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Politics & Government

Idaho House Green Lights Bill Cutting Regulations, Taxes For Youth-Run Businesses

The dome of the Idaho Statehouse at sunset with an American flag and Idaho flag.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Youth-run businesses, like lemonade stands, wouldn’t have to pay sales taxes or get business permits under a bill passed by the Idaho House Monday morning. Sales can’t exceed more than $10,000 per year to qualify.

From time to time, Idaho officials have tried to force kids to comply with state regulations while running their own businesses.

Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg), who’s sponsoring the bill, mentioned a case out of Lewiston in 2010 where the state tax commission told a family their kids couldn’t sell pumpkins without a permit.

“It was frustrating because the kids were just trying to do something, just trying to learn, just trying to experience business a bit,” Nate said.

“But it’s not just about protecting child-run businesses from the heavy hand of government. It’s also about making parents and kids feel comfortable about the potential of doing that.”

In 2016, Nate was one of dozens of House lawmakers who voted against making Girl Scout cookies tax-exempt. He said at the time it was because he wanted all nonprofits to be included under the bill.

That bill stalled in a Senate committee nearly five years ago, leaving Idaho and Hawaii the only two states in the country to levy a sales tax on Girl Scout cookies.

Monday’s bill passed overwhelmingly 68-2.

Rep. Scott Syme (R-Caldwell) was one of the two lawmakers to vote against it. He said he supported the concept, but that he had concerns about “unscrupulous” parents using their children to sidestep regulations and earn money tax-free.

It’s unclear how the state will ensure these businesses earn less than $10,000 to qualify for their tax-exempt status.

Nate’s bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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