Put the "Tax" Back in Taxidermy

Just before the Thanksgiving holidays, the U.S. Senate took steps to end a tax scam that has allowed trophy hunters to write off their big game safaris at taxpayers' expense.

In April, an HSUS undercover investigation revealed wealthy hunters killing mammals in Africa, Asia, and North America; donating the trophies to pseudo-museums; and then inflating the value of these trophies and taking a huge tax deduction for their "charitable" contribution. "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 Charles Grassley (R-IA) told The Washington Post.

Senator Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, tightened the language in the current tax code that deals with charitable contributions as part of the massive Tax Relief Act of& 2005 now working its way through Congress. The tax bill with the Grassley taxidermy language was approved by the full Senate on November 18. The House passed a different version of the tax bill today that did not address the taxidermy tax scam. Differences in the two bills, including the taxidermy language, will be ironed out by a conference committee.

Grassley's addition to the tax code will mean that instead of just taking trophy hunters at their word, the IRS will now require proof of the actual market value of their trophies. Trophy hunters would also be unable to write off their travel costs. Closing this loophole will save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and stop the taxidermy tax scam.

Please call today and ask your U.S. Representative, Jeff Flake, to support the Grassley taxidermy tax scam language. Even if your Representative is not on the conference committee, he or she can ask the House leadership and conferees to accept the Grassley taxidermy language from the Senate bill. You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Not sure what to say? Click here for a sample phone script and to send a follow-up email.

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