Sales tax hike may be ‘hard to swallow’
Information about Idaho’s new 6 percent
sales and use tax rate is available on the Idaho State Tax Commission’s Web site
or on the state of Idaho’s home page at
www.state.id.us . Click on
the "New Sales/Use Tax Rate!" link on either site to find a question and answer
section that deals with the rate increase. The link also leads to a new 6
percent rate bracket chart, which is designed to help retailers determine how
much tax to charge on sales.
Retailers and others with questions
about the sales and use tax rate increase can also call the Tax Commission at
The law also changes the use tax rate
to 6 percent on items first used in Idaho on or after May 1, if sales tax was
not paid when the item was purchased and no exemption applies.
The Tax Commission sent rate increase
information and 6 percent rate bracket charts to more than 51,000 retailers over
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Starting Thursday, Wood River Valley
residents and visitors can expect to pay a little more for just about
everything, from fishing flies to French fries.
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed a law Friday,
April 25, that raises Idaho’s sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent, beginning
The increase is expected to raise about
$160 million, more that three-fourths of the estimated $200 million shortfall
expected in the 2003-2004 budget. It was passed after weeks of bitter debate
among lawmakers in a record long legislative session.
The new law means retail businesses all
over the state will rush to change their cash registers and computers to meet
the May 1 deadline.
Bart Davis, partner in Backwoods Mountain
Sports in Ketchum, said administering the change will not be difficult.
"For us, it’s going to be easy," he said.
"We’ll just change one screen on the computer and it’s done."
However, Davis said he believes the tax
hike could have a negative effect on business, particularly because most local
businesses in Ketchum and Sun Valley charge local-option taxes in addition to
the state sales tax.
"Certainly, it will affect business," he
said. "Taxes are going to go up to 7 percent in Ketchum. That’s getting up
there. I think we’ll have some customers who might consider it, especially when
making larger purchases."
Overall, the sales tax increase will bring
taxes on retail sales in Ketchum—including a 1 percent LOT—to 7 percent. In Sun
Valley, taxes on retail sales—including a 3 percent LOT—will jump from 8 percent
to 9 percent.
For lodging, taxes will increase from 9
percent to 10 percent in Ketchum, including a 2 percent LOT and a 2 percent
state "bed tax." In Sun Valley, lodging taxes will increase from 10 percent to
11 percent, including a 3 percent LOT and the state bed tax.
Carol Waller, executive director of the
Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber and Visitors Bureau, said the state sales tax
increase could be hard on local businesses, many of whom are already suffering
from a below-average winter season. "I think the one thing that everybody is
surprised with is that it was so soon," Waller said. "Unfortunately, it is
coming on the heels of a rather soft year."
Waller said the tax hike is "hard to
swallow" for many local businesses that have been fighting the negative impacts
of a lagging economy and overall downturn in travel for the last two years.
However, she said, overall, she did not
expect the increase to inflict significant damage to the local economy.
The tax-increase legislation started out
as a half-penny increase in the House but was increased to one cent in the
(The Associated Press contributed to this