Amazon-Utah Tax Agreement Must Be Made Public

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By Tripp Baltz

The Utah State Tax Commission has been ordered to release details of its confidential tax compliance agreement with Amazon, under which the online retail giant agreed to begin collecting and remitting taxes on remote sales.

The State Records Committee on March 16 ruled in favor of the Libertas Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Lehi, Utah, after the commission denied a Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) request for a copy of the agreement reached between the company and the state.

In December, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who has said Utah could be missing out on as much as $200 million in unpaid sales and use taxes on online and other remote commerce, announced Amazon would start gathering and paying the tax on Jan. 1.

The records committee, which hears appeals of GRAMA requests, directed the commission to release the first six pages of the agreement between Amazon and the state, redacting numbers and some other specifics.

Charlie Roberts, spokesman for the commission, said by rule the commission’s voluntary tax compliance agreements are “always protected information” given the proprietary data they contain.

He said the commission hasn’t yet decided whether to appeal the committee’s ruling.

Libertas and Amazon.com didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s requests for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

For More Information

Agendas for the Utah State Records Committee are at http://src.bna.com/m9j.

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