Sales tax scam…yes!

As an advocate for fair taxation of property values ​​for many years, I want to make very public the issue of unfair sales taxes levied by some local retailers.

As a user of propane for heating and cooking in Idaho, by state law this is a non-taxable item, but some local retailers, primarily in Rathdrum, Post Falls, and Coeur d’Alene that I know of include and charge propane sales tax when you bring your tanks in for refilling. Rural customers with large propane tanks do not pay sales tax.

The Idaho code is very clear that propane used for heating and cooking is not taxable, PERIOD! I even contacted the State Tax Commission about this practice and was given a very lame excuse that the Tax Commission should educate their retailers about this practice. Bureaucracy at its finest… LOL!

Another non-taxable item in Idaho is the labor tax. This is particularly evident with respect to tire sales at certain tire stores and retailers.

As a former tire dealer many years ago, I have never charged sales tax on tire mounting and balancing as it was labor not sales actual products. Many local dealers charge sales tax on the complete assembly and state mounting and balancing are included and free! In fact, they simply add these additional costs to the final invoice and tax the total amount. With today’s tire prices, that tax can easily add up to $20 to $40 in extra sales tax you pay!

Again, an appeal to the State Tax Commission on this matter found that if the retailer does not itemize the invoice and segregate labor charges for assembly and balancing which are not not taxable, it is authorized to tax the total amount! Tax scam, you bet and the state is very happy to get the extra sales tax revenue charged to you.

I personally know of several local tire retailers who do this and refuse to separate the labor from the invoice so that the labor amount is not taxed. Obviously I couldn’t do business with them and they even asked me not to come back because that’s how they do business.

I believe the public needs to be very aware of these unfair practices of charging sales tax on non-taxable services and wondering what they are actually paying tax on or just paying unnecessary tax! The old adage that “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is more than apt here. Only you can bring about change…that is, if you are willing to stand up for what is fair and just!

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Tim Herzog is a resident of Post Falls.

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