The AOPA-backed measure will result in savings for aircraft owners of 6.35 percent on maintenance services and eliminates a regional competitive disadvantage faced by aviation maintenance shops in the state since Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia approved similar exemptions, said Sean Collins, AOPA eastern regional manager.
As introduced, the legislation, Senate Bill 305, was originally limited to aircraft with a basic empty weight of 6,000 pounds or more. However, AOPA worked with Sen. Chandler Swope (R-District 6), an AOPA member and rotorcraft pilot, on an amendment that broadened the tax exemption to apply to all aircraft, Collins said.
The exemption is expected to save owners of single-engine aircraft an estimated $159 per year based on average annual maintenance costs of $2,500. Owners of twin-engine aircraft may save $254, assuming average annual maintenance expenses of $4,000.
The bill’s passage gained momentum from the active engagement of AOPA members in West Virginia—and Collins noted that nonresidents who have purchased aircraft in the Mountain State will also find new incentives to have their aircraft serviced there: In 2020, West Virginia passed a measure that gave out-of-state aircraft operators a 60-day window to fly their aircraft out of the state before being slapped with a 6-percent sales tax, he said.