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Wa. State Gun Clubs - Sales Tax on Membership

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Over-the-Hill, Feb 15, 2008.

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  1. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Auburn, Washington
    I'm posting this question here because we really don't have a state club e-mail list and I need info ASAP. I belong to the Black Diamond Gun Club. We just went through an audit for state sales tax. The audit went well we thought iniatially. We got "nicked" for a few items that were purchased for club use that we didn't pay state sales tax on. Mostly things that were ordered from out of state. Our accountant then got a call back several days after the audit. The auditor said that it was his opinion that we should be paying state sales tax on our yearly membership dues. He was basing this on Health Clubs who have to pay sales tax on thier's. So, has any other Washington club heard anything about this? Does any other club pay state sales tax on their membership dues? Has any other club been audited lately and was this brought up? Please e-mail me @ tmdukes@msn.com. If you leave a phone number I'll call you.
    Thanks,
    Marion Dukes
     
  2. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    Done,
    Thanks,
    Eric.
    Marion
     
  3. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Rebel - Are you in Washington State? If you are, please e-mail me and let me know what club so I can call them.
    Thanks,
    Marion
     
  4. Phil E

    Phil E TS Member

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    Are there legal precedents in Washington State for other types of clubs? Have any WA residents who belong to golf or country or other clubs seen a push by the State Dept of Revenue to try to collect sales tax on membership dues? If so, is there a rationale? Is WA state saying membership dues are taxable where certain types of services are offered by the club, like use of machines in a health club, but are not taxable when those services aren't offered? Phil E
     
  5. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Location:
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    Come on guys. I know there are more Washington club members on this site. This potentially could effct all of us. Per the state,4 years back taxes on membership dues at our club is $16,000. Can any of us afford to take a hit like this.
    Marion Dukes
     
  6. Big Heap

    Big Heap TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    The legislature is going crazy. Check this out.

    Subject: Fw: Vehicle License Fee Bill SB6900



    This was passed to me from a good friend, some of you know Jim. I've heard of the and it's the first time I've been able to read about it. We all need to fight this, they seem that they are never going to get off this taxing thing till they get all our $. I drove my Dodge Dakota less than 1,000 miles last yr and only 1,000 miles the yr before so I'll be taxed $400.00 just to keep it parked in my yard. We are all in this same boat if this bill passes.



    Subject: Vehicle License Fee Bill SB6900




    Them damn demorats are at it again!!!!!!!! This is the kind of thing we can look forward to only on a national level if Hillary or Obama get elected. More damn taxs. They see us as their personnel “cash machine” to implement their liberal, leftist, socialist ideology.



    "Taxes aren't just about money. It's about power and control. Every tax is a transfer of power and control from the people to the

    government. The idea of every tax is that the money will do more good in the hands of some government flunky than in the hands of the folks who earned it."

    --James R. Mace



    Vehicle License Fee Bill SB6900


    There is a bill that the Washington State Legislature is trying to pass in Olympia that, if successful, will directly add huge costs to our vehicle license fees. Everyone needs to know about so this situation so that you can contact your representatives and voice your objection.

    The bill is SB 6900 and it adds an "engine displacement" fee to the vehicle license tabs upon renewal.

    The fee has a varied amount depending on the size of the vehicle's engine:

    Engine Size (liters) Rate Schedule
    Up to 1.9 $0
    2.0 - 2.9 $70
    3.0 - 3.9 $225
    4.0 - 4.9 $275
    5.0 - 5.9 $325
    6.0 - 7.9 $400
    8.0 or over $600

    For each car & truck that you own, calculate the rate by matching the engine size in liters to the dollar amount. Add the amounts for each vehicle and you'll see that the average two car family will be paying $500+ every year in "displacement fees" on top of the normal license fees. If you have three vehicles, you'll be paying even more.

    The average family is already struggling with the high cost of gasoline, electricity, food and everything else, and our lawmakers want us to pay more, thinking we have unlimited deep pockets. This will do great damage to the budgets of retirees on fixed incomes as well.

    Now is the time to be very vocal against this bill.

    I have contacted all of our representatives, and I would encourage everyone reading this to do the same.

    Here's the web page for the bill where you can read the text: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6900&year=2007


    Here's the link for contacting your representatives:


    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx




    If we don't threaten mass rebellion over this, they'll pass this bill and we'll be paying huge fees every year on top of their increase in
    the gas tax. They have to know that we won't stand for any more taxes or increase in licensing fees. I've told my representatives that I will actively work to see that any lawmaker that supports this bill is replaced at election time.

    Please contact your legislators, then copy the text of this email, and forward it to as many people as possible that you know in Washington State, and encourage them to contact their representatives and strongly voice their objection to this bill.

    Marlene K. Wenger
    Attorney at Law
    107 N. Tower, #16
    Centralia, WA 98531
    Phone: 360-623-1060
    Fax: 360-623-1059


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jim Mace
    NRA Life Member
    Certified Firearms Instructor,
    Training Counselor &
    Chief Range Safety Officer
    "Colt - Don't leave home without one!"
    (360)340-5061
     
  7. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Location:
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    Up - One more time.
    Marion
     
  8. blackfoot

    blackfoot Member

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    Washington state gun clubs any response????????? Or are you next?
     
