A key objective of the Rapid Response team is to provide fast answers to businesses with questions related to their expansion or relocation plans. Acknowledging that many of these answers already exist and are available online, this directory of frequently asked questions was developed to help people get to the information they need fast.

Click on a category below to review the questions related to the corresponding agency.

Agriculture

Q: What does the Idaho State Department of Agriculture regulate?
A: The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) assists and regulates the state’s agricultural industry, including crops and livestock, to protect against the spread of pests and transmittable diseases and to protect consumers from contaminated products. For more information on the agency’s objectives and statutory authority, visit http://www.agri.state.id.us/.
Q: What agency regulates food processing facilities?
A: The Department of Agriculture is responsible for regulating dairy processing plants: click here. The responsibility for licensing, inspecting and enforcement of food safety regulations in all other industries is delegated to the state’s seven health districts through the Department of Health and Welfare. A map of the districts with links to their corresponding sites is available here. Additional information on Idaho’s Food Code can be found here.
Q: Does Idaho produce organic crops?
A: Yes, currently the ISDA certifies around 200 operations in the state. More information on organic certification is available here.
Q: What is Idaho Preferred®?
A: Idaho Preferred® is a program to identify and promote food and agricultural products grown, raised, or processed in the Gem State. The program showcases the quality, diversity, and availability of Idaho food and agricultural products and is working to assist Idaho consumers in their efforts to find local products. The department works with farmers, ranchers, growers, and food and beverage processors to increase market share and opportunity for profitability through retail and foodservice partnerships, advertising, social media, special events promotions, and Farm to School programs. Visit http://idahopreferred.com/.

Building Safety & Licensing

Q: Which local and state agencies perform inspections and grant building permits?
A: The answer varies by the type of building in question. The Division of Building Safety offers a helpful guide to clarify who has jurisdiction over what type of building.
Q: Does the Division of Building Safety issue building permits for the entire state of Idaho?
A: No. Because many cities and coutnies have jurisdiction within their boundaries, permit requirements vary wildly. DBS has provided a chart showing which entities have jurisdiction based on geographical location.
Q: What licenses are required for general contractors?
A: General contractors must register with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. Contractors engaged in the plumbing, electrical or HVAC trades must be licensed by the Division of Building Safety.
Q: What licenses are required for contractors working on publicly-funded projects?
A: Information on licensing for public work contractors is available with the Division of Building Safety.
Q: Which versions of construction code are currently adopted for use in Idaho?
A: Codes in use in Idaho as of January 1, 2015 may be found by following this link: click here.
Q: What are Idaho’s requirements relating to installation of electrically-operated industrial equipment?
A: These requirements were clarified in 2014 and are embodied in the Division of Building Safety’s administrative rules that can be found here.

Commerce

Q: What properties are available for companies looking to relocate or expand in Idaho?
A: The Department of Commerce offers a comprehensive search tool called Gem State Prospector featuring all listed office, industrial, or retail properties available in the state. Start a search here.
Q: Where can demographic and socio-economic data be found?
A: The Gem State Prospector tool also provides GIS mapping and search features to view information on workforce and business information: click here.
Q: What are Idaho’s key industries?
A: Short summaries of Idaho’s seven key industries, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, computer technology & innovation, food production, recreation technology, shared services, and travel, are available here.
Q: What tax incentives are available for businesses looking to relocate or expand in Idaho?
A: Detailed descriptions of tax credits, exemptions, reimbursements, and rebates are available here. Idaho’s Incentive Brochure can also be downloaded here.
Q: What programs or grants are available for communities working on infrastructure or revitalization projects?
A: The Department of Commerce administers numerous federal and state programs and grants designed to assist communities with improvement projects: click here.
Q: What resources are available for companies who want to start exporting or expand their foreign customer base?
A: Various services and opportunities are provided through the Department of Commerce to learn more about exporting and to connect with potential customers. From counseling, to workshops and trade shows, more information can be found here. For food and beverage exporting, the Department of Agriculture has additional resources found here.
Q: Where can information about Idaho’s infrastructure be found?
A: Maps showing the state’s interstate and rail systems, airports, freight delivery times and broadband are available here.

Energy Resources

Q: What information is available regarding energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources in Idaho?
A: The Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance provides helpful resources detailing the production and use of renewable and sustainable energy in Idaho. Find the “Idaho Energy Primer” and other publications here. The 2012 Idaho Energy Plan is also a good resource, available here.
Q: What incentives are available to businesses interested in improving their energy efficiency or using renewable energy?
A: A list of all financial incentives in Idaho for renewables and efficiency is available on the DSIRE website. Find the database for Idaho here.

Environmental Quality

Q: Where is a good place to start to find who should be contacted for various environmental questions?
A: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has a great directory called “Who Does What?” with contact information for various environmental issues: click here.
Q: What help is available for new businesses trying to navigate environmental regulations in the state?
A: The DEQ has produced a New Business Guide to help businesses understand and comply with environmental standards and regulations. It is available here.
Q: What environmental permits are needed for new business construction or expansion in Idaho?
A: DEQ has a webpage dedicated to permits and forms for air quality, water quality, and waste management. It can be accessed here. There is also an air quality permitting hotline number for callers to set up a meeting or ask quality permitting questions: 1-877-5PERMIT (1-877-573-7648).
Q: How long can it take to obtain an air quality permit to construct?
A: Depending on the size and scope of a project, an air quality permit to construct (PTC) can take up to 100-145 days to obtain. Refer to DEQ’s page on PTC’s for more information.
Q: Is industry-specific information on environmental regulations available?
A: Yes, industry-specific assistance is available through the DEQ at the following site: click here.
Q: Are there brownfield locations in Idaho?
A: Yes, the DEQ keeps an inventory of known brownfield sites and provides information on site eligibility and clean-up. Read about brownfields in Idaho and find a link to the list of known sites here.
Q: Is there help available for brownfield assessment and cleanup?
A: Yes, the DEQ has a Brownfields Assessment Program that funds and conducts environmental assessments of brownfields. This program can also be leveraged by private, for-profit organizations in partnership with a supportive local government or nonprofit organization. Learn more about the program here. If contamination is found, DEQ can help the site apply for a grant from the EPA to help with cleanup and revitalization. Learn more about the EPA grant here.
Q: What help is available for local governments looking to better manage and protect their air, land or water?
A: Numerous environmental guides are posted on the DEQ’s website covering topics ranging from pesticides to petroleum storage and surface water. Click here.
Q: Are there incentives in Idaho for a business to reduce waste and other pollution?
A: Yes, in addition to increased productivity, safer conditions for workers, lower operating costs, and reduced future liability, a business may be designated as a “Pollution Prevention Champion” by the DEQ. Learn more about the Pollution Prevention program for businesses here and see past award recipients here.

