SALT LAKE CITY — Starting Jan. 1, out-of-state online retailers affected by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will have to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Utahns under a bill that could be considered in a special legislative session.

Members of of the Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee did not take action Thursday on the bill setting the date for collecting an estimated $80 million in state and local sales taxes from companies selling products online in Utah.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, the committee’s co-chairman, said he wants changes made to the bill to ensure the revenues will be put aside to pay for a tax break for manufacturers passed last session as well as a possible tax cut.

So the bill will likely come before the committee at its next meeting on Wednesday, the Legislature’s regular monthly interim meeting day. A special session may also be called on Wednesday by Gov. Gary Herbert to deal with several issues.

Gov. Gary Herbert may also call lawmakers into special session on Wednesday. He has until Monday to issue an agenda, known as the call, for a Wednesday session, but it is not clear the online sales tax issue would be included.

The committee discussed the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that overturned decades-old decisions that said companies that didn’t have a physical presence in a state didn’t have to collect sales taxes from customers there.

Utah is already collecting more than half of the estimated $200 million in online sales taxes from out-of-state companies thanks to voluntary compliance, state Tax Commission Chairman John Valentine told the committee.

Valentine said the commission has been “aggressively pursuing” voluntary agreements. Companies that have deals with the state include Amazon, which announced last year a distribution center is being built in Utah.

Now that the high court has ruled that companies can be required to collect sales taxes, Valentine said there could be an additional $58.6 million collected in state sales taxes and another $21.5 million in local sales taxes.

Utahns already are obligated to pay any sales taxes not collected by out-of-state retailers, but few submit what they owe along with their annual state income tax filings.

Additional information will be posted throughout the afternoon.

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Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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Lawmakers looking at Jan. 1 to start online sales tax collections

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