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Gov. Little signs increase in Idaho grocery tax credit

Idahoans will be able to claim another $20 starting with food purchases in 2023.
The grocery check out lines at WinCo Foods.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed into law a $20 increase in the amount Idaho residents can recover on taxes paid on food through the grocery sales tax credit.

The Republican governor on Friday signed House Bill 509, which boosts the annual maximum credit from $100 to $120 for people under 65 and from $120 to $140 for people 65 and older.

The change takes effect starting with food purchased in 2023. Idaho residents can claim the credit when filing income tax returns. The increased grocery tax credit cuts about $32 million from state revenues. That will be made up by tapping a fund that collects online purchase sales taxes.

The House approved HB 509 in February by a vote of 40-27-3. The Senate on March 22 approved the bill in a unanimous 35-0 vote.

Much of the debate in the House centered on concerns that the increase wasn't enough, particularly with the current high rate of inflation for groceries. Some lawmakers had favored a complete repeal of the sales tax on groceries.

Little's support for a total repeal of the sales tax on groceries dates back to his days as Idaho's lieutenant governor, but legislation along those lines has never made it through the Legislature to Little's desk during his time as governor. Then-Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed a grocery tax repeal in 2017.

Idaho applies its full 6% sales tax to food, but then offsets that tax by providing a credit on income tax returns.

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