Seattle Chamber files appeal in lawsuit challenging Seattle payroll tax

Jul 8, 2021
Written by wpengine

In a July 2 email to Seattle Chamber members, President and CEO Rachel Smith announced that the Chamber would appeal a lower court ruling upholding the Seattle JumpStart tax. This payroll tax impacts more than 800 businesses in Seattle.

President and CEO Smith wrote:

This morning, the Seattle Metro Chamber filed an appeal of the King County Superior Court’s decision for the City of Seattle on the Chamber’s payroll tax lawsuit. 

We filed this appeal in Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals after our Executive Committee carefully considered our next steps on this lawsuit. Ultimately, Chamber leadership voted to file an appeal because of the legal questions surrounding this tax, also called the JumpStart Tax. 

We will continue to argue that the city’s JumpStart Tax unlawfully imposes a tax on the right to earn a living, citing the precedent of Cary v. City of Bellingham. We believe under this precedent, it should not matter which side of the relationship (employer or employee) is being taxed. 

It is our duty to fully vet policies that impact your business. No city in Washington state had tried to pass a payroll tax of this nature in approximately 70 years before Seattle did last summer. This is an important legal issue to resolve and needs to be reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

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