[Ansteorra-archery] The arrow tax

Doug Copley doug.copley at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 11:17:39 PDT 2008

Wow,I was not aware of any of this!! Thanx for the information and the 
background on it.


Eadric Anstapa wrote:
> The federal excise tax on archery equipment has been around for decades 
> and I never had a problem with it.  It was not just for archery 
> equipment but also various other  firearms and hunting and fishing 
> equipment.  The tax was traditionally 12.4%.  I have never had a problem 
> with it  because the funds raised from this tax  were relegated 
> specifically to wildlife conservation an education efforts and therefore 
> sportfishing and hunting type items is what was taxed.  For instance any 
> bow over 30# had to be taxed.  Any bow under 30 pounds and any arrow 
> under 18 inches did not have to be taxed (unless the short arrows were 
> intended for use in a taxable bow i.e. crossbow bolts) (the tax for bows 
> is 11%)
> If you manufacture and sell bows or crossbows then you have to collect 
> and submit the tax else you are guilty of federal tax evasion. The 
> statutes defined  "manufacturer" to include any person who produces a 
> taxable article from scrap, salvage, or junk material, or from new or 
> raw material, by processing, manipulating, or changing the form of an 
> article or by combining or assembling two or more articles.  The term 
> also includes a "producer" and an "importer'.
> The problem was that there were a lot of people doing lots of hinky 
> things to get around collecting the excise tax.
> For instance "arrows" were taxable.  Many shafts, fletches, nocks, and 
> target style points were not (hunting broadheads were not).   So what 
> was happening is that people would sell incomplete arrows and therefore 
> they would avoid the tax.
> Every wonder why if you ordered a set of arrows from some place like Red 
> Feather, F/S or other supplier they would ship finished shafts, with 
> nocks and fletches installed, shafts cut to your specified length and 
> with point tapers on them,  but the points would not be installed but 
> only included in the box?   That was so they could say that they had not 
> sold completed "arrows"  and therefore would avoid the federal excise tax.
> Ever see a bow marked as 30xx#  rather than 30#?  That was partially so 
> they could sell it as a 30# bow (untaxed) even it it actually drew over 
> 30#.  The same would be true for any bow that was marked as 30-35#.
> Arrows spined 30-35# people would often avoid the tax by simply saying 
> that they were not necessarily intended for bows over 30#.
> They then starting taxing all arrow components such as nocks, points, 
> shafts, etc. at 12.4% if they were suitable to be shot from a taxable 
> bow.  But there were people who had creative ways to get around that.  
> the would play with the "suitable to be shot from a taxable bow" part of 
> it.
> So to get people to pat the tax back in 04 to get people to collect the 
> tax for arrows they changed it to a per shaft tax.  They started off at 
> 39 cents and then crept up.  At the time a typical good set of wooden 
> shafts cost about $2 a shaft.  So the that was a pretty high tax equal 
> to about a 20% tax on traditional archers using wooden shafts.  But a 
> high tech modern carbon fiber shaft might sell for $10 a shaft so a 4% 
> tax was hardly noticed and even a typical good quality name brand 
> aluminum shaft cost about $5 a shaft so a 8% tax didn't seem onerous.  
> remember these costs are collected by the manufacturer, they are an 
> excise tax and not a sales tax, and since they are a fixed cost they are 
> built into the cost out of the factory and most archers and hunters were 
> and still are not even aware that the excise tax was even there.
> To be sure  the 39 cents per arrow shaft that crept up to 43 cents 
> unfairly burdened the traditional archer While the modern compound bow 
> shooter using Easton GameGetter shafts, or Gold Tip or Carbon Tech 
> hunter shafts hardly noticed the increase.
> Once they started taxing the shafts they dropped the tax on individual 
> components like fletches, nocks, and points.   So while your shafts may 
> have had a 43 cent tax on them,  you effectively should have seen  a 
> 12.4% reduction in price on points, nocks, fletches, etc.  But I never 
> saw any reduction in price on those components and those manufacturers 
> just seem to pocket that extra 12.4%.
> So the low end domestic manufacturers of wooden shafts for children 
> complain that they are driven out of business and that their sales have 
> dropped sharply.  While they did did carry an unnecessarily high portion 
> of the tax burden ins  the part of the equation here that is not 
> considered is that the availability of inexpensive imported composite 
> shafts for the low-end and children's market has increased.  A big part 
> of the reason why the sale of wooden children's arrows has decreased so 
> dramatically is that the  more people are instead buying fiberglass and 
> carbon for the kids since those shafts stay straight and last forever in 
> typical use.
> Don't get me wrong.  I am happy the tax has been modified so that it is 
> no so regressive, doesn't place as much of a burden on the low end, and 
> doesn't place more of the burden on the traditional archer.  the latest 
> revision of that tax code was flawed and they are trying to correct that 
> but in general I support the tax because those monies were earmarked to 
> go do things rather than simply going into the general fund for congress 
> to waste as they see fit.
> Regards,
> -EA
> Ulf Gunnarsson wrote:
>> As a reminder, this list is *not* for the discussion of controversial
>> modern world politics.  It's about archery here in Ansteorra.
>> So I won't go into my personal opinions of last week's economic bailout.
>> Catch me sometime off-list; I'll fill your ear.
>> The thing about it that is pertinent to us archers is: 43 cents.
>> Tucked into the new plan was something to fix the problems that hit us
>> in 2004 when a flat 43 cent tax was added to each arrow shaft.  It looks
>> like that is getting lifted or set back to a percentage (I haven't found
>> out which yet).
>> http://www.oregonlive.com/money/index.ssf/2008/10/an_oregon_arrow_maker_suffers.html 
>> I didn't notice a change yet in Rose City's prices, but this could mean
>> lighter weight arrows are going to be affordable again.  Rose City's
>> sales have dropped to a tenth of what they were four years ago.
>> I would be interested in hearing any details of the exact change and
>> when it will take effect.  We have several archers who shoot 30# bows or
>> lighter.
>> Various organizations have dropped their archery programs due to the
>> increased prices.  Namron has children shooters and I know we are not
>> alone.  Now would be a good time, in my opinion, for groups to step in
>> to that gap and pull in those kids that would have been shooting if
>> their scout group still had archery.  This isn't about the recruiting
>> potential; it's because we all know the good that learning archery does
>> for children, the focus and safety they learn, the social skills they
>> pick up.
>> Master Ulf Gunnarsson
>> Namron
>> ... trying to set aside that 45# recurve for the 32# longbow ...
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