  9. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

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    It seems your club accountant should have been aware of this or the CPA your club should have on retainer to oversee the books being done correctly would have known of this as well.

    Who has been doing your taxes for the last 4 years? Why are you not asking that person what is the story and scoop on this situation.
     
  10. mercedesman1981

    mercedesman1981 TS Member

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    Big Heap - SB 6900 was still-born.

    O-T-H - AS far as paying taxes on membership dues, I belonged to two clubs and didn't pay membership taxes at either one, actually 3 clubs all in Snohomish county now that I think about it.

    Mike
     
  11. Phil E

    Phil E TS Member

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    Mr. Newbius, it's possible you're missing the point. You seem to be presuming the state is acting within the law, and the club's accountant was uninformed. It looks to me like the opposite may be the case, the state of WA Dept of Revenue is trying to bend existing law & tax advisories to try to make them fit gun clubs. Even if they're wrong, which is very likely the case since other clubs have never heard of this, the club can only 1.) pay, or 2.) file an appeal and fight it, in court if necessary. This will cost money. Quite a lot. The DOR no doubt sees themselves in a no-lose situation. The worst that'd happen to them is, some judge would say no you can't collect this tax, and they'd stop collecting it. The judge wouldn't fine the DOR, because that'd just be collecting taxpayers' money to pay the fine. The only way I see to prevent this kind of extortion would be if there were personal civil or criminal penalties for a shakedown operation like this, and to see that you'd need to prove they knew better, and weren't "just" incompetent gov't employees doing their best; tough to prove. Phil E
     
  12. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

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    So its all some sort of governmental conspiracy of some sort.
     
  13. Over-the-Hill

    Over-the-Hill Member

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    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    The query on this website was to see if any other club has been paying tax on their dues and their initiation fees. So far there has been very little response to the question until now. The state is filing their report and we should receive the official findings anytime. Our taxes for the past 10 years have been prepared by an accountant and this appears to be a new shot at raising revenue. Or as a back door method of gun control via trying to bankrupt the smaller gun clubs. Who knows. At our last club meeting, we voted to challege this ruling. This will be expensive and if we loose, it will surely effect all the clubs in Washington.
    Marion D.
     
  14. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

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    Marion - why challenge this on your own, why not contact any and all membership ranges and clubs in the state and see if they may want to get into the fight not only to defray the cost of the challenge but to also show solidarity and that they cannot "F" with a large group as you think they are doing now.
     
  15. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    Your local professional should be able to discuss the issues with you in detail. First, I don't practice in Washington, so take it FWIW. Second, maybe you already know all of this, I'm just trying to help.

    It seems Washington taxes just about everybody. Your situation likely falls under "amusement and recreational services", which by the definition would certainly seem to apply to gun clubs. This is the same section that applies to physical fitness clubs.

    Based on a quick reading of rulings, it would seem that strictly membership dues would be deductible in determining your taxable sales for sales tax purposes; that is, not taxable. But, if members get anything in return for their dues, it would be a different story. Some awkward allocations can be required. Shooting fees etc. would seem to be taxable.

    If your charges for shooting fees are too low, maybe they are trying to argue that the dues are subsidizing the activities (shooting) and are therefore taxable.

    Good luck.
     
  16. Phil E

    Phil E TS Member

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    870: Good observations. It does look like WA State wants to tax any recreational service. In WA, golf club membership may be more comparable for this type of taxation than fitness clubs, as there's a social aspect to a golf club that seems similiar to gun clubs. Many golf & gun club members appear to belong just for the social aspects, & use the facility rarely if at all. It'd be interesting to know if other WA gun clubs have faced this issue. Phil E
     
  17. jalu

    jalu Member

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    As one of the board of directors of a WA. state gun club I can say that we have not heard of the taxing of membership dues, nor have we been contacted by the WA. Dept. of Revenue...yet.
    Over the Hill, contact me via the personal messages board if you will please.

    jalu
     
  18. acre44

    acre44 Member

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    Check out the link below. This is a court case from the Washington State Revenue Department. Do some more research on their site to find out more.


    http://taxpedia.dor.wa.gov/isysquery/25673b1b-72fb-42a7-94ff-1cce880bf935/9/doc/
     
  19. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    A brief examination of the above linked case leads me to the conclusion that a valid argument exists to consider a gun club more like a country club than a health club.

    It could be lawyer time. That said, A retired state auditor is a member of our club, and got the lucky job of meeting with a federal auditor for a 3 day stint on our books.

    Very intelligently, he allowed the fed guy a bone, letting our E board's stipend (a picayune amount, meant for travel expense and inconvenience) be considered income, and taxable via 1099.

    Bottom line is that he had to go away with something. But he only got a fingertip instead of an arm or a leg.

    Hone your negotiation skills.

    HM
     
  20. Phil E

    Phil E TS Member

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    Acre44, that's an interesting ruling, thanks for pointing it out, and for the site. It may not have a lot of direct application to gun clubs, but the thinking behind the tentacles of laws cited there makes interesting reading for a WA State shooter.

    Halfmile: I agree with you. People join a fitness/health club simply to have access to the equipment, the don't join to socialize, and membership doesn't give voting rights. Gun clubs seem to me to more resemble golf & country clubs, maybe even chess & checker clubs. Phil E
     
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