What to know about filing an Idaho state tax return

Close up of a sack of potatoes nestled in the furrow of a green field of potato vines in Idaho.Image: Close up of a sack of potatoes nestled in the furrow of a green field of potato vines in Idaho.

In a Nutshell

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Idaho has extended its filing and payment deadline for 2019 income taxes to June 15, 2020. 
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This article was fact-checked by our editors and Jennifer Samuel, senior product specialist for Credit Karma. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Telling time in Idaho can be confusing, since the top half of the state is in the Pacific time zone and the bottom is on Mountain time.

Wherever you live or work in the state renowned for potatoes, you’ll be dealing with a progressive tax code. But you may be able to qualify for some tax credits and deductions to help reduce your tax bill.

The basics of Idaho state tax

The state of Idaho maintains a website with comprehensive info about personal income tax, including filing and residency requirements, a link to state tax forms and filing information.

Taxing body

The Idaho State Tax Commission is the government agency responsible for collecting individual income taxes. It has offices in the capital — Boise — and throughout Idaho. If you have general tax questions, email the agency at taxrep@tax.idaho.gov or call 1-208-334-7660 in the Boise area, or 1-800-972-7660.

Filing and payment deadline

For 2019 state taxes, the state has extended the filing and payment deadline. Idaho residents now have until June 15, 2020, to file their state returns and pay any state tax they owe for 2019.

Because the state’s constitution requires a balanced budget and the state’s fiscal year ends on June 30, the state couldn’t extend its deadlines to match the federal extension of July 15.

You can extend your filing deadline even longer if you do one of two things by the June 15 deadline: Either pay 100% of the tax you reported on your 2018 Idaho return (assuming you filed one), or 80% of the estimated tax due for 2019. Either automatically qualifies you for a filing extension to Oct. 15, 2020.

While this year is a bit different, generally you must postmark or e-file your Idaho state tax return by April 15 — or Oct. 15 if you’ve been granted an extension. If the 15th is on a weekend or holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Filing status

You must choose the same filing status on your Idaho state tax return as you did on your federal tax return: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow or widower.

How filing status affects your taxes

Idaho income tax rates

The state’s income tax rates range from 1.125% to 6.925% of your Idaho taxable income. The amount of taxable income and your filing status determine your tax bracket.

Idaho deductions and credits to know

Idaho standard deductions

Your filing status determines the standard deduction you can take from your Idaho state taxable income. For most people, the 2019 Idaho standard deduction amounts are:

  • Single or married filing separately — $12,200
  • Head of household — $18,350
  • Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) — $24,400

Idaho tax credits and deductions

Here are some tax credits and deductions that are available for the 2019 tax year.

  • Grocery tax credit: You may be able to claim a grocery credit for yourself and your dependents. The credit typically averages $100 per person per year and is intended to offset sales taxes paid on groceries. Idaho residents age 65 or older may also qualify for an additional $20.
  • Deduction for contributions to the Idaho college savings program: If you contribute money to an account established with Ascensus College Savings Inc., you may be able to claim a tax deduction, which is capped based on your filing status. For 2019, taxpayers can contribute and deduct up to $6,000 for single filers and up to $12,000 for those married filing a joint return.
  • Idaho medical savings account deduction: If you save money for medical expenses and long-term care costs in a qualified Idaho medical savings account — not in a federal MSA or health savings account — you might be able to deduct a certain amount of qualified contributions and interest earned based on your filing status. You can contribute up to $10,000 if you’re single or $20,000 if married filing jointly, and deduct qualified contributions and interest earned on your account.
  • Adoption expenses deduction: If you adopt a child, you may be able to deduct qualified expenses of up to $10,000 per child.
  • Idaho child tax credit: You may be able to claim a credit of $205 for each child younger than 17 years old as of December 31 of the tax year if the child was living with you for more than half the year.

How to file your Idaho taxes

The Idaho State Tax Commission encourages taxpayers to file returns electronically to save time and postage, but it doesn’t offer a way to e-file through its own site.

You can also use online tax preparation and filing services. Some vendors offer free filing if your income is below a certain limit — but others charge fees, so do your research before signing up. Heads-up: If you e-file your returns, Idaho requires that you use the same service to file both federal and state returns.

If you want to submit tax returns via mail, you can download the state Form 40 individual tax return and any additional tax forms and send them to …

Idaho State Tax Commission
P.O. Box 56
Boise, ID 83756-0056

If you owe and you can’t pay

If you owe state income tax and can’t pay, you may be eligible for a payment plan offered by the Idaho State Tax Commission. Penalties and interest on the unpaid tax balance will continue to accrue while you’re on a payment plan, but the state won’t pursue action like seizure or sale of property to satisfy your tax debt.

To request a payment plan, log in to the state’s Taxpayer Access Point portal and choose “Request a Payment Plan.” You’ll have to make on-time installment payments to stay on a payment plan. Options can include …

  • Special six-month payment plan: If your tax debt is paid within six months, no lien will be filed.
  • Payment plans lasting six to 18 months: The plans may require automatic withdrawal of payments from your financial institution. You may need to provide information and any updates about your financial situation. The state may require a notice of lien to secure its interest until your final payment is made.
What to do if you can't pay your federal income tax bill

Tracking your Idaho state tax refund

If you’re expecting an income tax refund, you can track it online via the state’s Where’s My Refund portal.

If you e-file, you could get your refund within seven to eight weeks after you receive a filing acknowledgment. Paper filers could receive refunds in about 10 to 11 weeks after the agency receives a return.

Bottom line

With a progressive tax system in Idaho, the more you earn, the more you’ll pay. So be sure to select the right filing status, claim any tax breaks you’re eligible for to reduce what you owe, and make payments on time to avoid penalties and interest. File your Idaho state tax return well before the annual deadline so you can get back to enjoying all the state has to offer.

Jennifer Samuel, senior tax product specialist for Credit Karma, has more than a decade of experience in the tax preparation industry, including work as a tax analyst and tax preparation professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Leo University. You can find her on LinkedIn.

About the author: Christy Rakoczy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and the University of Rochester. Christy was previously a college teacher with experience writing textbo… Read more.