House Bill 591 — Potato tax refund

Lindsay Atkinson 2020 House bill ratings Leave a Comment

Bill description: HB 591 would allow Idahoans who grow potatoes to request a potato tax refund from the Idaho Potato Commission.

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Analyst’s Note: HB 591 falls within our Freedom Index metrics, under our question about taxation. But given the way the bill is written, it is hard to understand its effects.

Currently, all potato growers in the state must pay a potato tax to the Idaho Potato Commission. This tax is currently 12.5 cents for every hundred pounds of potatoes produced.

The commission estimates that the state produces approximately 13 billion pounds of potatoes each year. So it receives quite a bit of money from this tax, which is used for marketing and other purposes. 

Currently, there is no way for producers to request a refund of this tax. HB 591 would create a means that Idahoans can use to request a refund of up to 50% of the tax they paid to the commission, within 90 days of their payment. 

The bill, however, offers no guidance on who qualifies (or under what conditions) for a refund, nor does it specify any criteria that the commission can use in deciding whether to award a refund.

We can make assumptions for these qualifications, but they may not be true. The best course of action would be to add into this bill what these qualifications are.