Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Volunteers needed to assist families with tax preparation

Volunteers are being sought to assist low and moderate income families in Utah to receive free tax help and possibly cash in the form of an earned income tax credit.

Under the “Earn It. Keep it. Save it.” moniker, a coalition of community organizations reaches out to eligible families and provides information about the federal earned income tax credit.

“It is estimated that between $60 million and $80 million is unclaimed each year in Utah,” said Charlie Roberts, spokesman for the state tax commission and member of the statewide coalition.

The coalition is under the leadership of United Way of Salt Lake and Community Action partnership of Utah.

Volunteers are needed as tax preparers, financial resource specialists, interpreters, schedulers and greeters at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.

Those interested may register online at or by calling 2-1-1.

Friday, December 9, 2011

IRS closes counter at Tax Commission

As of Thursday, December 8, the IRS counter co-located at the Utah State Tax Commission will be closed and is no longer in service. The office is located at 210 N. 1950 West, Salt Lake City. IRS customers may visit the office at 50 South 200 East, Social Hall Ave. Salt Lake City."We have appreciated the partnership of the IRS people in our building, and we will miss them," said Barry Conover, executive director of the Tax Commission.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Utah’s Free Online Tax Account Management System Gets a Face Lift

Taxpayer Access Point (TAP), Utah’s online tax account management system, helps taxpayers save time and money. Although the system has been successful, taxpayers have asked for changes and improvements through the years. In response, TAP is getting a new look and enhanced functionality on Dec. 12.
What’s Different?
The improved system will still have the same security, but you can now access it on more browsers (you no longer need Microsoft Silverlight installed). You will also receive reminders, correspondence and other account information through TAP’s notification system.

In addition, you can now access the following tax types:

· Miscellaneous Sales Taxes, Fees and Charges including Lube Oil, Multi‐Channel Audio/Visual, and Sexually Explicit Business (TC‐62W and TC‐62WW)
· Municipal Telecommunication Tax (TC‐62Z)
· E‐911 Emergency Services Tax (TC‐62Y)
· Insurance Premium (TC‐49)
· Self Insurer’s (TC‐420)
· Brine Shrimp (payments only)

If you have already registered with TAP, you can still use your current login information to:

· File and amend returns
· Make and schedule future payments
· Check refund status
· See account balances
· Request payment plans and waivers of penalty and interest

Tax preparers and payroll companies can continue to manage their client accounts through TAP (with proper registration).

How do I Get an Account?
If you haven’t signed up for TAP yet, go to to start. The service is free and is still the fastest way to get your income tax refund!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salt Lake dentist sentenced for state tax evasion

A Salt Lake County dentist will have to pay about $165,000 or face prison time for failing to file tax returns and taking efforts to evade paying state income taxes.
Benjamin Lee Gilstrap, 59, was found guilty of one second-degree count of racketeering and two third-degree felony counts of tax evasion and attempted tax evasion.
Gilstrap resides in South Jordan and operates a dental office in Sandy. He attempted to avoid paying taxes by co-mingling his business and personal expenses.
Gistrap also failed to file tax returns during a five-year period in which he had earned nearly $1.5 million.

"Failing to pay taxes brings consequences because it is a failure to basic obligations of citizenship," says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "It is particularly disheartening because this defendant rebuffed all efforts for resolution which resulted in even greater costs to taxpayers."
On Sept. 19, Third District Court Judge William Barrett suspended Gilstrap's sentence of up to five years in priosn, but ordered him to provide full documentation for restitution, spend 50 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring, serve 350 hours of community service and serve six years of probation.
"Tax evasion is a serious crime that the Tax Commission continues to vigorously investigate," says Charlie Roberts, Utah State Tax Commission spokesman. "When those who receive public benefits attempt to skirt the law by not paying their fair share of taxes, it places an undue burden on the rest of Utah's taxpayers."
Gilstrap was investigated by the Tax Commission and prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to 5 x 8 work week

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the Tax Commission - along with all other state government agencies - will return to the traditional 5-day work week.
As always, customer service will be king at the Tax Commission and our divisions, including the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Our office hours will be a straight-forward 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The four 10-hour work days were implemented in August of 2008 by then-Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Utah CPAs honor former Tax Commission head

The Utah Association of CPAs recently honored 14 certified public accountants, including Rodney Marrelli, the former executive director of the Utah State Tax Commission.

Rod, who passed away in 2010, was awarded the Jeannie Patton Lifetime Service Award.

The article was published today in the Salt Lake Tribune online edition.

At the time of his death, Rod had been a member of the UACPA for 35 years.

See earlier Tax Commission posts for details of Rod's lifetime of service in the public and private sectors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Utah County businessman on the hook

A Utah County busnessman must pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the State Tax Commission if he is to avoid time behind prison bars.

Stephen Zimmerman, 58, was sentenced in 3rd District Court after pleading guilty to two third-degree felonies.

Judge Randall Skancy sentenced Zimmerman to serve up to five years in prison. That sentence will be suspended if he pays $241,000 to the State and completes other terms of his probation.

As owner of Professional Global Marketing Data Services, Zimmerman kept payroll taxes owed by his familiy and employees between 2005 and 2009. He then submitted false W-2 forms to the Tax Commission claiming the taxes had been paid to the State.

