Over the past couple of decades, Utah has been transitioning from cash grants to tax breaks. The Economic Development Tax Increment Financing program, for example, has replaced cash rebates with tax credits. The film incentive offers options for cash rebates and tax credits. Nevertheless, both credits are refundable, and refundable credits are a lot like cash if their amount exceeds tax liability, with a glaring difference that cash is easier to account for.
Subsidies are administered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, its Unified Economic Development Commission’s Go Utah Board responsible for reviewing the applications. Recipients are supposed to be disclosed on the “Economic Development Incentives Dashboard,” but the link is not currently active.
Utah is one of the four states that do not issue tax expenditure reports, but tax credits are regularly evaluated by the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee. The State Auditor actively monitors local compliance with Statement No. 77 on tax abatement disclosures, as evident by the audit alert issued in 2020 to provide guidance to municipalities on better reporting tax increment financing. Nevertheless, only one out of the 41 public school districts reported tax abatements.