- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico landowners and ranchers are decrying the state’s claims that they may owe thousands of dollars in taxes on the sale of elk-hunting permits.

The state Taxation and Revenue Department is attempting to collect back taxes on transferable license authorizations landowners got from the Department of Game and Fish and sold, the Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1m1dFpZ).

The agency has sent out hundreds of notices in the past few months.

New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association executive director Caren Cowan says the collection effort has “turned the landowner industry on its head.”

“There has been a great deal of confusion,” Cowan said.

Some landowners are allotted authorizations that are converted to actual hunting licenses and they can sell them to hunters or outfitting companies.

According to the state, receipts from those sales are subject to gross receipts tax.

“Unfortunately, since no one knew about the rule, the landowners are being asked for records they didn’t keep on taxes they didn’t know they were supposed to pay,” said Dalene Hodnett, communications director for the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau.

The department is encouraging landowners to report gross receipts going back six or seven years and pay the taxes over the course of six months to have penalties and interest waived.

For some ranchers, it may just require working with outfitters they sold to. Outfitters would have to prove they paid the back taxes. Outfitters are advised to issue Non-Taxable Transaction Certificates to landowners to show the tax was done, according to Kerrie Romero, executive director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. It’s a practice that hasn’t been commonly done.

As for landowners who sold authorizations to hunters directly, they could be left in a bind.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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