How to file a Utah state tax return

The famous Delicate Arch rises above Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. The famous Delicate Arch rises above Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Image:

In a Nutshell

Life is good in Utah, the home of the famous Sundance Film Festival and five national parks. To help pay for all that goodness, however, you’ll need to pay Utah state tax on your income. But a flat rate can make calculations easier, and several tax credits could help lower your tax bill.

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Do you enjoy hiking in the Wasatch Range, taking in the sights of Salt Lake City or studying at one of Utah’s many public universities and colleges?

If you do, show some love for Utah taxpayers, whose state income taxes help support those activities.

But how do you pay your Utah state tax? The Beehive State has an easy-to-calculate flat tax rate and numerous tax credits and deductions that you might be able to qualify for. Here are things to help get the job done so you can get back to enjoying all that Utah has to offer.


The basics of Utah state taxes

You may need to file a Utah state tax return if …

  • You’re required to file a federal income tax return and you live in the state, even for part of the year
  • You’re a non-resident who earned income from Utah sources
  • You want a refund of overpaid income tax

You may be exempt from the state tax if your federal adjusted gross income is less than a certain amount, so check if you qualify for the exemption.

A pro tip: To file your Utah state income tax return, you’ll need data from your federal return. So the state recommends that you first complete your federal return even if you aren’t required to file with the IRS.

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Taxing body

The Utah State Tax Commission will process your state tax return. For information or queries, you can search in the “Ask a Tax Question” section of the Utah tax commission’s contact page. You can also email your question to taxmaster@utah.gov or call 1-801-297-2200 or 1-800-662-4335. Or send the agency a letter at 210 N. 1950 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84134.

Filing and payment deadline

Your Utah tax return and federal return are due on the same day each year: April 15. If that deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, it will be extended to the next business day.

Filing statuses

You’ll use the same filing status on your Utah state taxes as on your federal return: single, head of household, married filing jointly (if only one of you lives in Utah, the other spouse is still considered a Utah state resident in this case), married filing separately and qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.

Utah income tax rate

You don’t have to deal with confusing tax brackets and rates when calculating your Utah state tax — it’s a flat rate of 4.95% for 2018.

How do tax brackets and tax rates affect your tax bill?

Utah deductions, subtractions and credits

Utah offers several tax credits, personal exemptions, subtractions and deductions to taxpayers who qualify.

Personal exemptions

Although there are no federal personal exemptions for the 2018 tax year, Utah still allows a state-level personal exemption of $565 per dependent if you were allowed to claim the dependent on your federal return for a federal child tax credit.

Utah standard deduction

You can itemize or take the standard deduction on your Utah state taxes, but you must choose the same deduction method you used on your federal tax return. For 2018, the amount of your Utah standard deduction is the same as your federal standard deduction. Here are the federal standard deductions for 2018:

  • $12,000 for single filers or those married filing separately
  • $24,000 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
  • $18,000 for head of household

Itemized deductions

If you itemized on your federal income tax return, that amount is your total for your Utah itemized deductions as well.

Utah credits

  • At-home parent tax credit: If you’re a stay-at-home parent or qualifying caregiver and meet personal and income limitations, you may be eligible for a nonrefundable tax credit. Your child must be 12 months old or younger at the end of the tax year.
  • ABLE account credit: If you contributed money into a disabled Utah resident’s ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) account, you may be able to claim a tax credit worth 5% of your qualified contribution amount.
  • Health benefit plan premiums tax credit: If you weren’t eligible for employer-provided health insurance and bought your own health insurance through an Affordable Care Act healthcare exchange, you may be able to claim a tax credit worth 5% of the amount you paid for your premiums during the year. Caps and conditions apply.
  • Utah my529 college savings plan credit: If you’re saving for college expenses for you or someone else in a Utah my529 savings plan, you may be able to get a little bit back through a tax credit worth 5% of your maximum allowed annual contribution amount.
  • Student Prosperity Savings Program credit: In addition to the Utah my529 plan credit, you may be eligible to claim a credit of 5% of a qualified donation you make to the Student Prosperity Savings Program, a state-supported effort to help fund 529 college savings plans for low-income students.
  • Special-needs adoption credit: Utah residents who adopt one or more eligible special-needs children may be eligible for this refundable tax credit.
  • Credit for income tax paid to another state: If you live in Utah and paid income taxes to another state on income that is also taxed by Utah, you may be able to take the amount of tax you paid to another state as a credit on your state tax return. That way, you’re not double-taxed on your income.
  • Taxpayer tax credit: You may be able to take this unique nonrefundable tax credit, which is worth up to 6% of your Utah personal exemption amount plus your federal deduction amount (regardless of whether you chose to take the standard deduction or itemize your deductions). The tax credit gets phased out at higher incomes, however.

