- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah legislator withdrew a bill that would have helped the state get sales tax from online purchases after he realized the measure could cost at-home bloggers thousands of dollars they get in promoting Amazon products.

Rep. Mike McKell, a Spanish Fork Republican, said he heard from bloggers across the state saying it would negatively affect them, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1LRw1oY).

McKell’s bill would have collected sales from online purchases. Without that collection, Utah is losing an estimated $180 million in revenue annually.

“In the end, what I determined was I wasn’t able to fix the problem for our advertisers and bloggers across the state,” McKell said.

David Davis, president of the Utah Retail Association, which had worked lobbying lawmakers to support the legislation, said he understands bloggers’ concerns, but Utah retailers are suffering without online sales taxes.

“We have brick-and-mortar businesses that are present here in the state that are employing Utahns, that are paying property taxes, that are paying payroll taxes, and our main streets are drying up,” Davis said.

Bloggers are paid by Amazon to post links to products on their sites. The online retail giant told McKell that it would end its relationships with affiliated advertisers in Utah if the bill passed.

“Given the fact that Amazon was really willing to pull those affiliate contracts, in the end there was no benefit to the state because we weren’t going to collect that online sales tax and we were going to lose that revenue in income tax from those families,” McKell said.

A similar bill sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, failed to make it out of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. McKell said he and others will continue to work on the issue over the summer, and that he hopes to have another solution to the sales tax issue by the 2017 legislative session.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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