outside California for use in this state. Use tax also applies to most leases of tangible personal property. Private party sales or brokered transactions are normally subject to use tax. If the first use of the property occurs in California, use tax may apply even if the purchaser is not a resident of the state. The sales and use tax are “mutually exclusive,” which means that either sales tax or use tax applies to a single transaction, but not both.

Q: How does the Board receive information about my purchase?
A: The Consumer Use Tax Section, within the Board of Equalization, receives information from the Department of Motor Vehicles on vehicles, motor homes, and undocumented vessels and from the Federal Aviation Administration on aircraft. Records obtained from the United States Coast Guard identify transfers of ownership of documented vessels.

Q: Are transfer by barter, exchange, and trade-in subject to tax?
A: Yes, the total value or consideration given to acquire tangible personal property is included in the amount subject to tax. In general, consideration includes cash, assumption of any loan, cancellation of a debt, value of property traded or exchanged, value of services bartered, and any other payment, valued in dollars, given to purchase the property.

Q: What tax rate applies?
A: The tax rate is generally the same for sales tax and use tax. The use tax rate is based on where the property is used, stored, or registered. In the case of a documented vessel, it is the marina or principal mooring location. For an aircraft, it is the hangar or tie-down spot. For property registered with DMV, the tax rate is based on the address provided to the DMV by the registered owner.

Q: When is the use tax due?
A: For purchases of vehicles, undocumented vessels, and mobile homes, the use tax is due on or before the last day of the month following the month of purchase. Use tax on aircraft and documented vessels is due the last day of the twelfth month following the month of purchase or the last day of the month following the month the Board mails you a return, whichever period expires first. For example, if you purchased an aircraft on April 1, 2008, the use tax would be due April 30, 2009. However, if the Board mailed you a return dated June 15, 2008, the use tax would have been due July 31, 2008. In this case, the return’s due date supersedes the 12-month rule because it occurs earlier.

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Whether you are considering purchasing an aircraft, have paid sales tax on a recent aircraft purchase, or are contacted by the Board to audit your transaction, you should contact us immediately.

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In Our
Client's Words

“I found Associated Sales Tax Consultants to be highly professional and knowledgeable in their field of expertise, and the results were exactly what they said they could do. They made the purchase transaction of my Jet Ranger a painless process for us, and they performed flawlessly. The bottom line is that I saved a ton of money. I would encourage anyone thinking of a large purchase to use the services offered by ASTC. I plan on continuing to utilize ASTC for all my future aviation purchases.”

P.D.
Dumas Enterprises

“We first used Associated Sales Tax Consultants after a particularly invasive audit which resulted in unfair and incorrect findings by the Board. ASTC took over and had it resolved in our favor. Whenever we are notified of an audit we automatically turn to ASTC. We would not hesitate to recommend ASTC. No business can afford not to use their services.”

D.H., Vice President
Custom Characters, Inc.

“I would like to compliment your company for its outstanding service in the overall handling of this matter from start to finish. At no time we did not have a secure feeling, trust, and complete confidence in Associated Sales Tax Consultants. All phone calls were answered in a very business like manner by a 'real person' not a machine. All my questions were always answered and explained in a simple to understand manner which I appreciated. I would highly recommend your company to anyone who is thinking about a purchase of a vessel, aircraft, or vehicle.”

M.B.

OUR STAFF CONTINUALLY RESEARCHES AND EVALUATES PERTAINENT SUB-DISCIPLINES OF THE CALIFORNIA SALES AND USE TAX LAWS, REGULATIONS, ANNOTATIONS, AS WELL AS OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES WE EMPLOY TO ELIMINATE TAX ON AIRCRAFT PURCHASES.