Utah subtractions

  • Native American income subtraction: If you’re an enrolled member of a Native American tribe in Utah and you earned income while working — and living — on the tribe’s reservation, you can subtract that income from your Utah state taxes if you included it in your federal adjusted gross income. Even your unearned income, such as interest and dividends, is not taxable.
  • Military pay and military spouse income subtraction: If you’re a nonresident living in Utah because of military orders, you may be able to subtract your active-duty military pay (and possibly even the nonmilitary income of your nonmilitary spouse) from your Utah state taxes, if you meet certain conditions.

How to file your Utah state taxes

The easiest and fastest way to file your Utah state tax is to do it electronically. The Utah State Tax Commission hosts a website — TAP (Taxpayer’s Access Point) — where you can file your return and make any payments online. If you earn $66,000 or less, you can prepare and file your Utah state tax return for free through the Utah Tax Help portal. And if you make $54,000 or less, you may also qualify for free online or in-person tax preparation assistance.

You can also e-file your federal and Utah state tax returns via free Credit Karma Tax®, which is among software providers listed on the state commission site. If you use another vendor, check for any fees and other charges.

If you prefer the comfortable feel of pen and paper, you can file your tax return by mail. You’ll need to download and print Form TC-40 and other tax forms. Alternatively, to request paper copies to be mailed to you, email the Utah State Tax Commission at taxforms@utah.gov or call 1-801-297-6700 (within the Salt Lake City area) or 1-800-662-4335 ext. 6700 (from anywhere else).

Mail your state return to the Utah State Tax Commission at one of these addresses:

If you need to send a tax payment and want to send your return by U.S. mail:
210 N. 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84134-0266

If you expect a refund or don’t need to include a payment, and want to send your return by U.S. mail:
210 N. 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84134-0260

If you want to send your return by express mail, FedEx, UPS or another company:
210 N. 1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

If you owe and can’t pay

If you can’t pay your Utah state tax by the annual deadline, you can request a payment plan from the Utah State Tax Commission. But you should pay as much as you can by the due date in order to minimize interest and penalties.

You can set up a payment plan by going to the state’s TAP website, by calling the commission at 1-801-297-7703 or 1-800-662-4335 ext. 7703, or by filling out Form TC-804 and sending it to the Utah State Tax Commission. Your plan request will be considered only after your return is processed. Beware, though: As long as you have an unpaid tax balance, you can incur penalties and interest, and the state may even file a lien to secure the debt.

Tracking your Utah tax refund

If you’re expecting a state tax refund, call 1-801-297-2200 or 1-800-662-4335, or visit the commission’s TAP website to check the refund status. You’ll need to provide a few details, including your Social Security number and either your refund amount or your federal adjusted gross income amount.

Depending on when you file, it can take up to 120 days from the date you file your return for the state to process your tax refund.


Bottom line

Residents of Utah live in a state with favorable economic conditions. Utah has a higher median household income compared to the U.S. as a whole ($62,518 vs. $55,322, according to the U.S. Census website). And some of the metro areas of the state have the lowest measures of income inequality among its peers, according to a Brookings Institution report.

Paying your Utah state taxes is a key part of the equation in helping to keep that economic juice flowing.