The Governor, with the consent of the State Senate, appoints four state tax commissioners. The Constitution of Utah directs the Tax Commissioners to administer and supervise the state’s tax laws. To separate tax appeals and agency oversight from agency functions, the Tax Commissioners, in consultation with the Governor and with the consent of the State Senate, appoint an executive director to oversee the agency’s day-to-day operations.
The Tax Commissioners primarily hear appeals on 37 different tax types. With the assistance of administrative law judges and the appeals support staff, the Tax Commissioners hold hearings and issue orders or final rulings on the various appeals before them. In Fiscal Year 2009-10, the Tax Commissioners received 4,080 appeals; a 9.7 percent increase over FY 2008-09 and more than double those received in FY 2006-07. To provide general guidance for taxpayers, the Tax Commissioners redact confidential information from orders involving statutory interpretation, substantive case law and new or complex issues and then post them on the Tax Commission website. Taxpayers may also subscribe online to receive notices of newly posted decisions. In addition to hearing tax appeals, the Tax Commissioners promulgate administrative rules which help clarify tax law administration.
By statute, the Tax Commissioners also manage several other functions. The Economic and Statistical Unit provides tax related data and analysis and produces economic reports. The Internal Audit Unit provides consistent review of agency functions. The Public Information Officer coordinates communication with media and other external organizations. In addition to their primary responsibilities, the Tax Commissioners function in official capacities such as serving on the Governor’s Cabinet and chairing the Farmland Assessment Advisory Committee. Other commitments include coordination with local governments and organizations as well as participating in national organizations.