Private Letter Rulings


General Information

What is a Private Letter Ruling?

A private letter ruling is a written, informational statement of the Commission’s interpretation of statutes or administrative rules and their application to a particular set of facts or circumstances. A private letter ruling typically addresses unusual or complex questions pertaining to a particular taxpayer. Private letter rulings are governed by Utah Administrative Code R861-1A-34.

It should be noted, the Commission does not issue private letter rulings to answer routine tax questions.

Whom do I contact about a routine tax question?

Routine tax questions are generally answered by the Technical Research Unit of the Tax Commission. You may call the Technical Research Unit at (801) 297-7705. 

If you want a written answer to your Utah tax question, you may send a written request for the information to the Technical Research Unit by the following methods: 

Mail:

Technical Research Unit
Utah State Tax Commission
210 N 1950 W
Salt Lake City UT 84134-7000

Email: taxmaster@utah.gov

Fax: 801-297-6357

Please include the following with your request:

  1. your contact information,
  2. a statement that you are requesting a written answer to your question(s),
  3. a description of the facts and circumstances of your situation, and
  4. any other pertinent information.

What if I don’t know if it is a routine tax question?

The Commission suggests that you send your question to the Technical Research Unit. Technical Research Unit’s contact information is above. If the Technical Research Unit receives your request and concludes that your question cannot be answered using the Utah statutes, rules, or prior decisions, then the Technical Research Unit may forward your question to the Commission for the Commission to answer through a private letter ruling.

Can Private Letter Rulings be used in an appeal before the Commission?

Yes. If an appeal is filed subsequent to the issuance of a private letter ruling, the weight the Commission gives a private letter ruling in a subsequent appeal by the same taxpayer depends on the degree to which the underlying facts addressed in the private letter ruling were adequate to allow the Commission to thoroughly consider the issues and interests involved. Private letter rulings may be used in appeals by people other than the ones who requested the rulings; however, the weight the Commission gives the private letter rulings depends on the similarity of the facts presented in the appeals to the facts addressed in the private letter rulings.

The Commission will not issue a private letter ruling for any legal question also being addressed by an appeal pending before the Tax Commission.

How can I view previously issued Private Letter Rulings?

The public may research and view redacted copies of most private letter rulings through the Searchable Database of Private Letter Rulings, located on the tab above. To protect the privacy of the people who have requested private letter rulings, the Commission has removed confidential information from the private letter rulings before publishing them. If you are able to identify a person, entity, or subject property when reading a private letter ruling posted on this website, please notify the Tax Commission immediately at taxplr@utah.gov.

What if I am sure I have a new question
about the interpretation of a statute as it applies to certain facts?

If you want a private letter ruling, you may mail your letter requesting a private letter ruling to the following address:

Office of the Commission
Utah State Tax Commission
210 N 1950 W
Salt Lake City UT 84134

Alternatively, you may fax your letter to 801-297-2292 or email it to taxplr@utah.gov. To help the Commission get your private letter ruling request processed efficiently and in a timely manner, we ask that you send an electronic copy of the private letter ruling request in a Microsoft Word format.

Your letter requesting a private letter ruling should be addressed to the “Commissioners” and should include the following information:

  • Your contact information
  • A statement that you are requesting a private letter ruling
  • A description of your facts
  • Your Utah tax question(s)
  • Other pertinent information

If you believe a particular answer to your tax question is correct, please also include the following:

  • A statement of what you think is the correct answer
  • The reasons you think that answer is correct

To see examples of request letters, you may view other private letter rulings through the Searchable Database of Private Letter Rulings, located on the tab above. Currently, there is no fee for you to request a private letter ruling from the Commission.

After the Commission receives your letter requesting a private letter ruling, the Commission will decide whether it will issue a private letter ruling to answer your tax question. If the Commission decides to issue a private letter ruling, the Commission will contact you and ask for a copy of your letter in Microsoft Word format if you have not already provided it. Also, the Commission may ask you additional questions about the facts you presented. Please keep the contact information you provide the Commission up-to-date. If the Commission decides not to issue a private letter ruling, your question may still be answered by the Technical Research Unit of the Tax Commission.

