There are websites and even books dedicated to avoiding paying use/sales tax on airplane purchases in California. Like most states, California wants to collect a tax when you buy something big and “luxurious” and bring it into the State and, being California, the tax rate is higher than many others.
It was therefore no surprise a few months ago to get a letter from the CA Tax people asking me to tell them how much my plane cost and to send them a cheque for the tax I owed. To my chagrin I couldn’t find all of my Zenith sales invoices but the very helpful people there sent me a scan of every invoice I ever paid. I did however have proof of the sales tax that I paid every year on my tax return each time I bought a kit.
So I put together a packet with copies of my sales invoices and filled out the form with the value of the plane (essentially the sum of the kits) and itemised my annual out of state sales tax payments. For at least a few years of the project the county tax was higher than the State tax and so it turned out that over the lifetime of the project I had overpayed by about $40. I was therefore happy to get this letter in the mail last week.
So it is a relief that the State didn’t find a way to make me pay them more money, though they didn’t offer to give me my $40 back. I guess the next pot hole that gets filled in Sacramento is on me. Next up will be the annual County “how much is your airplane worth” form and this year for the first time I’ll be filling it in and ultimately sending them a cheque.