January 16th, 2014

20 Million Americans Are Involved in Target Shooting

target shooting infographic NSSF

Nearly all the folks who frequent this website are target shooters. Count yourself among millions — at least according to a study recently released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) at SHOT Show 2014. The study states that 20 million Americans enjoy target shooting — with pistols, rifles, and/or shotguns. Our nation’s twenty million target shooters spend an estimated $10 billion dollars a year on target shooting — if you count gun and ammo costs, accessories, transportation, lodging, and range fees. As you might expect, the guns themselves constitute the single biggest expense category — 39% of the ten billion-dollar total. Another 17% of the total is spent on accessories, optic, hand-loading equipment, and reloading supplies. (If we were to poll AccurateShooter.com members, we bet the share of money spent on reloading tools and components would be even higher).

The demographics of target shooting may surprise you. 70% of target shooters are male, while 30% are female, and that distaff segment is growing. By the numbers, target shooting is more popular than many well-known outdoor pastimes, including soccer (14 million players) and skiing (8 million participants).

Does the government benefit from target shooting? Yes indeed. The NSSF estimates that target shooting generates roughly $3,500,000 in local, state, and federal tax revenues each year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The total impact of target shooting on the American economy is $23 Billion per year according to the NSSF. That works out to $73 for every many woman and child in the USA.

targetinfogr01

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April 16th, 2012

IRS Tax Filing Deadline is Tuesday, April 17 this Year

Federal 1040 Tax DeadlineIf you haven’t heard by now, the deadline for filing Federal and state tax returns is tomorrow, April 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm. So you may have one more day than you expected. This year, the IRS has pushed out the deadline by two calendar days because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is Emancipation Day — a public holiday in the District of Columbia.

So, you have until midnight Tuesday. Year 2011 returns must be post-marked or e-filed by that time, unless you file for an extension. If you do get an extension, be aware that you still have to pay all taxes owed by the deadline. Submitting Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time), can give you more time to file your Fed tax return, but it does NOT extend the time to pay. Also, if you need an extension, you may have to file a separate extension request for your state returns.

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June 26th, 2011

IRS Increases Mileage Deduction to 55.5 Cents per Mile

mileage deduction logWe know many of our readers run their own businesses. Here’s important news for small business owners, gunsmiths, and independent contractors. Effective July 1, 2011, the IRS has raised the mileage deduction for business-related travel from $0.51 to $0.555. The IRS made this unusual midyear change in response to the sharp rise in gas prices, which now exceed $4.00 per gallon. So, for business trips conducted between 7/1/2011 and 12/31/2011, you should deduct 55.5 cents per mile traveled. To qualify for this deduction, you need to keep detailed records of each trip (date, destination, purpose, mileage) and you must claim the mileage on your Schedule ‘C’ at tax time.

Effect on Employees: Even if you don’t file a Schedule ‘C’ (as a business owner), this change may affect you. USA Today explains that: “The [mileage deduction] rate is also used as a benchmark by the federal government and many businesses to reimburse their employees for mileage. Workers who receive the reimbursement don’t have to report it as income, as long as the payments don’t exceed the IRS benchmark.”

After initially saying it would not change the mileage deduction in mid-year, the IRS relented, announcing new rates on June 23, 2011, which are effective July 1st. The deductible business travel rate will rise to 55.5 cents a mile. That’s an increase of 4.5 cents from the 51 cent rate currently in effect. Also going up by 4.5 cents between July 1 and Dec. 31 of this year will be the mileage deduction for medical or moving expenses which were increased from 19 cents to 23.5 cents per mile.

mileage deduction logTAX TIP: If you deduct business-related mileage we suggest you keep a little log-book in your vehicle. Write down the date of your trip and the starting mileage. When you reach your destination, write down the ending mileage. If it is a round-trip journey, you can log the end mileage when you return — but be sure to record your destination and a few notes to explain the purpose of the trip.

There are also expense reporting Apps for smartphones that allow you to record mileage. However, be sure to back up your digital deduction logs so that they don’t get lost if your phone goes haywire or if the battery dies.

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August 20th, 2010

Today You’re Finally Working for Yourself (Not the Taxman)

According to FiscalAccountability.org, this year the average American toiled from January 1 through August 19, 2010 just to pay the total burden of government taxes, fees, surcharges, and mandatory withholding. In other words, August 19th was the day on which the average American had earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels. So enjoy today, August 20th. You finally get to spend the money you earned!

Cost of GovernmentThe latest report by the Center for Fiscal Accountability reveals that “Working people must toil 231 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government — 8 days later than last year and a full 32 days longer than 2008.” Think about that — this year you worked a full month longer for the government than you did two years ago. It sort of like being in a leaky lifeboat and you have to keep bailing faster and faster just to stay afloat. According to the Report, the cost of government now consumes an astonishing 63.41% of national income!

We do question some of the assumptions used for this calculation — after all most wage-earners do keep more than half their income, even after taxes. Nonetheless, there is no question that government spending, at all levels, is rising, and significant new taxes are in the works. To learn more about the tax burden on the average American, you can download the 2010 Cost of Government Day Report. Even if some of the numbers in the report over-state the immediate problem, it is undeniable that government spending is increasing at an alarming rate.