If you have additional questions about the procedures of private letter rulings or the status of your private letter ruling request, you may email your question to taxplr@utah.gov or call either Christa Johnson, Executive Assistant, at 801-297-3901 or Aimee Nielson-Larios, Administrative Law Judge, through her clerk at 801-297-3904.

What if I receive a Private Letter Ruling and disagree with its conclusions?

If you are issued a private letter ruling and think the Commission misunderstood your facts or you have additional facts that may be relevant, you are welcome to contact the Commission. This may be done through the methods discussed in the above section titled “What if I am sure I have a new question about the interpretation of a statute as it applies to certain facts?”

Additionally, you may also appeal your private letter ruling in the following two ways.

First, you may file a petition for declaratory order, which would serve to challenge the Commission’s interpretation of statutory language or authority under a statute. This petition must be in written form and submitted within thirty (30) days after the date of the issued private letter ruling. You may submit your petition by any of the means given below. Failure to submit your petition within the 30-day time frame could forfeit your appeal rights. Declaratory orders are discussed in Utah Administrative Code R861-1A-34 C, and in Utah Administrative Code R861-1A-31.  

Second, you may file a petition for redetermination of agency action if your private letter ruling leads to an audit assessment, a denial of a claim, or some other agency action at a division level. This petition must be written and may use form TC-738, Petition for Redetermination. Your petition must be submitted by any of the means given below, within thirty (30) days, generally, of the date of the notice of agency action that describes the agency action you are challenging. 

For additional general information, see Tax Commission Appeals. You may file an appeal through any of the means provided below:

  • Best way—by email: taxappeals@utah.gov
  • By mail:
       Tax Appeals
       USTC
       210 North 1950 West
       Salt Lake City, UT 84134
  • By fax: 801-297-3919

Searchable Database

Searchable Database of Private Letter Rulings

Due to the number of rulings available, we can’t offer a full listing. Instead, we’ve provided this database that includes rulings dating back to 1989. Hint: put your search phrase in “quotes” to search for an exact phrase.

If you are able to identify a person, entity, or subject property when reading a private letter ruling posted on this website, please notify the Tax Commission immediately at taxplr@utah.gov.

