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How busy was McCall this summer? Tax data shows boom, despite pandemic

Tamarack Resort Q4 2020
Future in Focus: McCall

McCall’s Local Option Tax report for the summer is in. The LOT receipts help paint a picture of tourism in the area during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

McCall has two different local option taxes that are required for people doing business within McCall. The street LOT is a one percent tax on retail sales. This does not include motor vehicles or groceries. The city also levies an additional three percent tax on lodging operations. 

The numbers show tourists and residents spent more money in the summer of 2020 than in prior years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Retail LOT report 

In June, July and August 2020 combined, McCall earned $825,260. An increase from 2019’s $811,357. 

The City of McCall brought in $13,903 more in tax revenue this summer over last. 

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2020 marks the fifth straight summer of increases in local option tax revenue. 

[Photo tour: Idaho 55 work zone down to one lane with machinery, rock in narrow canyon]

During the fiscal year of October through September McCall hoped to collect $2.1 million in LOT dollars.

As of now, without September, the city has received $1,836,125. The retail LOT forecast for September estimates $250,386 for September – for a projected total of $2,086,511. That means the city will likely collect just less than its forecast for the year – despite lockdowns in March, April and May. 

McCall summer street (retail) LOT

JuneJulyAugustSummer total
2019$255,465$293,877$262,015$811,357
2020$262,519$294,640$268,101$825,260

Lodging LOT report 

Hotel McCall. Photo: Kara Jackson/Special to BoiseDev

This summer also saw an increase in lodging revenue. 

In 2020 with June, July and August combined the City of McCall earned $290,680 from the lodging tax. In 2019, over the same period McCall brought in $279,065. 

This summer McCall earned $11,615 more. The increase in revenue is an indicator that there were more visitors in McCall this summer than last year. 

[‘Quarantine by the lake:’ Amidst pandemic, cabin rental company sees business increase]

Like the retail LOT reports, looking at the data from 2016 to now, the City of McCall saw a steady increase.

Summer lodging LOT

JuneJulyAugustSummer total
2019$87,224$102,472$89,369$279,065
2020$92,491$105,196$92,993$290,680

BessieJo Wagner, McCalls City Clerk, says based on data alone, numbers could be up for a couple of reasons. Wagner notes there are more short-term rentals this year compared to last. And the reason the general 1% plus lodging is up a little over two percent could be because of an increase in building permits.

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Autum Robertson
Autum is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Ketchum, McCall and general news. Contact her at autum@boisedev.com.

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