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Utah has the ninth best tax climate for businesses, according to a new study by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization.

Its annual State Business Tax Climate Index penalized what the group saw as overly complex, burdensome and economically harmful tax codes, and rewarded transparent and neutral tax codes that do not distort business decisions.

While it ranked Utah's overall tax climate as ninth best among the states, it ranked Utah's corporate tax structure at No. 3; its property tax structure at No. 5; individual income tax structure at No. 12; sales tax structure at No. 17; and its unemployment insurance tax structure at No. 22.

The study gave its highest scores to, in order, Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska. It gave its lowest rankings to New Jersey, New York and California.

The report's goal "is to start a conversation between taxpayers and policy makers about how their states fare against the rest of the country," Tax Foundation policy analyst Jared Walczak said in a press release.

"While there are many ways to show how much a state collects in taxes, the index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems, and to provide a road map for improvement," he said.