In the interest of balanced reporting, we note that another watchdog organization, the Tax Foundation, has calculated that “Tax Freedom Day” occurred on April 9th, 2010, one day later than in 2009. This would be the day when Americans have collectively earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. Why the big difference in the Tax Freedom dates (April vs. August)? Well the Tax Foundation looks at actual tax revenues collected, while the Center for Fiscal Accountability calculates tax burden based on total government spending and obligations. Since the federal government (and many states) are engaged in massive deficit spending, the spending-based tax burden is actually much larger than current tax collections.

The Tax Foundation explains: “Tax Freedom Day does not count the [federal] deficit even though deficits must eventually be financed. Since 1948, when Tax Freedom Day was first calculated, the difference between what governments are spending and what they’re collecting has never been as great as during 2009 and 2010. If Americans were required to pay for all government spending this year, including the $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit, they would be working until May 17 before they had earned enough to pay their taxes — an additional 38 days of work.” If you add in debt service, local taxes, and other factors you can push the Tax Freedom date out even further — this explains, in part, how the Center for Fiscal Responsibility came up with August 19th.

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April 18th, 2010

Special MidwayUSA Discount Ends Today, April 18th

Today, Sunday April 18th, is the last day to take advantage of MidwayUSA’s special “TAX RELIEF” promotion. With this limited-time offer, you can get $15.00 off any $150.00 order, or $25.00 off any $250.00 order. Don’t delay, as the clock is ticking — MidwayUSA’s TAX RELIEF offer ends at 11:59 PM Central Time on April 18, 2010.

MidwayUSA Tax Relief Promo

Here’s how it works. Enter the promotion code in the box entitled “Promotion Code” on the shopping cart page. You will see the discount on the Confirmation page before placing your order. This promotion is limited to one per Customer and one promotion code per retail order. The offer applies to in-stock products only and the offer cannot be combined with Birthday, Special or Dealer Pricing, and the offer is NOT valid on MidwayUSA Gift Certificates and Nightforce products.

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April 1st, 2009

California Imposes Strict New Regulations on Airguns

Air Rifles CaliforniaAir rifles and air pistols are not considered “firearms” under federal law. Therefore, in all 50 states, air rifles and air pistols can be purchased “over the counter”, without background checks. The lack of controls on pneumatic guns has long troubled many California lawmakers who have “taken aim” at the airgun industry with tough new legislation. This year, California extends its sweeping gun-control policies to air rifles and pistols under the terms of new legislation, AB 1984, recently codified into law. Under this bill, air rifle and pistol owners will be required to pay an “Air Excise Tax” on all canister refills and CO2 propellants. In addition, all refills must be done by state-licensed air refill centers operated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In order to qualify for refills (and purchase propellant cartridges), air rifle and pistol owners must first obtain a state-endorsed “Air User Certificate”, which will cost $95.00, renewable annually. These new regulations take effect June 1, 2009.

Air Compressor California

New Law Carries Stiff Penalties, Yet Fear of Air “Black Market” Persists
Recognizing that air is an abundant and otherwise free resource, the new law contains tough provisions to prevent air rifle and pistol owners from filling their air canisters from non-approved sources. Any air rifle/pistol owner caught refilling canisters from a private pump or compressor will be subject to a $10,000 fine for the first offense, with criminal penalties (up to 5 years in prison) for repeat offenders. This may, initially, cause some practical problems. Currently, CARB has no certified filling stations for airguns, and given California’s current budgetary crisis, it may be many months before the first filling stations come on-line. In the mean-time, using $8.3 million in Federal Stimulus funding, CARB will hire 65 “Air Security & Surveillance Officers” (ASSOs) to find scoff-laws who continue to fill their airguns with unregistered air. Some observers worry that one unfortunate side-effect of AB 1984 could be the creation of a criminalized “black market” for air in the Golden State.

Air Compressor CaliforniaDemocratic legislators praised the new regulations. An official statement by the Assembly Democratic Caucus declared: “This is a great day for all Californians. Air rifles can be just as dangerous as powder-fired weapons. These air rifles are silent killers and even when used for target sports they can put your eye out.” California Governor Schwarzenegger did not issue a formal statement about the new Air Excise Tax. However an aide to the Governor, who declined to be named, remarked: “Look, this state is $40 billion in the red. Any new revenue source is welcome.” Off the record, he added: “We tax gasoline, we tax real estate, we tax health care, we tax income, we tax all the products you buy in stores, and we even tax you when you die. Why not tax air? It’s brilliant. Heck, if we could tax sunshine, we would”.

The California State Employees Union also expressed support for the new legislation, noting that it would create up to 200 new, permanent high-paying jobs. Sacramento has an abundance of workers skilled in the dispensing of hot air, so CARB believes it can quickly fill the new positions mandated by AB 1984. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (CLAO), tasked with estimating the costs of new legislation, has predicted that Air Excise Tax revenues should “more than cover the hardware costs of air filling stations.” However, the CLAO cautioned that “attendant administrative and enforcement costs, including salaries, entitlements, and mandatory pensions, could run into the tens of millions of dollars annually.” Asked to comment on those projected costs, AB 1984’s author, Assemblywoman Juanita Wilson (D. Berkeley), observed: “Let’s worry about that later. This is about Hope and about Change…we’re doing this for the children. Plus California needs jobs, and my ground-breaking legislation will put hundreds of Californians back to work.”

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