Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Tax Alarm Company Accounts

A bill introduced by the Virginia General Assembly that would impose a new tax on security company accounts passed the Senate today after meeting heavy opposition by alarm industry associations across the country.

Senate Bill 1006 would require alarm dealers to pay $2.50 per account each month; however, the bill is expected to fail once it reaches the House.

Tax revenue from the bill is intended to finance the “Line of Duty Health Benefits Trust Fund,” which assists disabled employees and families of firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Steve Doyle, executive vice president of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), tells SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION the outcome of the Senate vote was expected.

“It’s a sign of the times that we live in: legislatures thinking that taxing more on businesses is the answer to the problem,” Doyle says. “But we do not believe that it will pass in the House. We think it is probably dead for this year, but no doubt, we will see a resurrection of this at some point in time.”

Industry associations including the Virginia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (VBFAA), CSAA, the National Burglar and Fire alarm Association (NBFAA), the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) have all been unanimous in opposing the bill, according to Doyle.

“Singling out an industry to fleece is a bad precedent. Tax is supposed to be fair and equitable. [This bill is] almost a penalty,” Doyle tells SSI. “Once they find out they can get away with taxing something, they don’t stop. It will go from one state to another. It’s not a question of ‘if.’ It will happen.”

The House version of the bill, H.B. 1997, has been moved to the House Appropriations Compensation and Retirement subcommittee under Chairman Clarke Hogan. It is currently awaiting action.

“Right now we will wait and see what happens in the House,” says Doyle.

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