taxes

Tuesday April 15 marks this year’s deadline to file federal income tax returns. IRS spokesperson Bill Brunson says even if you’re not sure you can make the payment, it’s much better to file or ask for an extension before the deadline passes than to do nothing at all.

“I still would have a late payment penalty, but the late payment penalty is one half of one percent, as opposed to a 4.5% penalty for a late file,” he says.

Brunson also says if you’re going to hire someone else to prepare your taxes, it’s important to do so as carefully as you pick a doctor or dentist.

Flickr: TheDigitel Myrtle Beach

A bill that could make purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, like an electric car, a little easier on the pocket book passed out of the Utah House Tuesday.

  The Utah House of Representatives rejected a plan Wednesday to stop the state from cashing in if Congress allows sales tax for more online transactions.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect sales tax on purchases made online – whether the retailer is physically located in that state or not

If it passes, states like Utah could receive a revenue windfall – well over a hundred million dollars a year.  Republican Representative Jim Nielson wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Senators reluctantly gave preliminary approval to a bill that would give the NSA data center in Bluffdale an exemption from paying a utility tax.

Sen. Jerry Stevenson’s SB45 limits the ability of the Military Installation Development Authority, or MIDA, to levy an energy tax against the recently constructed NSA data center. He says an agreement to not collect this tax is one of the reasons why they chose to build here and if they don’t pass this bill they won’t be living up to their commitment.

Brian Grimmett/KUER file photo

A bill passed the Utah House Thursday that would require cities and towns to use some beer tax revenue on alcohol treatment and prevention programs. 

Forty percent of the money generated from beer and alcohol sales goes to municipalities in Utah and only about four percent of that money is spent on programs that combat underage drinking. Cache County Republican Representative Jack Draxler wants to change that.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams laid out his 2014 budget proposal today, which he describes as structurally balanced and fiscally conservative. The $870 million budget includes funding for a handful of new initiatives and a pay increase for county employees. 

Democratic State Senator Pat Jones is working on legislation that would eliminate the Utah personal tax exemption given to those who claim someone in their home as a dependent.

Jordan School District

Jordan School District is bursting at the seams. Schools there are growing at the rate of nearly two elementary schools a year. They’re growing so fast, that the Jordan School Board voted unanimously Tuesday for a bond measure that will make way for the construction of 11 new schools. 

The Salt Lake City Council gave preliminary approval to a $7 million tax increase last night despite opposition from Mayor Ralph Becker.  Members of the council say overdue maintenance can no longer be ignored. 

Salt Lake City Council Chair Kyle Lamalfa says while Mayor Becker’s budget proposal was lean and balanced it left out a few key items.

“What was not included in the budget was, and what has been missing for a very long time is ordinary maintenance of our roads, of our sidewalks, of our parks," Lamalfa says.

Bob Nelson

The Utah Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday deals with two traditionally conflicting issues facing Utahns, education and transportation. The foundation organizes the Utah Priorities Project along with the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Stephen Kroes , the president of the Utah Foundation says conflicts between education and transportation going forward need to end.

Utah lawmakers are hoping to bring in millions of additional tax dollars from online retailers, but a bill being proposed might be in conflict with the U-S Constitution. Federal law currently allows the state to collect taxes from online retailers as long as they have a physical location in that state, like a store or distribution warehouse. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Harper would empower Utah to collect taxes from some out-of-state online retailers.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced new tax incentives for three companies on Thursday.  One is doTerra, a company that makes essential oils – plant extracts that it sells through a network of independent distributors.  It’s promised to bring 330 new jobs to its company headquarters in Pleasant Grove in product testing and development, customer support and other positions.  For that, it will get 16-point-6 million dollars in tax credits over ten years.

Brian Grimmett

The Senate Revenue and Taxation committee chose not to move on a bill that would have allowed the state to tax water usage.

Courtesy of Utah State Legislature.

Members of the Utah House passed a bill today that would give businesses a tax break if they hire people who are homeless.  

Salt Lake County Democrat Brian King crafted the bill that would give businesses a tax credit of between five hundred and two thousand dollars for hiring an individual who is homeless. King said the legislation is designed to help some live more stable lives.

"What this is doing is giving individuals and a group of individuals who are struggling to be contributing citizens an opportunity to join our ranks as contributors," said King.

Utah’s Congressional delegation explain their vote on the “fiscal cliff” deal, the Utah Domestic Violence Council makes an effort to raise awareness, and the Jordan School District cancels another High School play.

The George F. Landegger Collection of District of Columbia Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to help avert the “fiscal cliff” late Tuesday night that includes extending Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. But for most of Utah’s Congressional delegation the deal wasn’t good enough to earn their support.

An Ogden family mourns the loss of their child in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the Utah Department of Health looks into the costs of expanding Medicaid, and Salt Lake County approves a 16% tax increase.

Salt Lake County residents voice their complaints about a proposed tax hike, Salt Lake City welcomes immigrants, and a former state legislator switches parties.

Public Lambasts County Property Tax Increase

Dec 11, 2012

Salt Lake County officials have been meeting over the past few weeks to try and mitigate a proposed property tax increase included in the county’s 2013 budget. But dozens of Salt Lake County residents made it clear last night during a public hearing on the subject, that they don’t think they’re looking hard enough.“You guys are broke," Salt Lake County resident 

Wells Wagner told members of the county council on Tuesday.

"It would have been nice to hear that before this past election.”

Corroon Proposes Tax Hike in 2013 Budget

Nov 8, 2012
Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon has proposed a $31 million property tax hike to balance the county budget. He unveiled his 2013 plan today, two months before retiring from his position. Corroon will pass the torch to newly elected Democrat Ben McAdams in January.

David Wilde is Chairman of the Salt Lake County Council. The Republican says he’s not thrilled about a tax increase, but it’s one of only two options the county has for keeping up with inflation, which has outpaced revenue.

Emotions are running high in Millcreek Township, as residents make final appeals to voters who are undecided on whether or not to become a city. This morning residents who oppose incorporation gathered near a street corner on 2300 east to address some looming financial problems they see with the proposal. But they weren’t alone, as residents who support it gathered close by. 

When Utah’s economy was roaring along in the middle of the decade, then-Governor Jon Huntsman and legislative leaders were looking for ways to reduce the burden of taxes on Utah’s economy.  It seemed as though there was plenty of new money to raise pay for teachers, build new roads and expand the reach of social services.

The top rate for state income taxes had been 7.5%. That was reduced to a flat rate of 5%.  The state sales tax on food was also reduced, and the state was still showing big surpluses in revenue – until the recession hit and the bottom fell out.