Legislature studies state tax structure

Oct 15, 2020
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Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs
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The Legislature has formed a Tax Study Work Group charged with presenting potential alternative tax scenarios to the public for consideration next year.

Senator Keith Wagoner (R-39 Monroe) and Rep. Noel Frame (D-36 Seattle) will jointly chair the work group. They plan to hold five virtual listening sessions that started Tuesday of this week and will conclude on November 9. These sessions are intended for technical stakeholders engaged with tax policy. Community members and businesses across the state will be invited to take part next year.

The sessions are broken down as follows:

  • Selective Sales Taxes: This meeting occurred earlier this week. It reviewed sales taxes on certain products, sometimes called “sin taxes.” This listening session covered the cigarette tax, syrup tax, tobacco tax, spirits sales tax, spirits liter tax, vapor product tax, and marijuana excise tax. Participants shared the strengths and weaknesses of selective sales taxes.

 

  • Estate Taxes: The estate tax applies to transfers of property located in Washington upon the death of the owner. Participants will share with legislators the strengths and weaknesses of estate taxes. A more detailed agenda and presentation slides will be sent to all registrants.
    • When: 10/27/2020, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 

  • Real Property and Personal Property Taxes: This policy area covers real property tax on land and buildings, structures, or improvements that are affixed to the land, as well as personal property taxes on other items used in business. Participants will share with legislators the strengths and weaknesses of real and personal property taxes. A more detailed agenda and presentation slides will be sent to all registrants.
    • When: 10/29/2020, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 

  • Business & Occupation (B&O) Tax and Public Utility Tax: The B&O tax is levied on the gross receipts of all business activities conducted within the state, except for public utilities, which are subject to a public utility tax. This listening session will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the B&O tax and public utility tax. A more detailed agenda and presentation slides will be sent to all registrants.
    • When: 10/29/2020, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 

  • Retail Sales & Use Taxes: The sales tax is paid on each retail sale of most articles of tangible personal property and certain services. The use tax is imposed on the use of articles of tangible personal property when the sale or acquisition has not been subject to the sales tax. Listening session participants will share with legislators the strengths and weaknesses of retail sales and uses taxes. A more detailed agenda and presentation slides will be sent to all registrants.
    • When: 11/9/2020, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

I am participating in the work sessions on behalf of WR. If you would like to discuss or comment on any of the session topics please feel free to contact me at 360-943-0667 or mjohnson@washingtonretail.org.