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Fishery Resource Landing Tax
Historical Overview

AS 43.77
Alaska levies a fishery resource landing tax on fishery resources processed outside of and first landed in Alaska, based on the unprocessed value of the resource. The unprocessed value is determined by multiplying a statewide average price per pound (derived from Alaska Department of Fish and Game data) by the unprocessed weight.

The Division collects the fishery resource landing tax primarily from factory trawlers and floating processors that process fishery resources outside of the state’s 3-mile limit and bring their products into Alaska for transshipment.

Tax rates are based on whether the resource is classified as “established” or “developing” by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and are based on the unprocessed value of the fishery resource. The rate for established fisheries is 3% and the rate for developing fisheries is 1%.

Taxpayers file returns and pay tax on a calendar year basis with a due date of the last day of the month following the month the Department of Revenue publishes the Statewide Average Price. Taxpayers are required to make quarterly estimated tax payments that are due on the last day of each calendar quarter.

Unprocessed fishery resources landed in the state are exempt from the fishery resource landing tax, but may be subject to the fisheries business tax.

The following are available for use against the liability of this specific tax: education, scholarship contributions, CDQ, and other taxes credits.

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

The Division deposits all revenue from the fishery resource landing tax into the General Fund. The legislature may appropriate revenue from the tax for revenue sharing as described below:

Landings Inside Municipality – The Division shares 50% of taxes from landings within a municipality with the respective municipalities in which landings occurred. If a municipality is within a borough, the Division divides the 50% shareable amount between the municipality and borough.

Landings Outside Municipality - The Division shares 50% of the taxes from landings outside a municipality (unorganized borough) through an allocation program administered by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

HISTORY1993 - The legislature enacted the fishery resource landing tax effective January 194. The rate was 3.3% of the unprocessed value of the resource. The Department of Revenue adopted regulations regarding administration of the tax, effective April 1994.

1994 - The American Factory Trawler Association (AFTA) filed litigation challenging the constitutionality of the landing tax.

1995 - The Alaska Supreme Court rejected AFTA’s request based on AFTA’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies with the Department of Revenue.

1996 - The landing tax was restructured to mirror the fishery business tax program. The legislature revised the tax rate to 3% for established species and 1% for developing species. The 0.3% portion of the previous 3.3% tax rate was incorporated into seafood marketing assessment statutes (AS 16.51). The legislature also amended the landing tax statutes to provide for tax credits for education and A.W. “Winn” Brindle scholarship contributions. All changes were retroactive to January 1994, the inception date of the landing tax.

1997 - AFTA dismissed its challenge to the landing tax and in June, the state issued a formal hearing decision upholding the constitutionality of the tax. Shared tax amounts from calendar year 1994 and 1995 returns, previously held in escrow, were released to municipalities.

1999 - The American Fisheries Act (P.L. 105-277) required a fishery cooperative to execute a contract with each cooperative member that obligated the member to make a payment to the state for pollock harvested in the Alaska pollock fishery that is not landed in Alaska. AS 43.77.015 required that those payments are treated as if they were landing taxes.

2001 – The legislature amended landing tax statutes to require quarterly payment of estimated fishery resource landing taxes, effective calendar year 2002.

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 education credit provisions to include cash contributions accepted for secondary level vocational courses and programs by a school district in Alaska and 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 January 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 expires December 31, 2013. The maximum credit allowed was to revert to $150,000 on January 1, 2014. The date was extended in 2011 ( elow).

2011 - The legislature enacted legislation extending the date that the $5 million annual education credit limit expires from January 1, 2014 to January 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.

2014 - The legislature passed HB 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 Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or an apprenticeship program in the state that is registered with the United States 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 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.

- HB 306 (CH 69 SLA 14) amended AS 43.77 and repealed certain existing tax credits (Winn Brindle scholarship credit, education credit, CDQ credit and film production credit) over the next 5 – 6 years if the legislature does not reauthorize the credits before their sunset dates.

- The legislature passed SB 71 (CH 69 SLA 14) that changed the due date for the Fishery Resource Landing Tax from a set date of April 1st to thirty (30) days after the Tax Division publishes the statewide average prices.

2015 - The legislature passed SB 39 that finalized the repeal of the film production credit.