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Interim committees assigned to evaluate tax-related issues, report findings to state officials

By Sun Advocate

The 2002 Utah Legislature refrained from compounding the tax burden shouldered by the state’s non-smoking citizens.
Instead, Utah lawmakers opted to tap into the state’s rainy day fund to balance the 2002 and 2003 budget deficits.
In addition to budget concerns, several issues surfaced during the 2002 session requiring clarification before the Utah Legislature would act in connection with the matters.
The lawmakers assigned the items to interim study committees, explained the Utah Taxpayers Association.
The committees will report the study findings during the next legislative session.
Of the 188 items referred to the study committees, the tax-related issues identified by the association include:
•Fee analysis – The members of the panel will explore the feasibility of creating a task force to study fees charged by state agencies.
•Ballot question on tuition tax credits – The members of the group will evaluate placing a statewide opinion question on the ballot regarding whether to allow tuition tax credits in Utah.
•Impact of universal tuition tax credit – The panel committee mebers will develop an economic model illustrating how the credit would affect the state’s public education system.
•Telecommunications taxes – The group members will consider a sales exemption for telecommunications equipment and the possibility of taxing long distance telephone service.
•Allocation of local tax interest – The members of the panel will study whether to allocate the interest earned on taxes collected by the state commission and imposed by a county, city or town back to local government.
•Capping property taxes – The group will explore putting a constitutional cap on private property tax increases and collections.
•Corporate franchise tax – The committee members will evaluate the elimination of the corporate franchise income tax.
•County option land tax – The members of the group will study a county option sales and use tax to fund the preservation of agricultural land, open spaces and watersheds.
•Corrective lens exemption – The panel’s membership will study exempting prescription eyeglasses or contact lens from sales and use taxes
•Inheritance tax – The group will weigh revising Utah’s inheritance tax in light of changes to the federal law.
•Property tax appeals – The committee will study whether to subject counties to the same standards as citizens in property tax appeals.
The members of a second related panel will study the existing process for appealing property tax assessments.
•Property taxes – Onepanel will consider, under what circumstances, applications or filings should be required for an exemption from taxation or a reduction in value.
A second committee will study property tax relief for senior citizens residing at locations across Utah.
A third group will evaluate the issues related to the state’s secondary residence property tax.
•Tax credit for education donations – The designated committee members will consider allowing a 50 percent tax credit for donations to public and higher education.
•Manufacturing tax credits – The members assigned to the panel will explore providing non-refundable tax credits for certain manufacturing capital investments in the state.
•Military service deduction – The legislatively selected group will evaluate implementing an individual income tax deduction on military pay for service performed outside Utah.
•Taxing sleeping accommodations. This committee will study a proposal for taxation on rentals of public sleeping accommodations.
•Tax relief for higher education expenses – The panel will consider the availability and weigh the need for tax deductions or credits for higher education expenses.
•Truth-in-taxation advertising – The members of the group will weigh requiring taxing entities operating on a Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 calendar year to publish only one advertisement rather than two notices before budgeting an increased amount of property tax revenue.
•Unemployment insurance exemption – The committee membership will study an optional exemption from the unemployment insurance tax for corporate officers.
•Highway and motor fuel fees/taxes – The panel will consider whether to amend the Revenue and Taxation Article of the Utah Constitution to expand the allowable uses of highway user and motor fuel fees and taxes to include mass transit.
•Unemployment insurance – The designated committee will study unemployment insurance issues, including benefits, eligibility and taxes.

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