Idaho, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and Sales Tax Exemption
- Feb 7, 2013 | Gail Cole
Most businesses that fail to pay sales taxes to the state are handed a bill, complete with penalties and interest. If they don't pay that bill, the state has the authority to revoke their sales tax license, essentially shuttering them.
Not so for one particular business in Idaho. When Freshman Representative Kelly Packer (R-McCammon) learned that Stanton Healthcare owed the state $6,000 in back sales taxes, she decided to sponsor HB 62; if passed, the bill would provide sales tax exemptions for pregnancy centers like Stanton Healthcare. Already on the list of exempt organizations are the American Cancer Society, Idaho Ronald McDonald House, the March of Dimes, and the Special Olympics.
The caveat is that pregnancy centers that offer abortions are not eligible for the sales tax exemption under HB 62. Why? They go against Rep. Packer's "personal moral code."
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, advise women against abortion. They do not offer abortions or provide birth control. They are also exempt from federal income taxes. A CPC report by the University of Pennsylvania points out that "tax exemptions can be considered direct funding by the federal government." (https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/895-cpcreportdoc).
If HB 62 becomes law, these clinics will be exempt from sales tax in Idaho.
Support for HB 62 is not universal, although it was approved by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Rep. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) noted that situations in which Idaho taxpayers don't realize they owe certain taxes occur "fairly frequently." He's concerned about changing the tax code based on an issue that arose with one taxpayer, noting that it "doesn't strike me as a rational basis on which to change the tax code." Burgoyne argued that there are many non-profit organizations doing good work -- working with Alzheimer patients or the disabled. Are they somehow less deserving of a sales tax exemption than Stanton Healthcare?
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