Utah residents overwhelming oppose state and federal legislation to require even the smallest businesses to collect and file sales taxes with 46 states.
Seventy-one percent of Utahns said they oppose proposed online sales tax legislation, according to research conducted by Vrge Analytics on behalf of NetChoice, an association of ecommerce businesses and online consumers who share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.
At issue is how states such as Utah attempt to collect additional sales tax from Utah consumers when they purchase from out-of-state catalogs and websites. Over the last decade the issue has slowly resolved itself as large retailers with a physical presence in most states already collect sales taxes for their Utah customers.
Overwhelming 78 percent said that the current system is “fine, I like it as it is.”
But, according to the Vrge Analytics poll, Utahns see the current system working fine and oppose this legislation:
- Sixty-seven percent said that imposing sales tax obligations on businesses that have no physical presence in the state would amount to a statewide tax increase.
- Sixty-seven percent of Utahns said the “issue has largely solved itself and requiring small merchants to collect and send taxes to 46 states is overly burdensome.” Only 16 percent said there “should be federal or state laws that require merchants large and small to collect and pay taxes to tax collection agencies in nearly every state.”
- Utahns support the current online sales tax system. An overwhelming 78 percent said that the current system is “fine, I like it as it is.” Only 8 percent said “it needs to change. More purchases should be taxed.”
Utahns are also worried about a boomerang effect on Utah businesses if state lawmakers passed laws forcing online businesses in other states to collect and file taxes when they sell to Utah customers. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they think the proposed law would encourage other states to impose similar obligations on Utah businesses that sell to customers in other states.
And two-thirds said they oppose laws that would allow state tax authorities to audit businesses from other states.
“Utah lawmakers would do well to listen to the loud and clear message and mountain of evidence that voters oppose misguided Internet sales tax bills,” – Andrew Moylan, R Street Institute
“The new NetChoice-Vrge Analytics research finds conclusively that among ordinary Utahns, such proposals are viewed as little more than a power and money grab. These findings largely track the results of 2014 polling conducted by Mercury, which found that Utahns opposed Internet sales tax legislation by a 15-point margin overall, including a 21-point margin among independents.” said Andrew Moylan, executive director, R Street Institute.
The Vrge Analytics survey of 601 Utah residents was conducted from Jan. 23-24 and has a margin of error of four percent. For a copy of the survey, please contact NetChoice at info@NetChoice.org
NetChoice is a trade association representing eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the Net.
1) In recent years, there has been a debate about ways to collect more taxes for online purchases. Some have advocated for new laws to require merchants large and small to collect and pay taxes for all 46 states with sales taxes. Others point out that taxes are now paid on most online sales, the issue has largely solved itself and requiring small merchants to collect and send taxes to 46 states is burdensome and adds unreasonable compliance costs. What is your perspective?
There should be federal or state laws that require merchants large and small to collect and pay taxes to tax collection agencies in nearly every state. 16%
The issue has largely solved itself and requiring small merchants to collect and send taxes to 46 states is overly burdensome. 67%
Not sure. 17%
2) When it comes collecting sales tax on online purchases, it has been long held that states can only impose tax obligations on a business if it has a physical presence in the state. Utah legislators want to change this practice with a new law that imposes sales tax obligations on businesses that have no physical presence in the state, but sell products to Utah citizens via catalogs or the Internet. If this bill passed and you had to start paying sales tax for online purchases from an out-of-state business, would you consider that a statewide tax increase?
Not Sure 10%
3) Are you more or less inclined to support this online sales tax legislation?
Not Sure 16%
4) Do you think this law would encourage other states to impose similar obligations on Utah businesses that sell to customers in other states?
Not Sure 13%
5) How do you think the current online sales tax process works?
It is fine, I like it as it is. 78%
It needs to change. More purchases should be taxed. 8%
Not Sure 14%
6) Do you support laws which would allow state tax authorities to audit businesses from other states?
Not sure 20%
7) Should all laws imposing Internet sales tax (federal, state, county or town level) exempt small Internet sellers from having to comply?
Not sure 20%
- Interactive survey of 601 Utah citizens, January 23-24, 2016
- Margin of error: +/- four percent