Labor

Q: Where can workforce trend data be found?
A: The Department of Labor’s “Labor Market Information” website is a great place to start: http://lmi.idaho.gov/. For specific reports broken out by county, region, and MSA covering standard data like count of workforce, unemployment rates, and wages, refer to the following page: click here. Additional statewide wages and economic data can be found here.
Q: What assistance is available to help employers in the recruiting process?
A: The Department of Labor has staff and online tools available to help employers post jobs, view job seeker profiles, and review & assess candidate skills. Click here.
Q: What funding and incentives are available to aid in the process of hiring and training new employees?
A: Idaho has a couple of programs available to help with the cost of hiring new workers, including the Workforce Development Training Fund and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Learn more here.
Q: Where are Idaho’s Labor Laws posted?
A: Idaho’s Labor Laws are available on a pdf: click here. Additional FAQs are also available online here. Required posters can be downloaded to display in the workplace here.
Q: What information is available regarding Idaho’s unemployment insurance tax system?
A: The Employer’s Handbook to Unemployment Insurance has all the information an employer needs. Find it here.
Q: What is the easiest way for businesses to pay taxes and report wages?
A: The Employer Portal offers a secure way to report wages and employee separations, pay UI taxes, and communicate with the Department of Labor. Log in here.
Q: How does someone find out who their local Regional Economists or Business Specialists are?
A: A map and a pdf directory are available to locate representatives by location: click here.

Tax

Q: What is Idaho’s tax landscape like? And where do tax revenues come from?
A: The Idaho State Tax Commission prepares an annual report that details Idaho’s tax environment: click here.
Q: What forms are required to file Idaho corporate income tax?
A: The forms required to file corporate income tax in Idaho are available from the Idaho State Tax Commission and can be downloaded directly from the following site: click here.

Transportation

Q: Where is general information available about the Idaho Transportation Department, including annual reports, strategic plans, and reference guides?
A: The Publications section of ITD’s website has a lot of helpful documents posted. Be sure to cehck out the most recent Annual Report, as well as the various guides under “General Interest.”
Q: What does Idaho’s rail system look like?
A: The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has a map available here.
Q: What are the general characteristics of Idaho’s highways?
A: ITD’s IPLAN portal provides maps and other geospatial information pertaining to transportation in Idaho: click here. The site includes an interactive Roadway Characteristics map that allows users to view various highway characteristics including lane width, number of lanes, shoulder width, widening potential and more, by toggling between the features under the ‘Data Layers’ dropdown menu and expanding the ‘Legend’ icon found at the bottom of the page: click here.
Q: What are the trailer length limits on the Idaho state highway system? What routes requrie permits for extra-length loads?
A: The legal vehicle and trailer size dimensions for Idaho are located here. ITD publishes a map that designates what routes are approved for various trailer length and/or require extra length permits. It is available here.
Q: How are Idaho’s highways maintained in the winter?
A: Information regarding winter maintenance can be found here.
Q: Where is data on real-time road conditions available?
A: 511 travel information can be found here.
Q: Where is data available on the traffic flow on Idaho roads and interchanges?
A: ITD provides numerous maps detailing traffic flow across the state: click here.
Q: What permitting and registration is required for commercial trucking in Idaho?
A: ITD’s Commercial Vehicle Services has all the information needed on ports of entry, permits, and motor carriers: click here. Additional trucking information can be found at trucking.idaho.gov.
Q: How can contractors find information on upcoming road construction projects open for bidding?
A: Contractors are required to access Plans and Proposals for project bidding through QUEST CDN. Instructions for registering with Quest CDN are available here.

Water Resources

Q: How are water rights obtained in Idaho?
A: The answer to this and many other frequently asked questions pertaining to water rights are available here.
Q: Where are the most commonly used water rights forms located?
A: The Department of Water Resources (IDWR) has a number of water rights forms and applications located in one location: click here.
Q: How can a certified water right examiner be found?
A: A current list of examiners appointed by the IDWR is available here.

Miscellaneous

Q: Is there a checklist of state and Federal regulations, licenses and permits applicable to special business activities and professions?
A: Yes, the Business Wizard on the Idaho Biz Help website provides a list of state and Federal agencies to contact based on selection criteria including business activity, business entity type, and if a business has employees or independent contractors.
Q: Is there a go-to place for the most-commonly requested business forms in the state?
A: Yes! here
Q: What assistance is available to help businesses secure government contracts?
A: The Idaho Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) helps businesses bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. It is located within the Idaho Small Business Development Center at Boise State University. Learn more here.
Q: Where can in-depth demographic and economic data be found?
A: The University of Idaho manages a resource called Indicators Northwest to help citizens and officials better understand community trends in the Northwest. Click here.