Survey Ranks Utah’s Tax System as Seventh ‘Most Fair’

Utah ranks 7th among the states in overall tax fairness, as determined by those paying taxes, a personal investment website says.

WalletHub’s 2015 “fair tax” report is just out.

While any number of research/political groups do tax studies each year, WalletHub’s is different in that it starts with a lengthy interview with 1,500 people across the nation – the central question being do you believe your state and local government tax systems are fair.

Other criteria are added in, and some government/tax experts weigh in as well.

But much of the ranking comes from ordinary folks giving their opinions on their state and local government taxing system.

Utah’s 7th ranking thus shows that for the most part Utahns believe their tax systems are fair.

Some Utahns, of course, think they pay too much in state and local taxes. But even if that is so, the system is still fundamentally fair to all, the new report shows.

Utah’s property tax system – which supports schools, local governments and special districts – is based on fair value of a property, assessed or adjusted each year.

Utah has a state and local government sales tax, paid by all except charities, churches and with some other exemptions.

And the sales tax goes on most purchases, except unprepared food, drugs and professional services.

Utah’s personal income tax is a flat 5 percent, no matter how much you make each year.

Like most states, there’s always talk in Utah of raising or adjusted taxes.

This November most counties in the state will hold a public vote on whether to increase the local-option sales tax by 0.25 percent, with the money going to local roads and mass transit operations.

A group of influential civic, business and education folks are advocating for a small increase in the state income tax, earmarked for local schools.

Come January a new, five-cent per gallon higher gasoline tax takes effect.

And across the state, business and homeowners are now getting their 2015 property tax notices.

Most are seeing their property taxes going up, as school districts, cities, counties and special districts are raising their property tax rates this year.

So WalletHub’s 2016 tax fairness report may see Utah ranked lower than 7th place among the states – Beehive State citizens tired of seeing their taxes going up over the next several months – thus reflecting how “fair” they see their basic tax system being.