President Signs Industry Excise Tax Bill into Law
by Larry Keane
The President has signed into law the Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010 (H.R. 5552). The bill passed the House of Representatives at the end of June by a vote of 412-6 and on August 5 it cleared the Senate by unanimous consent.
This important legislation corrects a longstanding inequity in the Internal Revenue Code by permitting firearm and ammunition manufacturers to pay the federal excise tax payment on a quarterly basis, just as other industries that support conservation through a federal excise tax do. Currently, firearms and ammunition manufacturers pay this tax on a bi-weekly schedule, forcing many manufacturers to borrow money to ensure on-time payment. Industry members spend thousands of staff-hours administering the necessary paperwork to successfully complete the bi-weekly tax payments — monies that are due to the federal government long before manufacturers are paid by their customers.
Importantly, HR 5552 pays for itself and does not add to the budget deficit. Nor does the bill lower the amount of conservation dollars collected by lowering the tax rate. It simply adjusts the payment schedule to a quarterly period.
The firearm and ammunition excise tax is the major revenue source for funding the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund (also known as the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund). Last year, firearm and ammunition manufacturers contributed approximately $450 million dollars to wildlife conservation through excise tax payments.
The signing of HR 5552 into law is a major victory for America's firearms industry, sportsmen and conservation advocates everywhere.