Last Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R.4718, a bill that would make accelerated, or bonus, depreciation permanent. If passed, this would allow for 50 percent of costs for new investments in equipment and software–a list that includes such things as business jets–to be written off in the first year. More than 150 groups, including NBAA and NATA, supported the legislation.
NBAA and more than 150 other associations and coalitions sent a letter last week to the U.S. Senate urging swift passage of a bill to restore tax incentives that expired last year, including accelerated depreciation on purchases of long-term capital assets such as business aircraft.
On May 2, NBAA is holding its one-day Business Aviation Tax Seminar at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. The seminar begins at 8 a.m. Among the subjects to be covered are two key tax issues for business aircraft operators: the application of the federal excise tax (FET) to managed aircraft flying under Part 91; and “Federal Audit Traps and Solutions for Aircraft Leasing Structures.”
CHC Group is going public and has begun an initial public offering (IPO) of 29,412,000 of its ordinary shares. The company, parent of CHC Helicopter, will make all of these shares available in the IPO, which is expected to price at $16 to $18 per share. If the underwriters sell more than the allotted shares, they will be able to buy up to 4,411,800 additional ordinary shares at the IPO price, less underwriting discounts, according to CHC. The company’s symbol on the New York Stock Exchange will be HELI.
As most NBAA attendees will attest, the safe and legal operation of an aircraft is a complex task. With a seemingly endless list of agencies to answer to, it is all too easy for something to fall through the cracks. Aviation law specialist Advocate Consulting Legal Group (Booth No. C9314) assists its clients in developing and implementing entity structures and contractual arrangements to maximize tax savings, while complying with FAA, DOT and state regulatory requirements.
Macquarie Infrastructure, the parent company of Atlantic Aviation, announced its first-quarter financial results last week, posting a 3.2-percent increase in Atlantic’s GA jet fuel sales on a same-store basis, over the opening quarter of last year. The chain’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 6.9 percent year-over-year. Macquarie expects to complete refinancing of Atlantic’s long-term debt this month, a move the company expects will give it more resiliency in case of another downturn in GA activity.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen gave a big thumbs down yesterday to legislation sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) “that would single out one industry, general aviation, for a change in its established depreciation schedule.” Gillibrand’s proposal would extend the current five-year tax-depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft to seven years.
Though its parent company Finmeccanica yesterday reported €786 million in losses last year, subsidiary AgustaWestland posted strong 2012 results that included revenues of €4.2 billion, new orders of €4 billion and an accumulated backlog of €11.87 billion, as well as earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation of €473 million. The helicopter manufacturer’s results reflected marginally improved results over its 2011 performance and also reflected a slight increase in research and development spending, to €506 million.
If I had to sum up the benefits of business jets in just one word, I might pick “convenience.” According to Wikipedia, “convenient procedures, products and services are those intended to increase ease in accessibility, save resources (such as time, effort and energy) and decrease frustration.”
Comments by President Obama’s press secretary that tax depreciation schedules constitute “loopholes” for corporate jets ignited a blitzkrieg of return fire from general aviation on Tuesday. Pete Bunce, chairman and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, declared that politics in Washington continues to demonstrate that facts can be conveniently overlooked when one is trying to point fingers and score sound bites.
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