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Tax & Fiscal Policy

2018 Legislative Objectives

Background

Washington’s employers are under constant cost and regulatory pressure, bearing 58 percent of the state and local tax burden. Washington collects the 5th highest business share of state taxes, and the 7th highest business share of state and local taxes among the 50 states. It is imperative that 2017‐19 legislative challenges are met and resolved in a way that does not inhibit Washington’s ability to attract, maintain, and grow economic opportunity statewide, compete with lower‐cost states, and upholds certainty and fairness for taxpayers.


Objectives

AWB supports legislation to:

  1. Balance the state budget in a timely manner while promoting and protecting economic development opportunities throughout the entire state and state competitiveness rankings.

  2. Protect the predictability and fairness of the tax code and structural tax incentives.

  3. Ensure taxpayers are treated fairly and equitably by strengthening the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and reforming the appeals system and processes to:

    a. Allow for independent review of Department of Revenue decisions without a requirement to pay the underlying taxes.

    b. Change the unreasonably high burden of proof placed on taxpayers that challenge property valuations to the more widely used standard of the “preponderance of the evidence.”

    c. Provide greater transparency, ensure consistent treatment, protect taxpayer confidentiality, and assist taxpayers in understanding department rules and interpretations.

    d. Create a fairer and more efficient tax appeal process.

  4. Update, clarify or affirm tax laws to provide technical clarity and ensure legislative intent is met. Clarify that digital automated services are an exempt business input, and detail specific business activities that would be defined as digital automated services.

  5. Reduce regulatory red tape and administrative burdens facing employers including, but not limited to, reforming and tailoring the annual reconciliation for apportionable B&O tax classifications.

  6. Update systems to allow for state level centralization of business tax filing and reporting for all cities with license requirements, B&O tax, and/or utility tax, similar to current sales and use tax reporting. Ensure cities are accurately and timely communicating changes to local B&O tax and utility tax rates, and working to better align and simplify city and state nexus and apportionment rules.

  7. Help businesses prosper and expand by lowering the B&O rate for manufacturing as adopted by the legislature but vetoed by the Governor in 2017.


For More Information

For questions, please contact AWB’s Clay Hill at 1-800-521-9325 or ClayH@awb.org.

PDF Version of this Legislative Objective