This is not about the new tax laws just implemented, but what I believe is an unjustly applied sales tax by some retailers on propane fuel. Many of us have probably owned and used small propane tanks for cooking on the barbecue, or for small propane heaters in our homes, workshops or for heating on construction sites.
If you have ever owned a pellet stove as I have, no one charges sales tax on pellets because they are used for heating. But many of the same retailers that sell pellets, mainly local hardware stores and some gas stations, charge sales tax on propane.
I have argued with several of them that it should not be taxed as stated in the Idaho tax code but to no avail. Propane in Idaho already has an excise tax of .232 cents a gallon included in the purchase price.
I refuse to purchase propane fuel from various retailers that insist on charging sales tax on propane fuel used for heating or cooking. You should ask the retailer before you get your tanks refilled if they charge sales tax and why. If they do charge sales tax, point out to them that propane in Idaho is non-taxable when used for heating or cooking, just like pellets for your pellet stove.
The following is reprinted from the Idaho Tax Code: “Idaho fuels tax is NOT DUE on purchases of propane and natural gas used for heating and cooking in Idaho.”
I will mention that if you are OK with paying sales tax on refilling propane bottles, you can use Idaho Tax Form 75 when you file your taxes. It’s a complicated form and the average propane user will not use it and just pay the retailer for the unfair tax because the hassle is not worth the 6 percent tax anyway.
Here are some of the nontaxable uses of special fuel that you can use Form 75 for. You may be eligible for a refund of Idaho fuels tax if you use the fuel in:
• Stationary engines
• Unregistered off-road equipment
• Refrigeration units
• Motor vehicles to operate power take-off equipment or auxiliary engines
• Motor vehicles owned and operated or leased and operated by the state of Idaho or its political subdivisions or the federal government
• Motor vehicles operated on roads that aren’t open to the public
• Heating devices (home furnaces, space heaters, etc.)
• Special fuels include dyed and undyed diesel, biodiesel, biodiesel blends (e.g. B1-99), and any other fuels that can be used in a diesel engine. Special fuels also include propane and natural gas.
I cannot explain why some retailers continue to charge sales tax on propane when the statute is clear. It’s either due to ignorance of the law or just plain laziness to fill out the proper paperwork at point of sale. By the way, ignorance of the law IS NOT an excuse for those engaged in selling propane for heating and cooking.
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Tim Herzog is a Post Falls resident.