By Kurtis Ming

OLIVEHURST (CBS13) — After 28 years as an Air Force mechanic, Rodge Edwards still loves planes as much as he ever did.

Edwards now restores old military planes in his hangar at the Yuba County Airport.

“I like seeing ’em fly again,” he said.

But he says the State of California is trying to tax him twice as much as he owes on the wreckage of an old plane he bought.

When the state threatened collections, he called Kurtis.

Edwards said it’s not easy finding parts. That’s why he spent $25,000 the wreckage of an old plane he said will never fly again.

The wreckage was auctioned off after wreck, which happened after the engine stopped in mid-air three years ago in Michigan.

Luckily, pilot was able to walk away from the crash.

“He was a very lucky individual,” Edwards said.

When you buy something out of state, California requires you to pay a use tax, which is much like a sales tax.

Edwards admits he hadn’t gotten around to paying it, when the state sent him a tax bill. Instead of the roughly $1,700 he thought he owed, Edwards said the state wanted about $3,500.

Edwards realized the state valued the plane at $50,000 — twice what he paid for it at auction.

“This is just absolutely ridiculous,” Edwards said.

Despite sending two documents — a confirmation of his winning bid and his bank wire transfer — proving he paid $25,000, he says the state is now threatening collections, wanting nearly $5,000 including late fees.

“I’ve even offered to bring it down and set it on the steps of the State Capitol and they can come look at it,” he said.

Tax attorney Steve Packey said the state sometimes relies on estimated values because some people may not tell the truth on a bill of sale, trying to save money on tax costs.

“It’s not uncommon for them to use estimates,” Packey said.

But Edwards has proof that’s not the case here.

“I think he has a strong argument with what he has,” Packey said.

The state’s Board of Equalization said it couldn’t talk about Edwards’ case but admitted it sometimes uses “industry guides for values of these items such as aircraft blue book.”

“When the taxpayer does not provide a bill of sale or other documents which identify the purchase price or the seller, an estimate is made,” BOE said in a statement.

“It’s crazy,” he said.

But after we got involved, Edwards said the state suddenly agreed to accept his proof and reduce the bill.

“I don’t like being accused of being dishonest,” he said.

Edwards said he has begun paying the correct tax bill.


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