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Idaho tax tidbit: grocery credit

Idaho flag Somehow it just seems right that the state famous for its potatoes has a tax credit related to food.

Idaho's grocery credit has been around since 1965, when the state adopted a sales tax and created a tax break to offset some of the tax families would be paying on food.

For 2009 taxes, the grocery tax credit is worth $40 per exemption for taxpayers with taxable income of more than $1,000. It goes to $60 per exemption for folks who's income is $1,000 or less.

Even if you don't have to file a state income tax return, you should do so to collect the grocery credit.

If you're younger than 65, you claim the credit by filing Form 40. Details on how to do so are available on page 6 of the form's instructions book. Worksheets to figure the credit are on page 10. The Roundtable Against Hunger also has information on claiming this credit.

An additional $20 is available to Idaho residents age 65 or older by the end of 2009. If your spouse also is age 65 or older and is a state resident, you may claim an additional $20.

Older taxpayers who aren't required to file a state tax return should fill out Form 24 to claim the grocery credit.

Special rules apply to members of the military and their families. Details are found in the Form 40 worksheet instructions.

And Idaho taxpayers who don't want or need the credit can donate it to the Cooperative Welfare Fund. This is a state trust fund designated for public assistance and welfare purposes.

Grocery credit amounts can be given to the fund simply by checking the box on line 46 of Form 40 and entering zero in the column for line 46.

Don't be confused by the $0 entry. That indicates the amount of the grocery credit you want applied to your tax bill. By taking none of it, it goes to the fund to help other Gem State residents.

Tax trip around the United States: This post is part of our series highlighting tax information from the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. You can read other state tax blurbs at our Complete menu of tasty state tax tidbits.

The State Tax Departments page provides links to official state and District of Columbia revenue Web sites so that you can find out more about your home's tax laws and filing requirements.

As we work through the 2010 tax season, a different state will be featured each day as noted in Don't forget your state taxes! Check back to see what tax tidbit we share about your home.

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