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Brewer task force to overhaul sales taxes

Gov. Jan Brewer is pictured outside the Supreme Court in Washington April 25. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Gov. Jan Brewer is assembling a task force that will overhaul Arizona’s sales tax code and make it easier for business to comply with a system that she said is among the most complicated in the country.

Brewer announced the creation of the task force today at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Manufacturer of the Year luncheon, and signed an executive order creating the panel later in the day.

She said her goal is to have the changes in place by the end of her term in January 2015, but could submit task force recommendations to the Legislature as early as next session.

“I’m hopeful that these experts can bring us recommendations that will improve compliance and take some of the complexity out of the tax code,” Brewer told the crowd at the chamber luncheon.

The task force will largely focus on ways to simplify the tax code and improve compliance. Brewer said the task force is not meant to examine loopholes and exemptions that are often the focus of criticism of Arizona’s sales tax code.

“The task force is going to be looking at ways in which to simplify the tax code and try to eliminate confusion and help business owners who frequently are complaining about their confusion and difficulty in submitting their TPT (transaction privilege tax),” said Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson.

The Transaction Privilege Tax Simplification Task Force will include at least nine voting members, including representatives of cities, a statewide taxpayer organization, a statewide organization representing cities and towns, a small business organization, a private sector representative, and a representative of the Governor’s Office.

Benson said Brewer will in announce the members of the task force within the next several weeks.

Brewer’s announcement comes just a month and a half after she signed HB2123, which creates a 13-member Transaction Privilege Tax Reform Committee. Benson said the two task forces will have different missions, and noted that task force created by HB2123 will also study income taxes and sales tax loopholes.

“That is a separate task force with differing membership and a different mission,” Benson said. “It really is a very different mission they’ve been charged with.”

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