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Senate Passes Bill to Help Commercial Fishing Families in Alaska

Senate Bill 71 repairs glitches in landing tax statute currently causing unfair penalties

JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 71, sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna).   SB71 repairs glitches in the landing resource tax statutes and regulations which require the payment of unfair penalties and interest by well-intentioned commercial fishermen. 

Currently the resource landing tax is due before April 1st. However, the statewide average fish price report calculated by the Department of Fish and Game is not always out by then.  SB71 aligns the due date of the tax with the date that the report is released.

“As a commercial fisherman and a Senator from a coastal district, I understand the confusion and frustration caused by the current statutes,” said Senator Micciche. “This measure will allow fishing families to do what they do best -spend time fishing and not wasting time on inefficient and unfair government regulations that provide no value.”

“United Fishermen of Alaska is pleased with the passage of SB 71, which creates a fair and equitable seafood landing tax system,” said Julianne Curry from the United Fishermen of Alaska.   “SB 71 simplifies the current timing of seafood tax payments by aligning timing of reporting with the timing that the payment is due.  UFA applauds Senator Micciche’s efforts to simplify the Department of Revenue statutes to the benefit of the state of Alaska.” 

The current statute also includes provisions for equal quarterly payments.  Many Alaska fishermen and fisheries only operate in one of the four quarters.  Considering the seasonal nature of many fisheries and the variability in harvest, it is virtually impossible for resource landing taxpayers to accurately predict their full year’s harvest for equal payments.  With the passage of this legislation, fishermen can choose from three different methods to make their estimated landing tax payments in better alignment with their particular fishery. 

 “SB 71 allows fishermen to pay their landing taxes in accordance with a schedule that coincides with the quarters when the actual fishing occurred. It provides the same landing tax revenue quantity to the state, yet eliminates unfair fees and fines for   lateness that was beyond the control of Alaska’s fishermen,” said Senator Micciche.

SB71 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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