This is straight-forward theft of payroll taxes. As an employer he collected the taxes owed to the State, pocketed them, and then falsified tax records.Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said, "Plain and simple this is theft against every taxpayer in Utah. My hat goes off to the prosecutors and investigators who work so vigilantly to stop tax fraud."

The Tax Commission's Criminal Investigation Unit vigorously investigates these type of cases and the A.G.'s office prosecutes the criminals.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Senate Committee recommends Commissioner Dixon

The Utah Senate Revenue and Taxation Confirmation Committee unanimously recommended Commissioner D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli to a second 4-year term to the Utah State Tax Commission.
Senators Curtis Bramble, Howard Stephenson, Benjamin McAdams and Wayne Niederhauser voted to send Commissioner Dixon Pignanelli's name to the full State Senate for confirmation.
Commissioner Dixon Pignanelli was originally appointed to fill the unexpired term of Palmer DePaulis in March 2006. She was appointed to her first 4-year term in 2007.
She was praised by the Senate committee for her independence in applying the rule of law on her tax decisions.
Commission Chair Bruce Johnson complimented his fellow commissioner for her independence and also for her determination to implement the redaction program on the Tax Commission website.
To provide general guidance for taxpayers, under Commissioner Dixon Pignanelli's direction, the Tax Commission redacts confidential information from orders involving statutory interpretation, substantive case law and new or complex issues and posts them on the website.
Senator Bramble noted that the committee had received several letters of recommendation from business and taxpayer groups advocating Commissioner Dixon Pignanelli's reappointment to the Commission. Commissioner Dixon Pignanelli previously served as the director of Administrative Services and has a career in serving in both the public and private sectors.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Renew vehicle registraion w/mobile phone

It was just launched in March, but people already are taking advantage of a smart phone app to renew vehicle registrations.

Residents are now able to renew vehicle registration at any time using their iPad, Blackberry, or Andorid.

The Utah DMV is continually looking for ways to make the vehicle renewal process more convenient for our citizens.

With registrations renewals, there is really no need to come to our office. You can do it by snail-mail, online with your computer or mobile phone or at one of our On-The-Spot business locations.

In addition to your name and zip code, you simply enter the license plate number and last eight digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to begin the step-by-step process.

"Online vehicle registration has been extremely successful in Utah," says Barry Conover, executive director of the State Tax Commission.

"We recognize that citizens are busy and are increasingly utilizing mobile technology to conduct business transactions at their convenience," he adds.

Being part of the mobile innovation and expansion will also help the DMV realize more efficiences.

These actions save our citizens time and money while reducing DMV operation costs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It has taken seven months, an intense round of interviews, consent from the Governor and confirmation by the State Senate, but today Barry Conover is officially the executive director of the Utah State Tax Commission.

"We all know Barry and we all like Barry," Commission Chair R. Bruce Johnson told a comittee of State Senators. "But we did not hire Barry because we know him and like him."

"We hired him because after an extensive search, he was found to be the best person to lead the Tax Commission," the Commission Chair explained to the Senators who unanimously recommended him for Senate confirmation.

Mr. Conover, a 38-year veteran of the Tax Commission, replaces Rodney Marrelli who passed away Oct. 30, 2010.

He expressed his support to the division directors, managers and supervisors leading the 652 full-time Tax Commission employees. The new executive director also expressed appreciation to his wife, Kathleen, the Commissioners, Governor, and State Senate for his support.

In expressing his support to the employees, he noted that Tax Commission employees impact the lives of Utah citizens more than any other state agency.

Monday, April 25, 2011

National group honors Rod Marrelli posthumously

A national tax policy group honored former Tax Commission executive director Rod Marrelli posthumosly with a special leadership aware.
The FTA Executive Committee honored Mr. Marrelli, last week. He served as the chief administrator of the agency, managing its day-to-day operations, from 1994 until his death last October.
"We are pleased to hear of this honor give to Rod," said Barry Conover, interim USTC executive director. "It is another recognition of this great man's commitment and accomplishment.
Mr. Marrelli was a member of the FTA Board of Trustees and was an active participant with the Multistate Tax Commission.
He also served as president of the Western States Association of Tax Administrators and was involved in the Northwest Regional Sales Tax Project, the forerunner for the Streamlined Sales Tax project.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Take advantage of TAP

The Utah State Tax Commission has several different systems for filing and paying taxes online. To make the process easier, we are consolidating many of those various services into one system, called Taxpayer Access Point, or TAP.

As part of this consolidation, beginning June 27, 2011, TAP will replace the current WebExpress system to file, pay, and manage the following taxes:

· Cigarette and Tobacco – mandatory electronic filing
· Corporate – view and pay only
· Fuels – view and pay only
· Municipal Energy - mandatory electronic filing
· Other Miscellaneous Taxes – pay only
· Withholding – file, pay, and upload

If you currently use WebExpress, please register in TAP by visiting on or after June 27. Registering early will help prevent filing and payment delays. You will need your FEIN and 14-character account number (12345678-003-ABC).

As always, you can get to any of our online systems at This would be a good site to bookmark.