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Governor's Cabinet

R. Bruce Johnson, Commissioner Tax

Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson was appointed to serve as a commissioner of the Utah State Tax Commission in October 1998 and was named Chair of the Commission in 2009. The Tax Commission is comprised of four commissioners who have the constitutional duty to administer and supervise all of the tax laws of the state, including property tax, income tax, franchise tax, sales tax and all miscellaneous taxes. The Commissioners promulgate rules, advise the legislature and governor on tax issues, and adjudicate tax disputes. The Auditing Division and the Taxpayer Services division handle audits and refund request respectively. The Processing Division processes income tax returns and payments as well as filings for most other taxes. The Division processed over $6.8 billion in 2012. The Property Tax Division assesses most utility and natural resources properties in the state and assists and advises County assessors in assessing other property. In addition, the Commission’s Motor Vehicle Division is responsible for registration and titling of motor vehicles in the state and the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division is responsible for regulating the motor vehicle sales industry.

Johnson currently serves as President of the Federation of Tax Administrators. He is a past chair of the Multistate Tax Commission, where he currently serves on its Executive Committee. He was the founding national Co-chair of the Streamlined Sales Tax Implementing States and has served on the Executive Committee of the Governing Board. He was a member of former Governor Olene Walker’s Tax Advisory Group and was the principal draftsman of Governor Walker’s Recommendations on a Tax Structure for Utah’s Future. He is also a member of the Utah Tax Review Commission, a former Board Member of the National Tax Association and past chair of the American Bar Association Tax Section Committee on State and Local Taxes. He received the Outstanding Trial Attorney Award from the Department of Justice.

Prior to his appointment, Johnson was a partner in the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, where he litigated state and local tax disputes and advised clients on state and local tax issues, tax exemption issues and issues relating to tax exempt municipal financing. Before joining Holme Roberts, he was a trial attorney for the Tax Division of the U. S. Department of Justice.

Johnson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in accounting, cum laude, and is a Certified Public Accountant. He received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Brigham Young University, where he was a J. Reuben Clark Scholar.

Johnson and his wife have been happily married for 36 years and have two children. They lived in the Washington, D.C. area and Denver, CO, but always return to their Utah roots. Johnson’s second great grandfather came to Utah in 1847 and served several terms as Utah’s territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress.