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What are excise taxes

Discussion in 'Legal' started by ar10, Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    I really hope this doesn't turn into a political bashing. I was at the local cigar store yesterday and and the owner showed me the new excise taxes that go into effect April 9th, everything looks like it's going to quadruple in price. That got me into thinking what exactly is an excise tax. I looked at a couple of places and every definition seem pretty vague. Some of the definitions refer to it as "punishment tax" in order to protect and pay for services harmful to the general public.
    I'm just wondering if ammunition and guns could be classified as "harmful to the general public" and how it would impact purchasing ammo and any gun related items. (From what I read they're taxing rolling papers and just about anything that has to with smoking, so I'm guessing everything some cleaning patches to guns could be taxed).
     
  2. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Quit giving anybody ideas.
     
  3. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Excise taxes have been imposed by federal, state and local governments on everything from guns and ammunition to telephone calls to cars to cigarettes to fishing tackle boxes to parts of arrows.

    They may be imposed on purchases, or on possession. Mainers pay annual excise taxes on their vehicles, based on original purchase price and depreciated over the years. That's the main reason we all drive such old vehicles.
     
  4. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    I'm not sure about ammo but guns already have an excise tax on them. That's why an AR is less expensive in pieces than if it is complete from the factory.
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    It is a tax on goods paid on goods (not income) by a manufacturer within the country as opposed to an import duty paid by an importer on goods brought into the country.

    It is not necessarily a "sin tax" but may be used for that purpose.

    Politicians impose excise taxes so they can claim to be "taxing big business rather than the common people." In fact, businesses only pass the tax on to their customers, so the "common people" pay anyway but continue to trust the politicians.

    Jim
     
  6. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    I work for a major telecommunications company, and I can confirm what Duke said about excise tax being imposed against phone calls.

    Anyway, they're just taxes on things that the government feels it is entitled to for some reason or another.

    Basically they figure that since it's not tea, we probably won't be tossing our cell phones, tobacco and tackle boxes into boston harbour.
     
  7. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    Taxation is theft.
     
  8. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    Hi Zundfolge,

    Taxation is payment for necessary public services. However, anything over one penny collected in tax needed for those services is legalized theft. The difference is slight but important.

    Selena
     
  9. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    There's already an excise tax on guns and ammo. The money from that tax goes back to the states to support things like conservation programs, hunting, fishing, etc.
     
  10. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

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    Don't forget that any tax on arms is an infringement.

    Woody
     
  11. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    I disagree. Any unreasonable tax, like the NFA taxes, sure. But reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them.
     
  12. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    So an excise tax can simply mean just about anything, gambling, prostitution, ad nauseam. The point is, nearly anything can be taxed to raise revenue. Every definition I read makes it very clear the term is purposely vague. My gut feeling is tobacco and liquor is not the only item that going to go through the ceiling, any weapons related items will too.

    There is a difference though. Sales taxes and VAT's are a percentage where excise tax is a fixed amount.
     
  13. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Ammunition has an 11% excise tax, paid by the manufacturer, and of course added into the price. And then you have all the state and local taxes on top of that.
     
  14. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    The question is not about the right to own a product, but the right to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right and the chilling effect of a special tax on the exercise of that right.

     
  15. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

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    ANYTHING that comes between you and your arms is an infringement. In some cases it can mean the difference between owning and not owning an arm. There are no uncertainties in the meaning of "infringe".

    Woody
     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Excise taxes on firearms were asked for by hunters, way, way back, to be used in wildlife management and restoration--particularly restoration. We were danged near out of deer and turkey, in many areas.

    Excise taxes for purely revenue purposes (general fund) include such things as the "temporary" tax on cosmetics and telephones, back in WW II.
     
  17. Lightninstrike

    Lightninstrike Member

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    Amazing what you learn on this forum.
     
  18. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Actually, the federal communications excise tax, imposed under section 4251 of the Internal Revenue Code, was created in 1898 to pay for the Spanish American War.
     
  19. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    The new cigar taxes are a result of the SCHIP program. You know, the Child's Health Care program that provides health care to people who are not children, poor, or even citizens. Anyway, the tax has been capped at .40/cigar. If this quadruples the price on your cigars, you're not smoking very good ones!
     
  20. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    gc70, you are correct. If it is a special tax on a constitutionally protected item, it is an infringement. If it is the same tax everyone pays on other items, then it is not an infringement. So sales tax on ammo is not an infringement, a special excise tax is. Too bad few in the .gov or the courts agrees.
     
  21. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    So I should boycott the local gun store for not just giving me guns? After all, charging for them comes between me owning them, so it is infringing on my rights, according to your arguement.

    Like I said, unreasonable taxes are an infringement. The ATF $200 tax on class III weapons is an infringement. But an 11% excise tax that makes a $10 box of ammo cost $11.10 is not. Because that $1.10 is not keeping anyone from being able to afford the ammo. The $200 tax on class III items was imposed to keep people from being able to afford them.

    Reasonable taxes on products are not an infringement on your right to own them. If those taxes are so high that it makes it difficult to afford the product, which would be an infringement, then they are not reasonable taxes.

    Look, I don't like paying taxes either, but claiming that you can't reasonably tax guns and ammo because of the second amendment is just silly.
     
  22. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    After reading the different posts, no one has stated the excise tax charged for anything is regulated. In other words excise taxes can be anything the government wants to charge, in fact any gun related item can be taxed 300 or 1000 times the amount the item is worth just to keep individuals from harming themselves or other people, liquor and tobacco come to mind, I think it's referred to as a "punishment tax".
    I can see that as a future strategy with any gun related item and there doesn't seem to be any way to stop it. It's not 2nd amendment infringement because liquor and tobacco has been taxed beyond their profit for years now. It's the simplest way to shut down gun/ammo sales w/o having to go to court.
    Now tell me if my argument is misguided or just wrong.
     
  23. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

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    How is taxing guns any different than having to pay a poll tax in order to exercise your right to vote? (Which was summarily declared unconstitutional.)

    Who gets to decide what is and what isn't too much to pay in taxes?

    It's not a violation of the second amendment; it's a violation of the twenty-fourth. Although, then we get back to the whole "arms are protected, but ammo isn't" tirade.
     
  24. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    A poll tax is different from, say, a sales tax imposed on copying services provided to duplicate campaign literature.
     
  25. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    A poll tax is a tax on an action. A tax on a gun or ammo is a tax on the sale of a product. If it were a tax to own guns (like say you had to pay annually for the right to own guns), then it would be a fair comparison.

    There is a tax on gas, even when that gas gets you to the polls. Comparing the excise tax on guns and ammo to a poll tax is just as accurate as comparing a gas tax to a poll tax. It is an unrelated comparison in both cases.
     
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