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Amazon to start including sales tax on Utahns’ online purchases

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utahns have always been required to pay sales tax on online purchases, but Amazon is now taking steps to make sure those taxes are paid automatically instead of relying on the honor system.

Charlie Roberts, a spokesman for the Utah State Tax Commission, confirmed the change Wednesday. The change will take effect beginning January 1, 2017.

“Within the last couple of weeks we reached an agreement with Amazon where they will begin collecting the state sales tax, the 4.7 percent plus the other local options, from Utah customers,” he said.

State lawmakers acknowledged earlier this year that, while Utahns are required to pay sales taxes for online purchases, few take the steps of reporting and paying those taxes each year. Lawmakers introduced a bid to require online retailers to charge the tax at the point of sale, but that bill ultimately failed to pass in 2016.

Roberts said they've been working toward this agreement with Amazon for several years.

“It's tax we actually owe and should be paying: it's called a use tax, and you should be paying,” he said.

The deal makes Utah the 30th state to arrange such an agreement with Amazon. The tax commission did not provide specific estimates, but said they expect the financial impact to be significant.

Fox 13 News' Kiersten Nuñez spoke with several Utahns about the change, see the video above for their reactions.