Recent Rulings

Recent Private Letter Rulings

NumberResponseResponse DatePostedPosted DateSubject Matter
12-0062012-09-04Sep 4, 20122012-09-05Sep 5, 2012Private Letter Ruling Request on the Application of the Utah Special Fuel Tax
12-0052012-11-28Nov 28, 20122012-11-28Nov 28, 2012Laboratory Testing Services Performed in Utah for Out-of-State Customers
12-0082012-11-26Nov 26, 20122012-11-28Nov 28, 2012Validity of a Paper-Filed Utah Tax Return Signed Through An Alternative Signature Method
10-0122012-12-06Dec 6, 20122012-12-10Dec 10, 2012Sales Tax Treatment of Web-Based Database Services
12-0022012-12-07Dec 7, 20122012-12-10Dec 10, 2012Utah Sales Tax Treatment of Sales of Access to Online News Service
12-0092013-02-08Feb 8, 20132013-02-25Feb 25, 2013Sales Nexus and Corporate Franchise Tax Nexus Analysis for Out-of-State Companies Attending Festival and Tradeshow in Utah
12-0102013-02-08Feb 8, 20132013-03-07Mar 7, 2013Sales Taxation Implications of Sales of Gift Codes
13-0052013-10-30Oct 30, 20132013-11-19Nov 19, 2013Refundable Motion Picture Tax Credit
03-0182013-12-12Dec 12, 20132013-12-04Dec 4, 2013Manufacturing Equipment and Industrial Fuel Use Exemptions
13-0032013-12-04Dec 4, 20132013-12-09Dec 9, 2013Sales Taxability of the “Cloud Collaboration Service Offering”
13-0022013-12-10Dec 10, 20132013-12-17Dec 17, 2013Whether the Manufacturing Equipment Exemption would Exempt the Purchases of Certain Refinery Assets from Utah Sales and Use Tax
13-0042013-12-13Dec 13, 20132013-12-17Dec 17, 2013Utah Capital Gain Transaction Credit
13-0062014-05-29May 29, 20142014-06-03Jun 3, 2014* Rescinded June 20, 2014 * Trade-In Exemption Found in Utah Code § 59-12- 104(17) of the Utah Sales and Use Tax Act
11-0072012-08-16Aug 16, 20122012-08-20Aug 20, 2012Utah Sales Tax Treatment of Repair Services on Turbine Generators Located in Utah and Used to Generate Electricity for Sale
12-0042012-05-31May 31, 20122012-06-07Jun 7, 2012For Sales Tax Purposes, the Applicability of the Farming Operations Exemption Found in § 59-12-104(18) to Pipe Purchased by a Mutual Nonprofit Irrigation Company
11-0052012-03-21Mar 21, 20122012-03-26Mar 26, 2012Private Letter Ruling Request–Multi-Channel Audio and Video Service Tax Treatment of Certain Separately Stated Cable Charges
10-0112012-02-24Feb 24, 20122012-02-27Feb 27, 2012Sales Tax Treatment of Web-Based Remote Access Services
11-0042012-01-24Jan 24, 20122012-02-01Feb 1, 2012Applicability of Utah Admin. Code R865-9I-44 to a Nonresident Professional Athlete for the Situation Presented
11-0062012-01-12Jan 12, 20122012-01-17Jan 17, 2012Sales Tax Treatment of Sales of Online Services that Assist Human Resource Departments in the Job Application and Hiring Process
11-0022011-12-21Dec 21, 20112011-12-27Dec 27, 2011Sales Tax on Scaffolding Rentals and Related Charges
11-0032011-11-15Nov 15, 20112011-11-17Nov 17, 2011For Sales Tax Purposes, the Applicability of the Farming Operations Exemption Found in § 59-12-104(18) to Pipe Purchased by a Mutual Nonprofit Irrigation Company
09-002 Supp2011-11-17Nov 17, 20112011-11-17Nov 17, 2011Sales and use tax pertaining to Public Relations, Advertising/Marketing Firms, Media Buying, PowerPoint Presentations, Creative Design/Graphic Artists and Web Site Design/Programming
11-0012011-09-09Sep 9, 20112011-10-11Oct 11, 2011Sales Tax Treatment on Digital Certificate and Authentication/Resolution Services
14-0012015-02-11Feb 11, 20152015-02-11Feb 11, 2015Manufacturing Equipment Exemption
06-0232014-11-30Nov 30, 20142014-09-16Sep 16, 2014Compression Services
14-0022015-04-23Apr 23, 20152015-04-28Apr 28, 2015No ruling issued
15-0012015-04-21Apr 21, 20152015-04-28Apr 28, 2015Utah Sales and Use Tax Rate for Bakery Items Sold at Special Events
15-0032015-04-22Apr 22, 20152015-04-28Apr 28, 2015Proper Apportionment Methodology for a Freight Forwarder for Utah Corporate Franchise and Income Tax Purposes
15-0042015-09-28Sep 28, 20152015-10-08Oct 8, 2015Utah Sales and Use Taxability of Sales Involving Computer Software Interfaces
15-0052015-11-16Nov 16, 20152016-01-06Jan 6, 2016Sales and Use Taxability of Services or Computer Software Supporting Online Banking
15-006 2016-01-21Jan 21, 20162016-03-03Mar 3, 2016Utah Sales and Use Tax Treatment of a Capital Lease for Energy Efficiency Upgrades to a Commercial Building
12-0072016-08-16Aug 16, 20162016-08-16Aug 16, 2016No ruling issued
15-0072016-06-29Jun 29, 20162016-10-11Oct 11, 2016Sales and Use Taxability of Sales of Table Top Point of Sale (“POS”) Device System in Restaurants
15-0082016-07-20Jul 20, 20162016-10-11Oct 11, 2016Multi-level Marketing
16-0012016-07-01Jul 1, 20162016-10-24Oct 24, 2016Application of the Exemption Found in Subsection (14)(c) of Utah Code Ann. § 59-12-104 to the Situation Presented
16-0032017-03-31Mar 31, 20172017-05-03May 3, 2017Sales and use tax for company operating an internet marketplace
16-0042017-03-31Mar 31, 20172017-05-11May 11, 2017Cloud storage and virtual computing environments