Aerial Wildlife Management

Selling a gunner’s seat on an aircraft used in agriculture operations to a person who will participate in predator control (such as feral hog eradication) is subject to Texas sales and use tax as an amusement service. The seller must obtain a Texas sales and use tax permit, collect tax on the sale of the seat, and remit the tax to the Comptroller.

Although items used by the provider of an amusement service are typically taxable, the purchase of an aircraft used to provide predator control is exempt from tax under Tax Code Sec. 151.328 (a)(5) if it is bought for exclusive use in agricultural operations as the term is defined in Tax Code Section. 23.51.

Qualifying agricultural activities include:

  • predator control;
  • wildlife or livestock capture;
  • wildlife or livestock surveys;
  • census counts of wildlife or livestock;
  • animal or plant health inspection services; and
  • crop dusting, pollination or seeding.

An aircraft is considered to be “exclusively” used in agricultural operations if 95 percent of its use is for one of the purposes listed above. The 95 percent provision allows travel of less than 30 miles each way to a location to perform these exempt services.

The aircraft owner must maintain flight records for all uses of the aircraft and must make them available to the Comptroller upon request.

Any use of the aircraft for nonagricultural purposes will result in loss of the exemption.

The exemption under Tax Code Section 151.328 also applies to repair and replacement parts for the aircraft and repair labor. The exemption does not apply to firearms, ammunition or other machinery or equipment used on or with the aircraft or used by the aircraft owner or operator. But, an aircraft operator performing crop dusting or other operations classified as “agricultural” under 14 C.F.R. Section 137.3, may,obtain an Ag/Timber number from the Comptroller and then claim an exemption on chemicals and other equipment used exclusively to perform crop dusting and the other agricultural services specifically identified in the federal definition under Tax Code Section 151.316(a)(11). This exemption does not apply to firearms, bullets or other equipment used to perform predator control, wildlife census counts or other services not included under 14 C.F.R. Section 137.3.

For more information, see Tax Exemptions for Agriculture (Pub. 94-101).

*Originally published in the July edition of Tax Policy News – a monthly newsletter about Texas tax policy at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpnw/tpn2012/tpn1207.html

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