In Idaho, we keep our taxes and cost of doing business low, and we remove the burdensome regulations that get in the way of success – making us nimble and able to move quickly. Or as we like to say, running at the speed of business. In fact, our economy is one of the strongest in the nation, thanks to a combination of low taxes, a balanced budget with no state debt, and a commonsense regulatory environment.

Choosing to locate or expand your business in Idaho – or even investing in Idaho – is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a hard one. From the moment you begin your selection process to the day you open your doors, Idaho Commerce is your single point of contact, bringing everything together that you need to make informed decisions.

Our International and Business Development teams have all the information you’ll need. We’ll help you gather and analyze key site selection data, customize comprehensive incentive packages and connect you with local, state, and federal stakeholders. Our staff can also coordinate site visits and meetings with business leaders. So contact us today to find out how easy it is to start your business in Idaho!

Start a Business

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Property Search

At Idaho Commerce we use a tool– Gem State Prospector – to help find the state’s available commercial, industrial, office and recreational properties. This site provides free and current demographic, socio-economic and commercial real estate information. We use GIS mapping to get reports on:

  • Workforce demographics
  • Interactive maps
  • Property photographs
  • User driven market and business analysis
  • The Idaho brokerage and economic development communities stand ready to assist your site selection and property search needs

Workforce

Idaho’s workforce is diverse and effective. The state attracts highly-educated entrepreneurs and business leaders who understand the state’s business friendly environment and produce innovative products, which employ hundreds of community members. For example, the Boise area is nationally recognized as an emerging high-tech hub, while the Twin Falls area is quickly emerging as a food manufacturing hot-spot. Idaho’s ten colleges and universities produce educated and energetic Idahoans ready to contribute to the companies they join. Many manufacturing facilities are also serviced by a workforce that is a product of the state’s many technical colleges. For example, North Idaho College runs the Aerospace Center of Excellence to train Idahoans for future careers in the industry.

To learn more about Idaho’s more than 750,000 strong workforce check out the Idaho Department of Labor. In fact, the Idaho Department of Labor maintains 25 offices statewide and a robust staff of labor economists to help businesses identify qualified employees. As a state agency, they are a free resource for any business in the state looking take advance of Idaho’s workforce.

Employment Law

Idaho’s employment laws are decidedly business-friendly. Idaho is an ‘at will employment’ state, meaning that employers are not required to enter into contracts for a specified period of time with employees. This gives both parties the flexibility to make decisions about continuing employment without the specter of protracted legal procedures. Idaho’s system also allows companies in the state to develop employment arrangements to reflect their specific policies and context. As a result, the terms and conditions of labor contracts in Idaho can reflect company priorities.

However, Idaho isn’t the ‘wild west’ without state or federal regulations. Employers must abide by federal minimum wage, anti-discrimination, and benefit regulations, as well as state code. These policies benefit the business community as a whole by ensuring equal treatment and creating an environment conducive to a productive workforce.

Major Idaho State and Federal Labor Laws:

  • Idaho Minimum Wage Law
  • Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Idaho Child Labor Provisions
  • Idaho Wage Payment Law
  • Idaho Farm Labor Contractor Licensing

To learn more about federal regulations and Idaho’s employment laws review this Guide to Idaho’s Labor Laws.

Immigration Law

Idaho is firmly part of the great American melting pot. As a western state, Idaho’s history is a colorful mix of native peoples, pioneers, miners, and adventures. For example, in the mid 1800’s Idaho saw an influx of Chinese gold miners, followed by waves of English, German, and Irish settlers. Today, Idaho’s capital is home to the largest Basque population in the United States; and according to U.S. Census data, approximately one in ten Idahoans are Hispanic or Latino.

Historically, states within the U.S. have largely deferred to federal immigration laws without creating duplicative state-specific legislation. In the last decade some of Idaho’s neighbors have started creating their own laws that discourage immigration. Idaho is not one of those states. Idaho continues to welcome immigrants, and communities in Idaho see the benefits of attracting and keeping talent and industry from around the world.

To learn more about US immigration regulations during the hiring process, please see 8 CFR Section 274a.

Requirements for businesses with employees in Idaho:

  • Obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Report all new hires to the Idaho Department of Labor per Idaho’s New Hire Reporting Law
  • Obtain an Idaho withholding account and pay payroll taxes
  • Complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form within 3 business days. Request original documentation to confirm identity and immigration status. If you have questions, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central.
  • Maintain the I-9 documentation for a period of three years from the date of hire/ or one year from the date of termination.
  • Consider using the E-Verify system to confirm immigration status of new hires (mandatory for public employers)
  • Ensure that you are not discriminating against workers on the basis of national origin or citizenship status. 8 CFR Section 274B.

Taxes

Similar to Idaho’s employment laws, the state’s tax policies are designed to attract, grow, and retain businesses. For example, in 2014 the state passed the Tax Reimbursement Incentive that provides a tax credit up to 30% on new corporate income tax, sales tax, and payroll taxes paid for up to 15 years as a result of a qualifying project generating new employment in the state. At the same time, the State of Idaho is committed to providing public goods crucial to business performance. Through a balanced mix of personal income, sales, property and corporate taxes, the State of Idaho provides quality public services including schools, cities, local law enforcement, and highways.

General Idaho Tax information, visit Idaho Tax Commission

  • Corporate income tax of 7.4% payable by corporations transacting business or authorized to transact business in Idaho
  • Personal income tax of up to 7.4% payable by individuals and owners of pass-through entities
  • Property taxes are assessed on business in Idaho and are determined according to a property’s current value
  • All retailers doing business in Idaho are required to get a seller’s permit and collect sales tax on the sale of goods they ship or deliver to customers in Idaho
  • Idaho does not impose a severance tax on the extraction of minerals, with the exception of a 2.5% severance tax on the value of oil and gas produced in Idaho

Invest in Idaho

Idaho’s economy is an attractive place to invest. Idaho’s economic growth is steady and our business environment is stable. Growing sectors include Idaho’s manufacturing, technology and innovation, agri-business, and forest products industries. Taking just one example, Idaho is home to over 800 software companies, with about 400 of these located near the state’s capitol, Boise. Technology manufacturing is Idaho’s number one gross domestic product and investments in this sector continue to payoff. Contact Idaho Commerce today to find out more about investment opportunities in Idaho.

Contact us today to help with your Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) needs.

Resources for International Business