71% of Utahns Oppose Legislation to Require Businesses to Collect and File Sales Taxes for up to 46 states

67% of Utahns Say Proposed Legislation Requiring Them to Pay Tax on Online Purchases from Out-of-State Businesses Would be a Statewide Tax Increase


Salt Lake City, Utah, February 4, 2016 – 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.

The full poll can be found at: http://NetChoice.org/UtahTaxPoll

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. But it’s more challenging for smaller retailers that don’t have the computer systems and accounting staff to ensure compliance with 10,000 nationwide tax jurisdictions and 46 state tax auditors.

In Utah’s current legislative session, several proposed laws would require out-of-state businesses to collect Utah sales taxes regardless of the complexity – including SB 65, SB 85 and HB 235. 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,” said Andrew Moylan, executive director, 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.”

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

About NetChoice

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.