House Bill 496 — Sales tax on custom processed meat

House Bill 496 — Sales tax on custom processed meat

by
Lindsay Atkinson
February 18, 2020
Lindsay Atkinson
February 18, 2020

Bill description: HB 496 would exempt custom processed meat from Idaho’s sales tax.

Rating: 0

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments? 

HB 496 eliminates the sales tax on custom meat processing “when the consumer furnishes, directly or indirectly, the animal to any seller of meat processing or meat packing services, and any tangible personal property received, however processed, will not be resold.”

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Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

HB 496 does lower taxes, but it presents a very specific carve-out for people who furnish their own meat for meat processing services. For example, a person who hunts an elk and takes the animal to a processing plant that will produce elk pepperoni snack sticks would benefit from this legislation.

Thus, this bill represents part of a larger problem with carve-outs to taxes. Many carve-outs to Idaho’s sales tax benefit very specific groups. For example, there are carve-outs for broadcasting equipment, newspaper equipment, irrigation equipment, gold bullion, and more.

Every year there seems to be more and more bills to carve out more and more special tax cuts for certain groups. In fact, this is the second bill to add an exemption just this year. As more and more carve-outs are added to Idaho law, it is apparent that the Legislature is more prone to offer narrow relief to very specific groups (like farmers and newspaper publishers) than to offer overall relief that all Idahoans would benefit from, like doing away with the grocery tax.

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