As Utahns fill out their income tax forms this year, there will be something new to consider: Don't forget the homeless.
That instruction will be found for the first time in this year's Utah income tax booklet, at least in an indirect way.This year's state tax form gives Utah taxpayers an opportunity to provide year-round funding for homeless programs through a checkoff provision found on line 20 of the long form and line 11 of the short form. Taxpayers can donate $2, $5, $10 or another specified amount from their income tax return using the checkoff provision.
The money doesn't come out of tax dollars, but out of taxpayers' own funds. For example, if a person checks off $10 for the homeless and has a refund coming, the $10 will be taken from the refund. If a person checks off $10 on the tax form and owes taxes, the $10 should be added to the tax payment.
In brief, the tax form is simply a way to remind people of the need to support programs for the homeless, including operating costs for the new shelter built in Salt Lake City. All of this support must come from donations. At least 20 percent of the earmarked funds will be reserved for homeless programs outside the heavily populated Wasatch Front counties of Salt Lake, Weber, Davis, and Utah counties.
The tax checkoff is an easy way to help raise the crucial funds to care for those who have no homes. Utahns should make generous use of it.