Congress passes aviation tax extension; possible tax legislation this summer?

Congress passes short-term aviation tax extension

The House on March 21 passed the short-term version of H.R. 4721—a bill to extend the authorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs—as was passed by the Senate late last week, thus clearing the way for the legislation to be sent to the White House.

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The legislation would extend both FAA program authorization and certain taxes and tax rates that are dedicated to the airport and airway trust fund through July 15, 2016. The tax provisions in H.R. 4721 include:

  • The imposition of tax at an increased rate on certain removals, entries, and sales of aviation gasoline and kerosene used in noncommercial aviation
  • The tax on amounts paid for taxable transportation of persons by air
  • The tax on amounts paid for taxable transportation of property by air
  • The exemption for aircraft in fractional ownership aircraft programs

Current authorization of the FAA-related programs and taxes is scheduled to expire March 31, 2016.

Background

The version of the bill originally passed by the House on March 14 would have extended FAA program authorization through July 15, 2016, but also would have extended the taxes and tax rate dedicated to the airport and airway trust fund for a longer period—through March 31, 2017. 

The version of the bill passed by the Senate on March 17 would extend FAA program authorization through July 15, 2016, and only would extend through July 15, 2016, the taxes and tax rates that are dedicated to the airport and airway trust fund.   

KPMG observation

Because the House accepted the Senate’s version of the bill with a shorter extension of the taxes, this means that Congress will need to extend once again the authorization of FAA programs and the related taxes before July 15, 2016. This may provide an opportunity for Congress to consider adding additional tax provisions to future aviation-related legislation—such as extensions of some tax preferences that expire at the end of the year and technical corrections to previously enacted tax legislation. 

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