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Posts tagged: Washington taxes

State taxes on your mind? Let’s compare Idaho vs. Washington in total tax burden

Wednesday's SR business section included a story about how Washington and Idaho fare in a national ranking for total sales tax rates. (Not total taxes paid.) Washington's sales rate was fourth-highest; Idaho's was 36th.

The source is the nonpartisan DC think tank, the Tax Foundation.

What we didn't include were a few other Tax Foundation lists, including one last produced in 2009, which took into account all tax rates at the city, county and  state levels. On that list, Idaho ranked just ahead of Washington for overall tax burden, which compares amount of taxes paid versus per capita income.

Idaho in that ranking was 28th highest in the country, at 9.4 percent of all income going to taxes.

Washington stood at No. 29, with a tax rate of 9.3 percent. Here are the data.

Notably, Idaho hits that mark because it has a state personal and state corporate income tax, while Washington doesn't. (Washington does have a business and occupation tax, however.)

Both have state and local retail sales taxes. For property taxes, Washington is much more burdensome: the per capita amount of property tax in the Evergreen state is $1,226; in Idaho it's $813.

This summary explains the Tax Foundation methodology for its tax burden ranking:

“For nearly two decades the Tax Foundation has published an estimate of the combined state-local tax burden shouldered by the residents of each of the 50 states. For each state, we calcu­late the total amount paid by the residents in taxes, then divide those taxes by the state's total income to compute a “tax burden.” We make this calculation not only for the most recent year but also for earlier years because tax and income data are revised periodically by govern­ment agencies.”

The federal taxes are not included in this ranking, in that the federal rates are uniform across all 50 states and would not really help determine what this list offers — a state-focused analysis of taxes paid.

Amnesty on business taxes reaps close to $30 million for Washington’s general fund

Every little bit helps. Cash-strapped Washington state will collect up to $30 million — and potentially more —  in back taxes through an amnesty program that ends April 18.

More than 7,000 companies statewide have applied for the amnesty. About 4,200 of them are still being reviewed for eligibility.

So far 174 Spokane County businesses have been approved or are under review, said Mike Gowrylow, spokesman for Washington’s Department of Revenue.

The Legislature approved the one-time amnesty in last year’s session. It allows businesses to pay past-due state or local taxes without extra fines or penalties. Payments must be made by April 30.

The state has approved more than 1,400 businesses so far. Another 1,300 applications have been denied. Denials occur if the company has filed bankruptcy or if an owner has been assessed a penalty for tax evasion or been prosecuted for failing to pay taxes.

Of the total money raised, about $3.9 million will go to cities and counties; that money comes from previously unpaid local sales or use taxes. How much will go to Spokane governments is not yet known, he said.

To be eligible, businesses must have outstanding past-due taxes incurred before Feb. 1.

When the program started, the state said 50,000 businesses, about 10 percent of those registered in Washington, owed past-due taxes. Those businesses owe about $183 million in back taxes, according to Gowrylow.

State Revenue Dept. offering amnesty to tax-delinquent businesses

Last weekend’s one day special session in Olympia produced a first-ever amnesty offer for Washington businesses who are delinquent on back taxes. 

Administered by the state Department of Revenue, the program is expected to generate $24 million for the state and nearly $4 million for local government.

The deal applies to state business-and-occupation and public-utility taxes and state and local sales and use taxes.  It’s open to registered and unregistered businesses and gives the option of payment without penalties and interest.

Qualifying taxpayers can apply for the program from Feb. 1 to April 18, and must pay back taxes by April 30. The revenue department plans having application procedures ready by mid-January.

To get information, go to or call 1-800-647-7706.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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