By Janell Pederson, NDAC Licensing Specialist
As the licensing specialist for the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, one of my responsibilities is to collect aircraft excise tax and registration fees from aircraft owners. Let me tell you…it’s not always fun collecting tax. Who wants to pay more for an item they just spent hard earned money on?In my line of work… I have found that there is a grand total of ‘zero’ aircraft owners who ‘want’ to pay tax. Believe me, I’ve heard it all, some just use more irate voices than others.
My job is necessary, however, as these funds are utilized to provide infrastructure grants so our communities may continue to maintain and develop the very airports that we all enjoy. Very similarly to the tax and registration that is paid to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) for vehicle purchases for road development and maintenance, these funds serve the same purpose, but for our 89 public-use airports.
The Spring 2023 Fly-ND Quarterly introduced you to Hyral “Buddy” Walker Jr (pages 24-25.) I wanted to share a story of how the tax collector and the chaplain developed a friendship, after taxes were paid.
I was introduced to Buddy because…I taxed him. I reached out to him to let him know that a tax and registration was due on his aircraft and he really didn’t like that idea. We then communicated back and forth many times…. since we all know that it isn’t fun paying taxes. After understanding where North Dakota receives its funding to maintain our airports and realizing that there were no loopholes to be found, though several attempts were made, Buddy came around and has become a very good friend to us. Buddy is now heading back to Texas after retiring from the U.S. Air Force and being stationed as a Chaplain in Minot, ND. Before he left, he flew to Bismarck to meet with us in person. He has even been able to partake in the North Dakota Passport Program, where has been able to see first-hand some of the different airports that our state has to offer. We wish Buddy Blessings & Blue Skies!
I now have an autographed issue of the Quarterly addressed to “My Favorite Tax Collector” – and you can find it framed at my desk when you come to visit!