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Utah Lawmakers Enter Special Session With Tick List Of Tax Bills

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Austen Diamond / KUER
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The Utah Legislature will meet in a special session Wednesday to address a laundry list of items, including a handful of tax bills — one of which would require payment of sales tax on most online purchases.

Other bills are meant to bring the state into compliance with the federal tax reform package Congress passed in December.

“Utah piggybacks on the federal income tax system, which makes it a lot simpler for us,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy. “But when they make adjustments, that affects us. So we have to address those issues.”

Most Utahns “won’t feel any effect at all” from the tax compliance bills, said Utah Tax Commissioner John Valentine.

“The federal government changed the reporting requirement one week after we closed our legislative session back in March,” Valentine said. Now, the state will be able to adopt the new requirements.

The biggest tax change lawmakers will decide uponis whether to implement last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows states to require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes.

Utah’s Republican-led legislature is jumping at the opportunity and may make it official come January 1, 2019.

Most large online companies — including Amazon — are already collecting sales tax after working out deals with the state. But state budget analysts and the Utah Tax Commission estimate that implementing the Supreme Court ruling could bring in another $60 million.

In Wednesday’s special session, lawmakers will also vote on changes to a controversial bill creating an inland port in Salt Lake City. State leaders announced an agreement with the Salt Lake City Council this week on a new version.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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