Outdoor Gear Company’s Error Spawns Rumors That Go Viral
|By Carole Fader|
Is it true that the health care law will apply a hidden tax to hunting and fishing equipment?
This viral email actually has an understandable reason behind it, though - mainly because an outdoors equipment company made a mistake and started rumors floating.
As we have written about previously, the Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3 percent excise tax on some medical devices to help pay for expanding health coverage for the uninsured. But it's a tax assessed to manufacturers and importers of medical devices, not one that consumers will have to pay.
Again, the tax applies to medical devices, such as pacemakers. A "retail exemption" in the law covers items generally purchased by the public for individual use, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and bandages. Some devices that are exported can be sold tax-free, too.
The viral email claims that
Still, before the story came out, some customers circulated images of their receipts online as evidence of the "hidden" tax in the health care law. And the issue is still appearing in area inboxes.
"One rumor alleged that retailers had begun passing their employees' insurance coverage costs onto consumers in the form of a medical excise tax. Other sites claimed that because the tax had been applied to shoes and shirts that clothing and footwear are now considered medical devices under the new law. Both speculations are false."
Arterburn told the
The viral email was made worse by inclusion of misinformation showing that the medical tax also applies to "sport fishing equipment; fishing rods and fishing poles; electric outboard motors; fishing tackle boxes; bows, quivers, broad heads, and points; arrow shafts; coal; taxable tires; gas guzzler automobiles; and vaccines." Not even close.
FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, Snopes.com and urban legend researcher
Emery notes that while you will indeed find items such as sport fishing equipment and bows and arrows listed as taxable in Chapter 5 of the publication, along with coal, tires, and gas-guzzling vehicles, none of these are categorized as medical device excise taxes. In fact, the fact-finding organizations say, every one of these items was subject to federal excise taxes before the Affordable Care Act.
Because of its almost total violation of the truth, PolitiFact.com rated this claim as "Pants on Fire."
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