Friday, April 29, 2005
"Hunt Now on the Pay-Never Plan" was the title of a newspaper article in the April 18, 2005, Arizona Republic by Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the U.S. His point: "A big-game hunter can shoot an exotic animal in Asia, in Africa or even at a drive-through 'canned hunt' here in the United States and write off his vacation at the expense of American taxpayers." Part of Markarian's concern was the tax incentive he saw the U.S. providing for the slaughter of animals. "In an ironic twist of so-called conservation," he said, "the more animals that are hunted, the more rare the species and thus the higher 'value' of the animal and tax break to the hunter." Our concern is with what can be done about exaggerated valuations of donated property short of simply banning fair market value as the measure of tax deductions for property donations. Related to that is our concern over the responsibility of tax practitioners when advising a taxpayer regarding those donations or preparing his tax return.