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Michigan Senate Approves Sales Tax Exemption for Gun Safety Devices

  • Sep 18, 2015 | Gail Cole

 There is a move to exempt gun safety devices in Michigan.

The Michigan State Senate has passed legislation that would create a temporary sales tax exemption for firearm safety devices. If enacted, it could reduce state revenue annually by approximately $1 million. From the outset, the measure has been strongly supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Senate Bill 364 reads in pertinent part:

Upon the retail sale or transfer of a firearm, the seller shall provide a written notice to the purchaser and shall post in a conspicuous manner at all points of sale on the premises where firearms are sold a notice that says the following: “The State of Michigan has exempted the sale of firearm safety devices from the sales and use tax imposed by this state through December 31, 2017.”

A realistic way to promote safety?

The notification requirement is unusual. According to the supporting argument for the legislation, “The State should be doing all it can to promote gun safety.” More gun safety devices should mean fewer accidental shootings and “fewer firearms being stolen and later used for crimes.” The temporary nature of the tax exemption “could encourage people to buy these safety devices before the tax break expired.”

Those opposed to the legislation argue that most gun safety devices are inexpensive and therefore tax breaks would not be substantial enough to sway behavior. However, the exemption would effectively deprive the School Aid Fund of needed revenue.

The opposing argument also references other safety equipment (bike helmets, car seats, smoke detectors) that save lives and reduce injury and yet are not sales tax exempt (Bill Analysis).

Automated sales tax software (SaaS) facilitates management of sales tax and sales tax exemptions. Learn how it works.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
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.