Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Commercial Fishermen See Gains in Measure
Passed By Alaska Legislature

A measure passed in the final days of the Alaska Legislature’s session simplifies the timing of tax payments to avoid unnecessary penalties, continues and expands certain value-added tax credits and provides credits for product upgrades.

Senate Bill 71 includes sections to help simplify the timing of fisheries resource landing taxes to avoid penalties, allows salmon hatcheries to collect cost recovery fees from Alaska’s salmon harvesters on a flat rate or percentage basis, and allows the processing sector to receive extended and expanded tax credits for innovation and seafood product development.

SB 71 allows fishermen to pay landing taxes in accordance with a schedule that coincides with the quarters when the actual fishing occurred, said Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, the initial sponsor of the legislation. It provides the same landing tax revenue quantity to the state, while eliminating unfair fees and fines for lateness that was beyond the control of Alaska’s fishermen, he said.

The bill also extends and expands the Alaska Salmon Product Development Tax Credit that is credited as a major factor in increasing the commercial value of Alaska salmon over the past few years, extending the credit for herring value-added processing.

By adding additional value to Alaska’s salmon and herring products, the seafood industry will provide additional revenue into the general fund in the form of an increase in landing tax contributions, United Fishermen of Alaska said.

The bill also creates incentives for the processing sector to stay ahead of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations by encouraging further development of product forms for seafood waste. The measure incentivizes investment in equipment to reduce the processing waste stream, alleviating the pressure to comply with specific EPA mandates.

The bill is expected to go to the office of Gov. Sean Parnell for signing shortly.

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