Utah Legislature weighs in against Biden’s IRS reporting proposal

State lawmakers contend the measure would violate individual privacy.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Pledge of Allegiance in the House Chamber as the Utah Legislature hold a special session in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

Utah lawmakers are denouncing bank reporting requirements proposed by President Joe Biden’s administration as it seeks to nab tax scofflaws.

A resolution that sailed through the state Legislature on Tuesday and Wednesday declares that the White House plan would “jeopardize the privacy and security of accounts and personal information” and create a significant amount of extra work for financial institutions.

The Biden administration measure initially would have called on banks to furnish the Internal Revenue Service with information about accounts that had yearly deposits or withdrawals totaling more than $600. It later adjusted that amount to $10,000 in response to critics — but even that watered-down proposal seems unlikely to succeed.

Still, Utah legislators wanted to make sure they made their opinion on the matter clear with a nonbinding position statement.

“I hope that each of us will protect and stand up for ... constituents, our friends and neighbors,” state Sen. Chris Wilson, R-Logan, said Wednesday. “And we can avoid this unnecessary, harmful intrusions and burdensome reporting requirements for financial institutions.”

Wilson also suggested that the measure might impact lower-income Utahns, as banks pass along to customers the cost of complying with the proposed federal reporting mandate.

But Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, objected to the resolution’s assertion that privacy concerns are discouraging people from opening bank accounts.

“I really would like to see where they got this information from,” said Escamilla, who spent 14 years working in the banking industry. “I just don’t like to be part of these very loaded statements that are going on a document that’s coming from the state Legislature.”

The resolution, HCR201, passed the Senate by a 25-4 vote, with Escamilla and three other Democrats opposing it. It had already cleared the House by a unanimous vote the previous day.

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