Personal Property Tax May End

Idaho’s personal property tax–an annual levy on equipment used in businesses–may end soon if industry lobbyists and Gov. Butch Otter get their way, according to a recent REPORT in the Daily Paper.

At a weekend meeting of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) the Guv said his position is evolving on that issue. It is the most unfair and least enforced tax on the books. In short, if you own a computer, camera, hand tools, phones, or chairs that are used in a service or to manufacture a product YOU OWE TAXES every year on the items.

Micron was able to get a cap on what they pay and farmers are exempt, but the mechanic or carpenter who owns his own tools and uses them to make a living is supposed to pay tax at the same rate as owners of real estate. Few “little guys” pony up the tax and most aren’t even aware of it. Strict enforcement would kill the tax as quickly as the draft would end the war in Afghanistan. It could also get some county assessors injured or killed.

However, in some counties the tax amounts to as much as 25% of the revenue. That’s because of mining and forest industry operations which use expensive equipment and are easily seen by the tax collector. The big question is where will the politicos go to replace the lost revenue.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Gradually reducing the tax over the next 5 years, even if to zero, makes more sense than an immediate elimination. If it is eliminated the local governments will panic and will find other immediate ways to replace the taxes by increasing property taxes, income tax, sales tax, etc. However given 5 years to wean off the tax, we may be able to grow other revenue streams organically to replace the lost revenue.

    If leaders want more property taxes, than make better decisions that make people want to live and stay here and property values will increase.

    If leaders want more sales tax, then don’t just raise rates, bring industry and good paying jobs and people will stay and spend their money resulting in more sales tax collections.

    Government should not raise tax rates which are linked to some other variable, leaders should share in the risk and reward of making improvements in the variable areas to which taxes are linked.

    When politicians choose to raise property tax rates, income tax rates or sales tax rates, it is an admission their policies have been unable to generate more tax revenue through the enrichment of the citizenry.

    In short if you want more money from me, help make my life better, because I will not conitnue to pay more for the same thing.

  2. It is the most ridiculous tax there is. However the revenue is replaced, it needs to be done in an easy-to-understand and enforce manner.

  3. Oh good, they want to repeal a tax that should have never existed in the first place. Brilliant plan! Why not do something for every single person in Idaho like repeal the sales tax!

    I never realized how hard it is to be in business in Idaho, or why so many start ups fail, until I read this story. The State is taxing businesses to death. Especially small businesses.

  4. I think this has to be one of the most regressive taxes people are forced to pay. It needs to be eliminated but it will create a tax shift to keep the tax revenue on a neutral basis. As much as I hate property taxes, I am ok with paying a little more if it gets this goofy tax off the books.

  5. Karen Ragland
    Jun 12, 2012, 3:45 pm

    For years I have said we NEVER own our homes but just rent from the city or county.
    Personal property taxes on tools, machinery etc is affected by depreciation. Now why should a business owner buy new machinery if that business owner will be taxed more? I say the tax could be held responsible for potential accidents, higher insurance fees, and keep useless bureaucrats busy. It is time that the “official” step up to the tax line and realize we are just plain tired of tazes in any form. Capish?

  6. Farmers don’t pay personal property tax in Idaho.

  7. Of course Farmers don’t Dog! Who runs things in this state.

  8. I’ll be glad to see this tax gone. In my case it was the most annoying and intrusive tax I’ve ever run up against. In the 90’s I started up a small tech company with a friend across the kitchen table without the benefit of venture capitalists, just the capitol we could pull out of our pockets. It takes awhile before revenues start coming in and even longer before profits start occurring but the property tax is merciless. It begins the day you incorporate. Every investment or expenditure aimed at future growth is taxed today. Just to get started in business you need property, so now you need a desk, a chair, a phone, a PC, etc. and all these things are taxed, whether you make a profit or not.

  9. Rod in Boise
    Jun 16, 2012, 12:29 pm

    We need to move toward financing all city, county, and state government needs from progressive personal and business income taxes. And capital gains and dividends should be treated as ordinary income.

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