New poll echoes R Street finding that Utah residents oppose Internet sales taxes
When Utah residents were polled by research firm Vrge Analytics, 71 percent said they oppose the proposed online-sales-tax legislation. These findings mirror similar results from polling completed by the R Street Institute and the National Taxpayers Union in 2014.
“It’s no surprise that Utah voters oppose legislation that effectively would force e-retailers across the state to serve as tax collectors for other jurisdictions, like New York and California,” said Moylan. “It confirms the results of our own polling, which found broad and deep opposition to this power grab by tax officials.”
Several bills in Utah’s current legislative session would require out-of-state businesses that make online sales to Utah residents to collect Utah sales tax on those sales or report them to Utah tax authorities. According to the Vrge poll, 67 percent of Utah residents believe imposing sales-tax-collection obligations on businesses that aren’t physically present in the state amounts to a tax hike. A whopping 78 percent of voters said the state’s current sales-tax system doesn’t need to be changed.
“The bills currently under consideration constitute an attempt by Utah to pressure Congress and the courts to give the state extraordinary powers to enforce its tax law outside its borders,” R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan said. “It’s important that the strong voices of opposition to these tax collection schemes be heard.”
The recent polling was conducted on behalf of NetChoice, an association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers who share the goals of promoting convenience, choice and commerce on the Internet.
In the R Street/NTU polling of Utah likely voters from 2014, respondents opposed a federal Internet sales tax law by a 15-point margin overall, including 21-point margins of opposition among independents and Republicans. Strong majorities also indicated their belief that the Internet should remain as free from regulation and taxation as possible, by an overwhelming 55-point margin. R Street and NTU found similar results in 19 other states.
“Lawmakers from Utah and across the country would do well to listen to the clear message that’s being sent to them on this issue,” Moylan said.