Aircraft of Historical Significance Exemption

This exemption provides a property tax exemption for "Aircraft of Historical Significance." For property tax purposes, "Aircraft of Historical Significance" means any aircraft which is an original, restored, or replica of a heavier than air powered aircraft which is 35 years or older or any aircraft of a type or model of which there are fewer than five in number known to exist worldwide. (See Revenue and Taxation Code section 220.5)
The exemption only applies if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The assessee is an individual owner who does not hold the aircraft primarily for purposes of sale. An individual owner is a live person, not a legal entity such as a corporation or partnership.
  2. The assessee does not use the aircraft for commercial purposes or general transportation.
  3. The aircraft is available for public display at least 12 days during the 12-month period immediately preceding the lien date (January 1) for the year in which the exemption is claimed. If the aircraft was first made available for public display less than 12 days prior to the lien date, the exemption may be granted if the claimant certifies in writing that the aircraft will be made available for public display at least 12 days during the 12-month period commencing with the first day the property was made available for public display.

Available for Public Display

Available for public display means actual display or documented willingness to display the aircraft at an organized air show, museum, and/or a specially designated area set aside for historical aircraft open to the public. To qualify for the exemption, the aircraft on public display must be documented by a certificate of attendance. In addition, the general public must be aware of the displays and there must be reasonable accommodations to allow the general public to view the aircraft during reasonable viewing hours.

Initial Filing Fee

A one-time, non-refundable $35 filing fee is collected by the assessor upon the initial application for the exemption. The annual affidavit is required for exemption, but the filing fee is only required with the initial application in the county where the aircraft is located. If an aircraft is permanently moved to a different county, another application needs to be filed in that second county. This filing would be considered the initial application in the second county, and the $35 filing fee is required.

Filing Requirements

To apply for the Aircraft of Historical Significance Exemption, a claim form must be filed each year with the assessor of the county where the aircraft is located. The claim form, BOE-260-B, Claim for Exemption from Property Taxes of Aircraft of Historical Significance, is available from the county assessor.
The claim must be filed with the assessor on or before February 15, for the preceding January 1 lien date to receive 100 percent of the exemption. The claimant must attach to the claim a certificate of attendance form signed by the managers or sponsors of the events at which the aircraft was displayed.

Late Exemption Claims

If a person claiming the exemption fails to file the affidavit by 5 p.m. on February 15 of the fiscal year for which the exemption is claimed, but files the affidavit on or before August 1, the assessment shall be reduced by an amount equal to 80 percent of the reduction that would have been allowed had the affidavit been timely filed. (See section 276.5.)

Letters To Assessors (LTAs) provide an ongoing advisory service for county assessors and others interested in the property tax system in California. The letters present Board staff's interpretation of rules, laws, and court decisions on property tax assessment. The following LTAs pertain to assessment or procedural issues involving exemptions for aircrafts of historical significance.

Letter to Assessor Date Title
87/67 9/4/87 Exemption for Aircraft of Historical Significance
2002/090 3/9/04 Exemption for Aircraft of Historical Significance
2004/012 3/9/04 Exemption for Aircraft of Historical Significance Certificate of Attendance Required
2004/047 8/6/04 New Signature Requirements

Assessor's Handbook Section 577, Assessment of General Aircraft (pages 25 - 27), also provides information pertaining to aircraft of historical significance.

Annotated legal opinions are summaries of the conclusions reached in selected legal rulings of California State Board of Equalization counsel. The following legal opinions pertain to questions involving exemptions for exemptions for aircraft of historical significance:

Annotated Legal Opinion Date Title
105.0020 09/04/1987 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Defined
105.0030 12/20/2002 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Available for Display to the Public
105.0034 11/12/2002 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Claim Filing
105.0035 12/20/2002 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Commercial Purpose
105.0040 12/20/2002 Aircraft of Historical Significance, General Transportation
105.0050 05/05/2004 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Late Filing
105.0051 03/15/2006 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Late Filing
105.0065 03/06/1990 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Ownership
105.0066 06/04/1999 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Ownership
105.0090 07/06/2012 Aircraft of Historical Significance, Replica