In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, Utah collected $9.1 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Utah taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in the charts below, Utah’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the seventeenth lowest in the nation for FY 2011 at 9.7 percent—or 7 percent below the national average of 10.5 percent. Utah’s tax burden has grown over time by a modest 10.8 percent to 9.7 percent in FY 2011 from 8.8 percent in FY 1950.
Utah’s low state and local tax burden is driven by a low property tax burden (2.7 percent, 36th highest), corporate income tax burden (0.27 percent, 28th highest) and all other taxes (1.6 percent, 38th highest). However, Utah does have a higher than average individual income tax burden (2.8 percent, 18th highest), and sales tax burden (2.6 percent, 19th highest) partially offsetting the lower tax burdens.
Note: FY 2012 tax data from the U.S. Census Bureau will not be available until later in 2014 because FY 2012 was part of their comprehensive “Census of Governments” that is done every 5 years (on years ending 2 and 7). Rest assured that Key Policy Data will post the FY 2012 as soon as it becomes available.
J. Scott Moody has nearly 20 years experience as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as the American Conservative Union Foundation, Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.