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Posts tagged Washington Business & Occupations Tax.

Prologue

Kyle N. Richard recently joined Foster Garvey.  Kyle’s practice is primarily focused on assisting our municipal clients in bond and tax matters.  With his tax experience, however, he assists our tax practice group clients on broader federal, state and local tax matters.  We are excited to have Kyle join our tax team, adding to our already robust bench strength.

The article below was authored by Kyle.  Expect to see more of Kyle’s contributions to Larry’s Tax Law in the future.

Larry


Scales of JusticeOn September 30, 2021, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the additional 1.2 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax imposed by the 2019 Substitute House Bill 2167 (“SHB 2167”) on “specified financial institutions”—financial institutions with annual net income of more than $1 billion.  SHB 2167 increases the tax rate for these institutions from 1.5 percent (the rate generally applicable to financial institutions) to 2.7 percent.

The tax was codified in Section 82.04.29004 Revised Code of Washington (“RCW”).  Like other B&O taxes in Washington, the amount of tax due is measured by the amount of the specified financial institution’s gross revenues attributed to Washington State, which is generally based on an apportionment formula (contained in RCW 82.04.460-.462).  The effect of this apportionment regime is that a certain percentage of a financial institution’s total gross income for the year is treated as earned in Washington and taxed under Washington law.

The Washington Bankers Association and American Bankers Association (taxpayers) commenced a lawsuit, arguing that the tax violated the U.S. Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause (“DCC”).  At trial, the court concluded that the taxpayers had standing to challenge the tax under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (“UDJA”) and held that the additional graduated tax rate discriminated against out-of-state businesses, in violation of the DCC.  The trial court denied reconsideration of its decision.  The Washington Department of Revenue then appealed directly to the Washington State Supreme Court.

Washington State CapitolOn April 25, 2021, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5096 (SB 5096).  The bill was immediately sent to Governor's Inslee's desk for signature.  It brings a new tax regime to the state of Washington.

Before we go into the details surrounding the new tax, I have to mention that it was challenged even before the governor had the opportunity to sign it into law.  A group of potentially affected taxpayers filed a lawsuit in Douglas County, Washington, to strike down the new law as being unconstitutional.  So, it is possible that SB 5096 will never breathe life. 

Knowing that the new tax regime is under attack, it is still important to have a good understanding of it in the event it survives the battle.

TeleworkIn the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, companies in wide-ranging industries across the country have unprecedented numbers of employees working from remote locations.  In a prior post, we discussed numerous issues that may arise from this new normal of teleworking, including tax, labor and employment, liability, and business registration implications. 

In this post, we drill down a bit further with respect to employers’ state tax reporting and payment obligations that may result from having employees working remotely in states other than where the employers maintain physical offices.  This is especially relevant in metropolitan areas that straddle multiple states, like here in Portland, Oregon.

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Larry J. Brant
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Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder in Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.

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