State bills to exempt taxes on home security, fire equipment

Friday, March 1, 2002

At least three states are currently considering legislation that would exempt certain security or fire equipment from state sales and use taxes, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

In New Jersey, S.B. 258 would exempt carbon monoxide detectors and any device or equipment sold for residential use to detect, warn of, abate or extinguish fires from sales or use taxes. That bill was introduced Jan. 8.

Just a day later, legislators from New York introduced S.B. 6063, and its counterpart, A.B. 9587, bills that would exempt the sales of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors from sales and use taxes.

Mississippi H.B. 807, introduced on Jan. 16, would give a tax credit to any individual taxpayer who pays home security expenses for his or her primary residence, the bill that most closely mirrors proposed legislation on the federal stage.

Industry officials have been closely following the Securing America Investment Act, a bill that would have allowed small businesses to deduct from their taxes the installation and purchase costs of security systems. The legislation, introduced as part of President George W. Bush's economic stimulus package, faces an uncertain future. At press time, the Senate had killed Bush's legislation after both Democrats and Republicans failed to muster enough votes to pass their respective versions.

"Everyone is talking about Homeland Security and realizing it's a perfect time to pass these types of bills," said David Johnson, government relations director for the NBFAA.