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You may recall that when Republicans passed the 2017 Big Fat Tax Cuts For Rich Fuckwads Act last December, several Democrats pointed out the thing contained a charming tax write-off for corporate jets. The fact-checking teams swung into action and explained the provision Dems were pointing to actually resolved a weird wrinkle in tax law affecting timeshare owners of jets. The Washington Post gave the claim "three Pinocchios," but Snopes reasoned that since the confusion was resolved in favor of bizjet owners, it was mostly the Plane Truth.

Well, looks like everyone (or at least everyone not in the corporate jet business) missed a whole different part of the law that really truly does allow some corporate jet owners to write off the entire purchase price of a new or used jet, as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. What a country!


Here are the deets, as reported by WSJ:

The price of a new or used airplane purchased by a company can be a 100% write-off against its earnings.

That is a major change. Before, buyers of new planes could generally deduct at least 50% of the cost of an aircraft in the first year. Buyers of used airplanes had to take those deductions more slowly.

It's already creating jobs, if by "creating jobs" you mean "helping people with money to blow on their very own jet buy a nicer jet from people who probably do pretty well selling jets already." For example, there's this nice fella:

Marcus Adolfsson, chief executive of online technology publisher Mobile Nations, bought a used Embraer Phenom 100 for just under $2 million at the end of December, right as the new tax law was going into effect. The rule allowing owners to deduct 100% on used equipment was retroactive to late September.

"The timing was impeccable," he said of the full deduction he took for 2017.

Mind you, he's not just whooping it up all the time; he uses the jet to "skip the hassle of commercial flights" when he meets with his advertising partners in New York and to take "jaunts to Miami and Winnipeg to visit his remote employees." He says it's honestly like a minivan -- a $2 million taxpayer-subsidized minivan -- that's his "office on the road," even though there are more luxurious smaller planes he could have bought. Oh, and now that we bought it for him, he can also make $1,300 an hour leasing the thing out when he isn't using it.

The article notes that sales of used private jets have really "taken off in recent months as the tax change draws new, young and previously reluctant buyers off the sidelines[.]" We love a good airplane joke! Of course, having the taxpayers buy you a jet still isn't all champagne, hoors, and exciting midair shoot-outs in an action movie, either, because your company still has to be able to afford to keep the thing flying. George Rice, an accountant who advises people on whether they need a jet (they probably do) cautions that once they have one, it still needs care and feeding:

The costs, including the expense to operate the plane—jet fuel, maintenance, spare parts and hiring pilots—have to be reasonable for the company's size, and the plane has to be used for business, he said.

Mr. Rice estimates roughly half of prospective buyers who want to take the full write-off can do so under IRS rules.

It really isn't for everyone, especially not you poors! The used pre-owned jet market is tight thanks to the tax rewrite, and reasonably priced planes in good condition are getting hard to find -- although we aren't sure why that's a problem, since our little peon brains are thinking, "hey, the taxpayers will just buy me a pricier jet!" But we guess you have to come up with the jetdollars in the first place, and do enough business to offset whatever you pay.

Also, one tax lawyer who helps people grab the deduction tut-tuts some of the kids buying jets today, because they have some pretty flighty expectations (that one was OURS!);

Many are young people who "care a lot about the Wi-Fi in their airplane," she said, adding that she sometimes hears, "I want a Gulfstream."

Crazy millennials! Even so, the experts tell WSJ a lot of people are at the very least incentivized to get nicer, more expensive jets than they would without the writeoff.

One nice accounting-software exec seemed almost giddy about her firm's anticipated purchase of a bizjet, with a budget -- or bud-JET! -- of $10 million and a hoped for 100 percent write-off:

It goes from being completely unaffordable to being like, "Oh my God, not only is this not unaffordable but it's kind of a no-brainer."

Wikimedia commons

Don Catalano, a realty company dude in New York, is going to get a HondaJet Elite that has double the range of his company's boring old turboprop, and just look at all the great economic activity we're purchasing for AMERICA:

He said having a company plane has been critical to signing real-estate deals in off-the-beaten-path locations in Ohio and New Hampshire where commercial flights don't go and runways are tiny.

Armed with a budget of between $4 million and $6 million, Mr. Catalano said he wouldn't have even considered a new plane if not for the change in tax law.

"Would we have wanted it? Yes. Would we have done it? No."

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, AMERICA! Why, with all the money America's rich fuckwads are saving on jets, we bet something has to trickle down on the rest of us -- probably at least a hundred or so airplane-washing jobs nationwide, for sure.

[WSJ -- if paywalled, try the Twitter link]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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