Sunday, October 11, 2009

The IRS is Going to Require All Firearms to be Listed on Income Tax Returns-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
This story is that Congress is considering legislation that will require all firearms that a person owns be listed on that person's personal income tax return. Additionally, it may require fingerprints and tax of $50 per gun. This is said to be in SB2099, a bill in the United States Senate.

The Truth:
This was either a misreading of the actual bill or an intentional misrepresentation of it.

SB2099 was known as the "Handgun Safety and Registration Act of 2000." Some versions of the eRumor have changed the dated to 2009 but that was added by someone along the way. The bill died in a Senate committee and was never passed into law. reviewed some of the history and the text of the bill as well as a portion of the IRS code it sought to amend.

The bill would amended the National Firearms Act (NFA) to require registration of handguns in the same way as machine guns and short-barrel weapons. That process have would include photographs, background checks, fingerprinting, and restrictions on interstate transport. It would have also required a $5 tax for transferring ownership and a $50 tax per gun on gunmakers.

Nothing in the law required gun owners to list their guns on their income tax returns. That confusion may have come from the fact that the law refered to the Internal Revenue Service, but only because the act it sought to amend, the NFA, was a part of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

Also, there was language in the bill that refered to "return" information, but that wasn't about personal income taxes. It was about a database of gun registration information which this bill would have sought to allow law enforcement agencies to access online.

updated 08/07/09

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