HB 1710

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of April 8, 2013

Title: An act relating to the taxation of commuter air carriers.

Brief Description: Concerning the taxation of commuter air carriers.

Sponsors: Representatives Springer, Walsh, Sells, Chandler, Morris and Kagi.

Brief History: Passed House: 3/08/13, 94-3.

Committee Activity: Transportation: 4/08/13.


Staff: Hayley Gamble (786-7452)

Background: There are currently three separately owned airplane operations in Washington that meet the federal definition of a commuter air carrier, which is a company that transports people, property, or mail on aircraft that have less than 60 seats and have a least five scheduled flights a week. One of these companies is located primarily on private property.

Aircraft subject to the state aircraft excise tax are exempt from paying personal property tax. The aircraft excise tax varies by the type of aircraft and ranges from $20 for a home-built aircraft up to $125 for a turbojet multi-engine fixed wing plane. Under current law, commercial aircraft engaged principally in commercial flying that constitutes interstate or foreign commerce are subject to Washington State personal property taxes, and not the aircraft excise tax.

Personal property taxes are deposited into the general fund, while the aviation excise tax is split 10 percent to the aeronautics account and 90 percent to the general fund.

Summary of Bill: A commuter air carrier is defined to be consistent with the federal definition of a commuter air carrier. The definition includes carrying passengers on at least five scheduled round trips per week, with the details of time, day, and route being part of a published schedule. Commuter air carriers that are located primarily on private property are excluded from the definition of an airplane company.

A separate schedule for commuter air carriers that are not considered airplane companies is added to the excise tax statutes, with payment amounts based on weight and ranging from $500 to $4,000 per year.

An aircraft that is owned and operated by a commuter air carrier which is located primarily on private property, and is subject to and has paid the aircraft excise tax, is exempt from property tax.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

[OFM requested ten-year cost projection pursuant to I-960.]

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: No.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on January 1, 2014.