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Tax Law

Supreme Court of Idaho Upholds Tax Credit Legislation

The Supreme Court of Idaho upheld the lower court’s judgment that the Idaho Reimbursement Incentive Act (“IRIA”) does not violate the separation of powers provisions of the Idaho Constitution because the IRIA does not delegate lawmaking powers to an administrative body and the IRIA does not limit judicial review. An administrative agency created under the IRIA is tasked with approving and denying applications for refundable tax credits based on statutory requirements. After a $6.5 million tax credit was granted to an out-of-state corporation under the IRIA, an Idaho-based company filed a declaratory relief action claiming the IRIA was providing its competitor with an unfair economic advantage and is unconstitutional under the Idaho Constitution. Having already established that it had competitor standing to challenge the refundable tax credit in a previous appeal (Employers Resource Mgmt. Co. v. Ronk, 162 Idaho 774, 405 P.3d 33 (2017)) the Idaho-based company argued that the IRIA conferred “unbridled discretion” to an administrative agency because it does not contain standards and guidelines to evaluate businesses. However, the court found that the administrative agency merely acts in a “fact-finding” capacity, citing guidelines the IRIA places on the agency to evaluate specific facts and conditions of businesses applying for refundable tax credits. Because the agency “can only approve the issuance of a tax credit when all the statutory conditions are met,” the court held that the IRIA does not delegate lawmaking powers to another administrative body. Additionally, the court concluded that the IRIA does not unconstitutionally limit judicial review because although the Idaho-based company was barred from seeking judicial review of the tax credit granted to an out-of-state corporation in this matter pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, the Idaho-based company was not barred from filing a declaratory judgment action.

Employers Resource Mgmt. Co. v. Kealy, — P.3d —, 2020 WL 1178665 (2020).