In case cruise ship passengers stop in Port Ketchikan (Revillagigedo Island, Alaska) in 2021, they are likely to pay an extra US$2 in head taxes.
In 2019, the Ketchikan City Council decided to raise local cruise ship head taxes, effective April 2021. And that raised a question about a tax break the industry gets from a state cruise ship head tax.
The state currently collects up to US$34.50 per passenger. But it is variable, depending on if a given vessel stops in Ketchikan or Juneau AK. If it does, the taxes due to the state are supposed to be reduced by the amount the cities collect.
According to state revenue officials, the law about the tax reduction freezes the tax break at 2007 rates. That is, the tax break is not supposed to change in case local head taxes change. They are proposing a regulation to clarify that.
According to Mike Tibbles with the industry group CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Alaska, that fit his understanding of the law. He added the proposed regulation was not a substantive change.
Revenue officials extended the public comment period on the regulation to November 12 after getting questions and comments about it.
The Port of Juneau first started collecting cruise ship head taxes back in 2000, followed by the Port of Ketchikan and the state. The taxes paid for hundreds of millions of dollars in waterfront improvements and services related to the cruise industry.