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Salmon Enhancement Tax
Historical Overview

AS 43.76
The salmon enhancement tax is an elective tax levied on salmon sold in or exported from established aquaculture regions in Alaska. Fishermen pay salmon enhancement taxes to licensed buyers at the time of sale, or to the Division for salmon sold to unlicensed buyers or exported from the region. Buyers remit taxes collected from fishermen to the Division.

Commercial fishermen elected tax rates for the following regional aquaculture associations:

Southern Southeast 3%1981
Northern Southeast 3%1981
Cook Inlet2%1981
Prince William Sound2%1985

Buyers file returns and pay the tax monthly. The due date is the last day of the month following the month of purchase. Buyers file returns for bonus payments made to fishermen after the close of the fishing season. Returns for these payments are due with additional taxes by the last day of the month following the bonus payment.

Fishermen selling to unlicensed buyers or exporting from the region file returns and pay taxes annually. The due date is March 31 following the year of sale or export.

Salmon harvested under a special harvest area permit (typically, salmon harvested on behalf of salmon hatcheries) are exempt from the salmon enhancement tax.

The Division deposits all salmon enhancement tax revenue into the General Fund. Under AS 43.76.025(c), the legislature may appropriate salmon enhancement tax revenue to provide financing for qualified regional aquaculture associations.

The legislature adopted the Salmon Enhancement Act in 1980. The Act authorized a 2% or 3% tax, upon election by commercial fishermen within established aquaculture regions, on salmon transferred to buyers in Alaska. Commercial fishermen in Southern and Northern Southeast aquaculture regions elected a 3% tax and Cook Inlet region elected a 2% tax.

1981 - The legislature amended the Act to subject salmon exported from Alaska to the tax.

1985 - Commercial fishermen in the Prince William Sound aquaculture region elected a 2% tax.

1988 - Commercial fishermen in the Kodiak aquaculture region elected a 2% tax.

1989 - The legislature amended statutes to allow for a 1% tax.

1991 - Commercial fishermen in the Chignik aquaculture region elected a 2% tax.

2004 - The legislature authorized additional salmon enhancement tax rates, subject to permit holder elections held by qualified regional associations. In addition to the current 1%, 2%, or 3% options, 10 additional options were made available ranging from 4% to 30%. This legislation clarified who must pay the Salmon Enhancement Tax. When a buyer does not withhold the tax, fishermen must pay the tax with an annual return. The legislation took effect January 1, 2005.