July 24, 2008

Crapo, Baucus Seek Reform Of Sporting Taxes

Introduce legislation for quarterly, not bi-weekly, tax payments

Washington, DC - Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Max Baucus (D-Montana), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, have introduced legislation to change the way federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition are collected from businesses. Supporters of the legislation, including national sporting and firearms advocacy groups, say the legislation could provide more money for state wildlife preservation programs by easing restrictions surrounding the collection of the excise taxes.

Federal law requires manufacturers of sporting arms and ammunition to pay excise taxes into the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Fund. That fund fuels habitat restoration and other efforts to help wildlife under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). However, firearms and ammunition manufacturers are treated differently than other related businesses, and must pay the federal taxes every two weeks. The Crapo-Baucus legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require quarterly, not bi-weekly, tax payments. A similar tax scheduling change four years ago for the archery industry resulted in an increase of nearly $15 million in revenue to the Wildlife Restoration Fund.

"Switching to a quarterly excise tax payment system allows manufacturers to reinvest funds into researching and developing new products, purchasing new machinery and potentially increasing marketing," Crapo said. "This action could result in increased sales and, eventually, more money for wildlife programs. Forcing the firearms and ammunition industry to this sharply-higher standard of tax payments is discriminatory and patently unfair."

Supporters of the legislation include Ducks Unlimited, the National Rifle Association, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, National Wild Turkey Foundation, North American Wetlands Conservation Council and Pheasants Forever. Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.