Proposed Alaska Statewide Sales Tax

AL: Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy is contemplating introducing a sales tax, which would significantly alter the state’s tax landscape. Currently, Alaska stands out as one of the five states in the U.S. without a statewide sales tax, a unique position it shares with New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware.

While Alaska does not currently have a statewide sales tax, it’s important to note that many local jurisdictions already levy some form of sales tax, ranging from 1% to 7%. This indicates familiarity and readiness among Alaskans for streamlined sales tax collection and remittance. Approximately 85% of Alaskans who have joined the Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Commission live in tax jurisdictions, a clear sign of their preparedness for such a tax.

The potential introduction of a sales tax in Alaska could herald significant changes as part of a comprehensive plan to tackle the state’s budget deficit. With the deficit projected to soar to $800 million, Governor Dunleavy views a statewide sales tax as a viable solution. This tax could finance larger Permanent Fund dividends for residents, a prospect that has gained momentum in recent discussions. The Governor’s shift from insisting on voter approval to considering legislative approval signals a potential change in strategy.

Various models for the sales tax have been considered, with a year-round rate of 2% being one of the proposals. This tax could generate up to $850 million for the state, according to a 2020 analysis by Jared Walczak from the Tax Foundation. Including services in the tax base, such as manicures, gym memberships, and oil changes, has also been discussed to mitigate regressivity.

Acknowledging the concerns raised by the opposition to the proposed sales tax is essential. Critics argue that it could disproportionately affect rural Alaskans, who already face high grocery prices and other essentials. They also question the need for a sales tax alongside continued Permanent Fund dividends, suggesting alternative measures like a state income tax or closing tax loopholes for oil companies. These concerns are valid and warrant further discussion and consideration.

Despite the debate, implementing a sales tax in Alaska is gaining momentum. Nonetheless, Governor Dunleavy’s proposal late in the legislative session may affect its chances of passing into law.

About Davis Davis & Harmon LLC – Sales Tax Experts: Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Davis Davis & Harmon LLC – Sales Tax Experts specializes in sales/use tax refund recovery and audit defense. Our team of consultants is comprised of former Big 4 sales tax consultants and state sales tax auditors. Each of our consultants has 15 to 20 years of experience, providing our clients with access to a highly specialized team of sales/use tax professionals. At Davis Davis & Harmon, LLC, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards in our talent pool. We work hard to meet our clients’ needs by ensuring that you view our firm as an extension of your company and a member of your team.

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