Utah residents pay it almost every day, but how many really understand the state's sales tax? Sales tax rates vary slightly depending on the city and the type of purchase. The sales tax you pay on anything you buy and some services is a combination of different state, county, and local taxes. This rate can change as taxing jurisdictions revisit the percentages charged and differ depending on jurisdiction.
Utah Sales Taxes
As of May 2017, Utah's state sales tax rate was 4.7 percent, and that could be as high as 8.6 percent in certain cities, depending on their municipal laws.
After the standard state, county and city taxes, local governments can charge additional taxes, for example, a Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax, a mass transit tax or a rural hospital tax. These additional taxes must be approved by voters in those political jurisdictions. Here is a summary of the types of taxes that are currently added to the standard sales tax in different locations:
- Mass transit tax
- Additional mass transit tax
- Mass transit fixed guideway
- County option transportation
- Supplemental state sales and use tax
- County airport, highway, and public transit tax
- Rural hospital tax
- Botanical, cultural, zoo tax (county)
- Botanical, cultural, zoo tax (municipal)
- Highway tax
- County option sales tax
- Town option tax
- City or town option tax
- Resort community tax
- Additional resort community tax
One fact to keep in mind is that if you shop in the city where you live, some of the sales taxes go to provide services in your city. So you might want to think about spending your money close to home to gain more of the benefit from the taxes you pay.
Utah does not have sales tax holidays, which some states use to encourage shopping.
Salt Lake City Sales Taxes
As of May 2017, Salt Lake City's regular sales tax rate was 6.85 percent and included the following:
- State sales tax: 4.7 percent
- Salt Lake County: 1.35 percent
- Special taxes, which include mass transit: .8 percent
Utah has a wrinkle in its sales taxes laws. It's called the use tax. Here's how it works: If you buy something from a retailer that is not in Utah, for example, online, and you intend to use, store or consume the goods you bought in Utah, you must pay a use tax if sales tax was not paid at the time of the sale. Most Utah residents report any use taxes due on their personal Utah individual tax return or Utah business tax return. If you paid sales tax to another state for the goods you bought, follow the instructions on your tax return for how to calculate what you owe Utah. Like sales taxes, use tax rates vary across the state, so you pay a slightly different percentage depending on where you live.
If you have questions or need more information, check the website for Utah's State Tax Commission.