The tables in this chapter report tax credits for 1996 and 1997. The first table for each year indicates the raw data reported on the return, and the second table for each year corrects some amounts that are reported but not used because the tax liability was not large enough. Several of the credits have been combined in an "other credits" (see table footnotes) category to prevent disclosure problems since they are used by so few taxpayers. The category may have different members from year to year. (Some of them are very new, however.)

Readers may note that the return numbers do not add up. This is because a return may include several credits, in fact most do because of the prepayment credit.

Prepayments dominate

Prepayments of corporate taxes and the withholding of taxes on mineral production royalties are claimed on the Utah form as refundable credits. To the purist, it may even seem strange to call these credits against the tax since they are actually payments of the tax. In 1996 prepayments totaled nearly $172 million and in 1997 over $213 million. Actual taxes due for those periods were $150 million and $170 million. It appears the prepayment requirements are working well to collect taxes, and that firms, in aggregate, are cautious in meeting prepayment requirements, overpaying taxes.

Refundable credits - those which will be returned to the taxpayer if they exceed the tax liability - include the "Off-Highway Agricultural Gas Tax Credit" in addition to the above prepayments. Their inclusion on the corporate form is a convenient way to refund gasoline taxes paid which the Legislature has exempted. In 1996 they were $44,000 and in 1997 $55,000.

Incentive-based credits are small

Nonrefundable credits are generally

designed to induce corporations to engage in a socially or economically desired behavior, such as investing in underdeveloped areas or exporting coal, or at least to reward them for doing so. Since they are nonrefundable, the full value of the credit may often not be used. The nonrefundable total on the accompanying table reports on those credits that can actually be used to reduce taxes, and the balance is reported on the line "excess credit." In rounded terms, about 155 taxpayers benefited in 1996 and 1997. In 1996, the amount used was only $3.9 million; in 1997, the amount used was only $2.4 million. In 1996, only about a $1.6 million dollars was not usable, but in 1997 over $10 million was unused. The large difference was in the Municipal Bond Credit, where an amount claimed may not have been apportioned correctly. Depending on the nature of the credit, they may be used in future years. Also there may be more unused available since some forms only report credits that are usable.

Some of the salient observations about credits follow:

In sum, it does not appear that the state is having large or widespread impacts through the incentive-based corporate tax credits.