Mining License Tax
Historical Overview





AS 43.65

Description

Alaska levies a mining license tax on mining net income and royalties received in connection with mining properties and activities in Alaska. The Department of Revenue’s Tax Division collects mining license taxes primarily from businesses engaged in coal and hard rock mining.

Rates

Mining Net IncomeRate
$0 - $40,000No Tax
$40,001 - $50,000$1,200 plus 3% over $40,000
$50,001 - $100,000$1,500 plus 5% over $50,000
Over $100,000$4,000 plus 7% over $100,000


Returns

A taxpayer shall file a return either on a calendar-year or fiscal-year basis, in conformance with the basis used in making the return for federal income tax purposes. An entity with a calendar year-end shall file the return on or before April 30 of the following calendar year. An entity with a fiscal year-end shall file the return on or before the last day of the fourth month following the end of the fiscal year.

Exemptions

New qualifying mining operations are exempt from the mining license tax for a period of 3½ years after production begins. Quarry rock, sand and gravel, and marketable earth mining operations are exempt from the mining license tax effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Credits

The following are available for use against the liability of this specific tax: Education, Film, and Minerals Exploration Incentive tax credits.

For specific information concerning these credits, see the Description of Credits section.

Disposition of Revenue

The division deposits revenue from the mining license tax into the General Fund. Payments received after a tax assessment are deposited into the Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund (CBRF).

History

The mining license tax dates back to 1913, and first the Territorial Legislature, then the Alaska Legislature, restructured it several times over the years. The original mining license tax, enacted in 1913, imposed a 0.5% tax on mining net income of more than $5,000. There was no tax on net income less than $5,000.

1915 – The Territorial Legislature increased the tax rate to 1%. The tax-free net income base remained at $5,000.

1927 – The tax-free net income base was increased to $10,000 and a three-tier tax rate structure was adopted with rates ranging from 1% to 1.75% for net income of more than $1 million.

1935 – The Territorial Legislature restructured the tax to an eight-tier tax structure with rates ranging from 0.75% to 4% for net income of more than $1 million. The Territorial Legislature decreased tax-free net income to $5,000.

1937 – The tax-free net income base was eliminated and all net income was subject to tax. A nine-tier tax structure was adopted with tax rates ranging from 0.75% to 8% for net income of more than $1 million.

1947 – The mining license tax was restructured by reinstating a tax-free net income base of $1,000 and restructuring the tax rates to a five-tier structure with rates ranging from 4% to 8% for net income of more than $100,000.

1951 – The Territorial Legislature authorized a 3½-year exemption for new mining operations. This exemption does not apply to sand and gravel mining operations.

1953 – The tax-free net income base was increased to $10,000 and rates changed to range 3% to 7% for net income of more than $100,000.

1955 – The rate structure as it exists today was adopted.

1987 – The Alaska Education Tax Credit program was enacted allowing for a tax credit up to $100,000.

1991 – The Alaska Education Tax Credit was restructured and the maximum amount was increased to $150,000.

1995 – The Alaska Legislature authorized the Minerals Exploration Incentive Credit. The credit is limited to $20 million and taxpayers may apply the credit against 50% of mining license liabilities over a 15-year period.

2002 – The Legislature authorized credits of up to 50% for contributions of not more than $100,000 and 75% of the next $100,000 in contributions made to the Alaska Veterans’ Memorial Endowment Fund. The tax credit expired July 1, 2003.

2008 – The Legislature amended the Education Credit provisions to include cash contributions accepted for secondary-level vocational courses and programs by a school district in Alaska, as well as by a state-operated vocational technical education and training school.

2010 – The Legislature amended the Education Credit by increasing the maximum credit allowed from $150,000 to $5 million effective Jan. 1, 2011. In addition, the Legislature expanded contributions eligible for the credit to include contributions made for construction and maintenance of facilities by state-operated vocational education schools and two- or four-year colleges. The increase in the credit from $150,000 to $5 million expired Dec. 31, 2013. On Jan. 1, 2014, the maximum credit allowed reverted to $150,000.

2011 – The Legislature enacted legislation extending the date that the $5 million annual Education Credit limit expires from Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2021. It is then scheduled to return to $150,000. In addition, the Legislature expanded contributions eligible for the credit to include contributions made after June 30, 2011, to annual intercollegiate sports tournaments, Alaska Native cultural or heritage programs for public school staff and students, and a facility in the state that qualifies as a coastal ecosystem learning center under the Coastal American Partnership.

2012 – The Legislature enacted legislation exempting quarry rock, sand and gravel, and marketable earth mining operations from the mining license tax. This legislation had a retroactive effective date of Jan. 1, 2012.

2013 – The Legislature authorized the use of Alaska Film Tax Credits against taxpayers’ mining license tax liability.

2014 – The Legislature passed House Bill 278 (CH 15 SLA 14) that further expanded qualifying Education Tax Credits to include cash contributions to a public or private nonprofit elementary or secondary school in the state, a nonprofit regional training center recognized by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or an apprenticeship program in the state that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor under 29 U.S.C. 50 - 50b for direct instruction, research, and educational support purposes. In addition, tax credits are available for cash contributions accepted for a facility by a public or private nonprofit elementary or secondary school in the state, funding for a scholarship awarded by a nonprofit organization to a dual-credit student for certain educational expenses, for a residential school in the state approved by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, or certain qualified childhood early learning and development programs. Tax credits are also available for cash contributions for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs by a nonprofit agency or school district for school staff and for students in grades kindergarten through 12 in the state and for the operation of a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities that foster public service leadership for future generations of residents of the state.