Utah Corporate Franchise Tax Data

The data in this publication give a fairly complete picture of the corporate franchise tax for tax years 1996 and 1997. The data given is the most recent available for the tax year in review.

Corporate income taxes are not only complicated by their logic, but also by their timing. In 1995, a taxpayer may make an estimated payment on his 1995 taxes. In 1996, he will file a return and at that time may make an additional payment or receive a refund. If he has a loss he may even get a refund on a previous year's tax, using the loss carryback provision. In 1997, he may amend his return and change the data on his 1995 return filed in 1996, and make an additional payment or receive a refund.

In 1998, he may be audited, and his original return (1995) will change again. In addition to further payments for the 1995 tax year he maybe required to pay interest and penalties in 1998. In addition, his 1995 tax year may end on March 31, 1995 and include some prepayment made in September of 1994, or a loss incurred in 1997 and reported on the return in 1995, may be carried back to the 1993 and 1994 returns.

In sum, the revenue for a given tax year can span a number of fiscal years, and the return itself can be dynamic, changing depending on when it is examined. The data reported in this report represent a snapshot of how the data stood in early 1999.


For the majority of this report, the data is "Utah apportioned data," meaning that it has been multiplied by a factor that determines the Utah portion of a national figure for tax purposes. (More on apportionment will be found later.)

Since Utah has a minimum tax payment of $100 per taxable unit, some taxpayers pay a tax independent of their incomes. For this reason, we have divided the data into those that are minimum taxpayers and those that really are income based payers.

We have reported some data by income class. The income used is "Utah taxable income." For those who pay the minimum tax, we only have two divisions: those with no income (zero or less), and those with positive income. Those with positive income will generally have income less than $2,000. But multiple corporations that file together can be minimum taxpayers, even with income over $2,000. For reasons of disclosure we have not reported their income in a more detailed way. (Examining the data tables will make this more clear.)

We have also reported the data according to a very broad sector breakdown. In this presentation, the income classes are larger for disclosure reasons. The "no income" "positive income," and detailed income classes have the same meaning as above.

In the data on apportionment, the income category is "before apportioninent" and the factors are weighted averages for class members, weighted by income before apportionment.

Corporate return data is very messy, with many taxpayer errors and recording errors. Often times taxpayers will not fill out the state return, but will attach their own schedules, much to our chagrin. This year Jennifer Brown and Jon Kemp have performed a major task in editing the data to examine large anomalies.