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Bill to boost Idaho grocery sales tax credit introduced

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Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 19:34:16-05

BOISE, Idaho — Lawmakers are looking to provide some relief through a higher food tax credit. A proposed bill brought forward Tuesday looks to increase the amount of money Idaho residents would get on their taxes for groceries.

The food tax credit in Idaho hasn’t changed since 2015. Throughout the last year, Idahoans have felt the impacts of inflation with food costs, so republican Sen. Steve Vick of Coeur d'Alene introduced HB509 in order to raise the credit and help Idahoans.

“It's meant to compensate for the fact there's sales tax on food in Idaho and to help Idaho residents pay that sales tax,” Vick said.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed the historic income tax cut bill, which is now headed to the governor’s desk, but Vick said he feels not everyone will benefit from it. With the food tax credit bill in place, he says they would feel some relief.

“I just feel like when you pass a tax cut, everybody in the state should benefit some and this will allow everybody to benefit some from the surpluses that we’re seeing now,” Vick said.

HB 509 would increase the credit from $100 to $120 for people under 65 and from $120 to $140 for those 65 and older.

According to the Idaho State Tax Commission, “You can get an Idaho grocery credit refund even if you're not required to file an income tax return. If you're an Idaho resident who didn't make enough money in 2021 to file an income tax return, you're still eligible to receive a grocery credit refund. You must use a form to claim this credit refund.”

Other lawmakers looking for the grocery tax to be repealed.

“I do feel like somewhat feel like this a cheap consolation prize in lieu of removing the grocery tax,” republican Rep. Ben Adams of Nampa said during the committee meeting.

Senators Vick and Jim Rice told Idaho News 6 they don't think that will happen this year.

“Some of us have a part of addressing the grocery tax and getting rid of it, but it's not got the legs this year,” Rice said.

Repealing the grocery tax has been a hot topic of debate this session, so far.

“I don’t believe we can get that bill through the legislature and so in order to get some immediate relief, I wanted to do this, this year,” Vick said.

If passed, the bill would cut about $32 million from state revenues. That would be replaced using the Tax Relief Fund, which collects sales taxes on online purchases.

To read more about the current food tax credit, click here.