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Alabama Bill Seeks Higher Tax for Sexually Oriented Material


 Books that are "sexually oriented" could soon be taxed at a higher rate in Alabama.

Should sexually oriented materials be subject to excise tax as well as sales and use tax in Alabama? Some lawmakers think they should. To that end, legislation has been introduced that would “levy an excise tax, in addition to the sales and use taxes, on the receipts from the sale of sexually-oriented materials.”

HB 39 seeks to impose an additional 40% state excise tax and an additional 10% local excise tax on the gross receipts from the sale or rental of “sexually-oriented material.” The bill underscores the fact that sales of such materials to minors are prohibited. Revenue generated by the 40% state excise tax would be applied to the State General Fund. Revenue from the additional 10% excise tax would be split between the county and municipality where the sale took place.

The tax would apply to sales of all types of sexually oriented materials, including but not limited to the following:

  • Animation
  • Book, magazine, and printed or written matter, writing, description
  • Drawing, image
  • Electrical or electronic reproduction
  • Film, motion picture
  • Sound recording
  • Telephone communication

However, this additional tax would not apply to any motion pictures designated as “R” or “NC-17” by the Motion Picture Association.

The bill was introduced on August 3, 2015, and referred to the House Ways and Means General Fund committee. Projections indicate it will add to the General Fund, which sorely needs a boost, although exact numbers are unavailable.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.