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Columbia Falls becomes 11th Montana area with a resort tax

| October 19, 2021 7:00 AM

COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Columbia Falls in northwestern Montana is the 11th Montana community to enact a resort tax.

While voters approved the 3 percent tax in June 2020, the city delayed implementation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tax took effect on Oct. 1, the Flathead Beacon reported.

It applies to non-essential goods and services sold in the city limits and exempts necessities such as medication, groceries, appliances, tools, hardware and vehicles. Also exempted are daily necessities such as diapers, cleaning supplies, soap, toilet paper, vitamins, gasoline and utilities.

State law allows cities with fewer than 5,500 residents, where a majority of the economy is based on tourism, to implement such taxes. Unincorporated areas with fewer than 2,500 residents can also implement a resort tax.

City officials estimate the tax will raise $450,000 a year, with 55 percent used for public safety funding, 25 percent for property tax relief and 14% for public infrastructure. The remaining 6 percent will pay for business and city administration costs.

Other Montana areas with a resort tax are: Big Sky, Cooke City, Craig, Gardiner, Red Lodge, St. Regis, Virginia City, West Yellowstone, Whitefish and Wolf Creek.