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Study finds Idaho’s tax burden per person is 49th lowest in nation

Idaho’s tax burden per capita is 49th lowest in the nation, according to the latest results from an annual study by the Idaho State Tax Commission, and it’s the lowest among 11 western states. The study found that Idaho’s per-capita tax burden is $2,975, compared to $4,296 for the national average and a $3,648 median among western states. It compared individual and corporate income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and motor vehicle taxes, including fuel taxes and license and registration fees. Click below for the full announcement from the Tax Commission; you can see the full 50-page study here.

The study focuses on fiscal year 2011, the latest year for which census figures are available. It found that Idaho’s overall tax burden was 30.7 percent below the national average. The state’s property taxes ranked 41st, at 39.3 percent below the national average; sales taxes were 38th, at 22.5 percent below average; individual income taxes, 33rd, 19.3 percent below average; and corporate income taxes 29th, 31 percent below average.

The Idaho State Tax Commission issued the following news release today:


Oct. 23, 2013    



Study shows tax burden for Idahoans is 49th in nation


BOISE, IDAHO Oct. 23, 2013 Idaho has the 49th lowest overall per capita tax burden in the country and the lowest tax burden among western states, according to the latest tax burden study published by the Idaho State Tax Commission.


The annual study, conducted by Property Tax Policy Bureau Chief Alan Dornfest, compares Idaho’s tax burden with those of the nation and an 11-state western region. It’s based on each state’s tax revenue, income, and population data from fiscal year (FY) 2011, the latest year for which census figures are available.


Dornfest said Idaho’s overall relative tax burden climbed slightly between fiscal years 2010 and 2011, probably due to improved economic activity. Contributing to that was an increase of more than 73% in Idaho’s corporate income tax revenues, while nationwide growth in that area was just over 13%.


“It stands to reason that Idaho’s higher corporate tax revenue is due to an increase in economic activity,” Dornfest said, adding that, “It’s not likely that we’ll see another dramatic increase like this in the future. It just brings things back in line with the conditions we were seeing before the recession.”


The tax burden study shows that Idaho’s:

·         Per capita tax burden was $2,975 in FY2011, compared to $4,296 for the national average and $3,648 for the median of 11 western states.

·         Individual income tax burden continued to decrease, reaching 0.9% over the national average in FY2011—the lowest relative burden for this tax in 24 years.

·         Property tax burden continued to increase slightly in FY2011, with the 4.6% increase in property tax collections exceeding the national 0.4% rate of increase.

·         Sales tax burden decreased slightly in FY2011 and is now 3.2% below the U.S. average. This reflects a slightly smaller increase in sales tax collections in Idaho than in the nation as a whole.

·         Motor vehicle tax burden (fuel taxes and licenses and registration fees) decreased slightly in FY2011, but was still 45.2% over the national average. However, state comparisons are difficult in this category, since some states levy a personal property tax on motor vehicles, which moves that revenue to the property tax category. Idaho charges motor vehicle registration fees instead of personal property tax on vehicles.


Dornfest’s tax burden study is available on the Tax Commission’s website at under the “Quick Picks” section. For more information, call (208) 334-7541.



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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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