ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOOTS DOWN TAX AIMED AT HUNTERS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- An opinion issued today by Alabama Attorney General Troy King apparently will stop plans by the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) to collect new taxes aimed at hunting establishments in the state. Jerry A. Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, praised King for his expediency in issuing the important opinion.
"Wildlife and hunting are among the few economic bright spots for rural Alabama," Newby said. "Hunting provides jobs and revenue for some of our state's poorest rural areas. Income generated from hunting allows farmers and other landowners to supplement their farm income, and it allows them to stay on the farm. We appreciate Attorney General Troy King and the work he did to address this issue."
Earlier this year, the ADOR announced a new rule that targeted hunting lodges, preserves and plantations as a new source of tax revenue.
Several Alabama Farmers Federation members who provide hunting services on their farms received letters from the ADOR saying they were subject to lodging, sales and amusement taxes. ADOR said it based collection of those taxes on an attorney general's opinion.
According to Federation Wildlife Director Steve Guy, an assistant attorney general in the ADOR issued the earlier opinion. Guy said the Federation's State Wildlife Committee opposed the new rule, as did other state wildlife organizations.
When the ADOR made it clear that it intended to proceed with collecting lodging and amusement taxes from hunting establishments, Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, asked for a subsequent opinion from King to clarify the earlier opinion.
King issued his own opinion today, clearly stating that hunting establishments are not subject to the state's amusement tax. He said it would require an act of the Legislature for such taxes to be legally collected. "The Legislature has amended (the code relating to such tax) several times since 1959 and could have easily amended this section to specifically include hunting or fishing activities," King wrote in his opinion. "The fact that the Legislature has not done so further supports the conclusion that hunting and fishing activities are not subject to amusement tax."
In his opinion, King also determined "any place that furnishes rooms, lodgings or accommodations on an irregular, fluctuating or varying basis is not subject to the state lodging tax."
To learn more about the Federation's Wildlife Division, visit www.AlfaFarmers.org and click on Commodities, then Wildlife Resources.