The “Wildlife” and “Sport Fish Restoration and Boating” Programs are funded through the collection of excise taxes and import duties paid by the manufacturers of sport fishing, archery and boating equipment, firearms and ammunition, and from the tax collected on the sale of fuel used in recreational powerboats. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, representing the States using the funds collected for on-the-ground restoration projects, asked the Federal Agencies responsible for collecting and managing excise taxes and import duties to search for ways to ensure accurate and consistent collection of taxes and duties and to exercise fair application of the tax code. Hence, the Trust Fund Collection Working Group (TFCWG) was formed to encourage cooperation and enhance communication among parties with interests and roles in the payment, prediction, collection, management, administration and expenditures of excise taxes and import duties that finance the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Fund of 1975. These two funds are the deposit accounts for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Account and the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Account, respectively. The management of these funds and accounts are dictated by law (26 U.S.C. 9504).
Trust Fund Collection Working Group Charter
- The partnership’s foundation is to ensure there is accurate and consistent collection of taxes and import duties and equitable and fair application of the tax code to support State fish and wildlife restoration and boating programs. Based on this common platform, members of the TFCWG and concerned partners identified the following mutually beneficial goals:
- Vitalize, formalize and expand collection efforts and encourage the recognition of commonalities and shared goals and to foster mutual support among all participants
- Identify common concerns and ways to resolve outstanding issues (task oriented outcomes), secure communication links, create efficiencies and synergistic actions among participants, and identify information and education needs and fill information voids
- Support the Federal tax collection agencies in their efforts to improve consistency in application of tax codes by developing: (a) tools to communicate the requirements of the tax code to manufacturers; (b) a clear message from tax collectors on how to comply with the tax code and on how the tax code will be applied; (c) answers to questions regarding the most commonly misunderstood provisions (e.g, Who is the manufacturer? Who is the importer? What is the constructive sales price? What constitutes related party sales?); and, (d) identifying how greater compliance with the tax code by industry benefits fish and wildlife restoration and boating programs
- Understand processes and roles of industry/manufacturers and Federal and State participants to protect the integrity of this initiative by: (a) reaching a common understanding of the history of supply chains and their affect on taxes collected; (b) improving process efficiencies (e.g., filing payments electronically and improving
ROLES/RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTIES
This unique tax collection and disbursement cycle affects the Federal Agencies that predict, collect, manage and administer these funds, the industry representatives and manufacturers that pay the taxes and import duties, and the State representatives that administer and expend these funds on wildlife and sport fish restoration projects. The initial membership of the TFCWG is listed below in the spirit of inclusion so that comprehensive and holistic approaches can be taken on identified key issues that need to be resolved. Membership on the TFCWG or on Committees can be expanded as necessary to address and resolve issues.
Trust Fund Collection Working Group Contact
Lori Bennett, USFWS