Arizona: Lawmakers consider first-in-the-nation tax credit for gun training

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At the end of January, Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro introduced HB 2494, which gives a maximum $80 tax credit to a gun purchaser for the costs of training courses or classes taken by the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse or dependent. The bill’s language establishes that the tax credit is for the purpose of “applying and qualifying for a permit to carry a concealed weapon…” If the amount of the tax credit ends up being more than the amount of tax due, the taxpayer may carry forward the unused credit amount for up to five years. On the other hand, if a person fails to qualify for the permit, or if the permit application is denied, the taxpayer may not claim the credit.

HB 2494 applies retroactively, from and after December 31, 2015.

On February 8, 2016, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the measure, so it proceeded on to the House Rules Committee.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety currently charges $60.oo for a new concealed weapons permit, though 12News reported that with a Groupon coupon, that cost could be as low as $29.99. While permit holders must take training classes, there is no actual permit requirement.

The Tax Justice Blog noted that this would be the first-ever tax credit of its kind in the nation. Rep. Montenegro thinks his bill will “encourage gun safety since individuals must attend firearms training classes to get a permit.” He also estimates that the first-of-its-kind tax credit would cost $1.9 million in revenue.

Other states are also considering gun safety tax credits. For example, Iowa Public Radio reported that the Hawkeye State’s Public Safety Committee approved, almost unanimously, a proposed tax credit on the purchase of a new gun safe for personal use from a qualified retailer. The one member who voted against the credit, Rep. Olson, opined that “responsible gunowners don't need a tax credit to own a gun safe…[t]hey're going to buy it on their own and they're not asking the state of Iowa to help them finance the purchase of their gun safe.”

The amount of the Iowa rebate would be half the cost of the purchase of a gun safe, up to $1,000. Any credit in excess of the taxpayer’s liability, while not refundable, may be carried forward for up to five years, or until it is used up, whichever occurs first.

Iowa’s tax credit is retroactive to January 1, 2016, for tax years beginning on or after that date.

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