House Bill 15 — Public records request sales tax

Phil Haunschild 2019 House bill ratings

Bill description: HB 15 would exempt any fees assessed for compiling public records request from sales taxes.

Rating: +1

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

HB 15 would specify in statute that public agencies are not to assess sales taxes when charging individuals for the time spent compiling the information. Most public entities across the state do not assess sales tax for public records requests.

However, in May 2018, the issue was brought to the attention of the state Tax Commission when the city of Pocatello assessed the six percent sales tax for access to its public records.

HB 15 would clarify that “the sale, purchase, or use of public records” are exempt from the state sales tax. This would reduce the cost of retrieving information from state and local governments, used to hold them accountable.

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