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AGO 1954 No. 327 - September 30, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

REGISTRATION AND TAXATION OF AIRCRAFT OF NON-RESIDENT MILITARY PERSONNEL

Non-resident military personnel based in this state are not subject to Washington State registration and excise tax requirements on their civil aircraft where they have complied with such laws as affect these aircraft in their home state.

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                                                              September 30, 1954

Mr. Charles S. Chester
Director
Washington State Aeronautics Commission
Arcade Building
Seattle 1, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 327


Dear Mr. Chester:

            You recently requested an opinion from this office on the following question:

            Are non-resident [[nonresident]]military personnel, based in the State of Washington, owning civil aircraft purchased in or outside of this state subject to the aircraft registration and excise tax provisions respectively of RCW 14.04.250 and 82.48.100?

            It is our opinion that the answer is no, provided that they have paid all licenses, fees, or excises, that are required in their place of domicile.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 14.04.250, Registration of Aircraft, after specifying a $2.00 annual registration fee for every aircraft operated within this state, excludes

            "(3) An aircraft which is owned by a nonresident and registered in another state;Provided, That if said aircraft shall remain in and/or be based in this state for a period of ninety days or longer it shall not be exempt under this section;"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            RCW 82.48.100 exempts from the 1% aircraft excise tax imposed by RCW 82.48.020, 82.48.030 and 82.48.040

            "Aircraft which are owned by a nonresident and registered in another state;Provided, That if any such aircraft shall remain in and/or be based in this state for a period of ninety consecutive days or longer it shall not be exempt under this section;"

            The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 contains a section, U.S.C.A. Title 50, App. 574, entitled "Residence for tax purposes."  This section provides that a person does not lose his residence or domicile for tax purposes solely by reason of being absent therefrom in compliance with military or naval orders.  It specifies that:

            "* * * personal property shall not be deemed to be located or present in or to have a situs for taxation [in the state of temporary presence] * * *"

            Subsection (2) provides:

            "When used in this section, (a) the term 'personal property' shall include tangible and intangible property (including motor vehicles) and (b) the term 'taxation' shall include but not be limited to licenses, fees, or excises imposed in respect to motor vehicles or the use thereof:  Provided, That the license, fee, or excise required by the State, Territory, possession, or District of Columbia of which the person is a resident or in which he is domiciled has been paid."

            We expressed the opinion in AGO 53-55 No. 197 [[to D. Urquhart, Department of Motor Vehicles on February 3, 1954]]that by virtue of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, nonresident military personnel cannot be required to buy Washington State automobile licenses provided they are properly licensed in their home states.  Although subsection (2) specifically includes licenses, fees and excises imposed in respect to motor vehicles, it does not exclude other licenses, fees and excises, and it would, therefore, seem that aircraft registration fees and excises come within the application of the act where requirements have been net at the domiciliary situs.  The place of purchase of the aircraft does not assume importance, but rather the question of whether the serviceman has paid fees and excises at his place of residence.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            It is our conclusion that nonresident military personnel based in this state are not subject to Washington state registration and excise requirements on their civil aircraft where they have complied with such laws as affect these aircraft in their home states.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


WINSTON C. INGMAN
Assistant Attorney General

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