Senator proposes tax break for whaling captains

Posted: Thursday, February 06, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eskimo whaling captains could be in line for a tax break if legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is approved.

Murkowski, R-Alaska has introduced a bill to grant a deduction of up to $10,000 to offset equipment and fuel costs for the annual subsistence whale hunts. The captains could claim the expense as a charitable tax deduction.

The measure won approval Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee.

The tax change was first proposed in 1997 because of an IRS ruling that prevented North Slope whaling captains from deducting any portion of their costs.

Murkowski said captains traditionally make all provisions for meals, wages and equipment associated with the hunt and donate a substantial portion of the whale to their villages.

If the captain was engaged in a business, he could deduct his costs and donations, Murkowski said.

Murkowski said the International Whaling Commission recognizes that the hunt in not carried on for financial gain and that Congress should too.

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