Closing Down the Safari Swindle

The U.S. Congress is on the verge of closing a tax loophole that has allowed trophy hunters to take big tax breaks for their big game safaris. Regular readers of HumaneLines have watched this issue wind its way through the legislative process. Your help is needed today to put the final nail in the coffin of this safari swindle.

The effort to close the trophy tax loophole began when an undercover HSUS investigation revealed that wealthy hunters were killing a few "extra" animals, donating the trophies to pseudo-museums (sometimes the "museums" are literally in someone's basement) then inflating the value of these trophies and taking a huge tax deduction for their "charitable" contributions. This sickening scam allows trophy hunters to kill rare exotic animals for free, reaping the benefits from a sort of "frequent-slayer program."

After The HSUS blew the lid off this scam, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) told The Washington Post, "The equivalent for non-hunters would be if someone bought a sweater in Paris, donated it to Goodwill, and took a tax deduction for the entire trip to Paris." Senator Grassley included language in the massive Tax Relief Act that would end the taxidermy tax scam and Grassley's bill passed the U.S. Senate. Congressional tax experts estimate that closing this loophole will save American taxpayers $43 million over the next ten years.

A different version of this bill passed in the U.S. House and did not include the trophy hunting tax loophole language. The differences between the two bills must now be ironed out and folded into one final bill. This negotiation is the responsibility of a few select members of the House and Senate tax writing committees. The final negotiated version of the bill, the conference report, will be voted on again before it is sent to President Bush for his signature.

Please ask your U.S. Representative, Jeff Flake, to urge the House Ways and Means Committee (the tax writing committee) to support the Grassley taxidermy tax scam language in the Tax Relief Act Conference Report. In order to eliminate the trophy hunting tax loophole, the Grassley language must be included in the final version of the bill. Click here to take action.

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