Every year, your Utah Taxpayers Association staff members attend a couple of annual meetings that bring together sister taxpayer associations from states across the country along with tax professionals, CPAs, legal professionals and policymakers. In October, Howard Stephenson and Rusty Cannon attended the National Taxpayers Conference gaining valuable insights into tax policy, upcoming legislation and future plans for every region of the country.

The National Taxpayers Conference is an annual gathering of sister organizations like ours from states across the country. We update everyone on the current tax issues being discussed and proposed in our various states and nationally and share best practices and ideas.

It’s clear that every state faces similar issues on taxation, however, the demographics and economics of each state differ significantly. Utah is unique in that we have a robust and growing economy. We could have it much worse by being tied to dying industries, or suffering from a declining population and experiencing negative net migration as residents leave as is happening in other states. We are very fortunate to have the relatively young, diverse and educated workforce and policymakers that have governed the state in a conservative way with good tax policy and the best business environment in the country.

After hearing the report from our sister organization in California, we are confident that the Golden State will continue to be the “gift that keeps on giving” for Utah. Policymakers continue to propose and pass higher taxes, more restrictions on business and are even proposing a business killing classification system in property taxes that will ramp up the demonization of the very businesses that provide jobs for California families.

Rusty Cannon presented at the annual meeting for COST (Council on State Taxation), which was celebrating its 50th anniversary as an organization that promotes good tax policy around the country. Cannon gave an update during the Western States section on current tax legislation and future policy goals in Utah. The current tax reform efforts in Utah were a hot topic as tax professionals from around the country are watching how it unfolds.

He also discussed upcoming efforts to have Utah join the vast majority of other states in decoupling from federal tax law on GILTI (Global Intangible Low Taxed Income). That would save taxpayers upwards of $12 million per year. Business and industry representatives as well as CPAs and attorneys from all over the country spent several days discussing state tax policy and provided insight on how various states are navigating the waters.