Note: This information is current as of July 2012. For the most updated information, see the website of the Utah State Tax Commission.
We pay it almost every day, but how many Utah residents 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 any purchase is a combination of different state, county and local taxes. The combined sales tax rate varies from 5.95% to 7.95% in different parts of the state.
Throughout Utah, there is a 4.7% tax that goes to the state government, a 1% tax that goes to the city, and a .25% tax that goes to the county. Groceries are taxed at 3% statewide, with 1.75% going to the state, 1% going to the city, and .25% going to the county. In most locations restaurant and prepared food purchases are taxed about 1% above the regular local rate. Hotel room taxes vary from 9.3-11.6%.
After the standard state, county and city taxes, local governments may 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 the affected areas. 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, part of the sales tax will 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 are used in some states to encourage shopping.
Salt Lake City's regular sales tax rate is 6.85% and includes the following:
- State Sales Tax 4.7%
- Local Sales Tax 1%
- Mass Transit Tax .3%
- Additional Mass Transit Tax .25%
- County Option Transportation Tax .25%
- Botanical, Cultural, Zoo Tax (County) .1%
- County Option Sales Tax .25%