2020 Bills

Reducing Compliance Burdens of the Tangible Personal Property Tax

One of our priorities has been working on reforming the annual tax on business supplies, otherwise known as the tangible personal property tax.

Utah businesses are required to pay a tax every year on already-purchased property. This means counting up every desk, chair, computer, machine, etc. And if the government doesn’t think you did it quite right, you’ll probably be audited.

Oftentimes the amount of tax revenue generated from taxing one business is less than the cost it took to collect the tax in the first place.

This year, the Utah Legislature made some substantial improvements to how this tax is implemented. Representative Karianne Lisonbee and Senator Dan McCay worked on House Bill 53 which exempts all property owned by a business if its acquisition cost was less than $500, regardless of whether that property is critical to the operation of the business.

This means no more counting up tables, desks, and chairs!

And that’s not all. Senator Dan Hemmert also ran Senate Bill 141 which puts Utah on a path to having all counties administer this tax using an online system like some counties have already implemented with success. This will make it much easier for small businesses to keep track of tangible personal property from year to year.

We still have some concerns with the way audits are conducted in some of the counties, so our work is not finished. Utah needs to continue to find ways to remove some of these hurdles for small businesses to help them thrive in a post-COVID-19 environment.

To learn more about this issue, you can find our policy brief here and check out this fun video we made drawing attention to the tangible personal property tax.