Welcome to LIFE IN THE TAX LANE!!!
Isn't it great to live in Washington?? There are some very UNIQUE and COOL things we are famous for in our State.
APPLES!! As Washingtonians, we produce more apples than any other State in the Union!
GLACIERS!!! Did you know there are more GLACIERS in the State of Washington than all of the glaciers put together of the other 47 contiguous States?? Yes. More than Montana, home of Glacier National Park. Yes. More than Colorado. Yes. Even more than California and Texas!
And how about............ AN ACTIVE VOLCANO!!! MT ST HELENS!! The ONLY active volcano in the 48 contiguous states is RIGHT HERE IN OUR STATE!!! You seriously can not get any better bragging rights than THAT!
And by far my MOST FAVORITE ONE OF ALL!! There are more BIGFOOT sitings in Washington than anywhere in the world!! Just how cool is THAT??! (And yes, please do stay on the marked trails.........)
And finally, what we'll make fun of today, but in an civilized, educational manner, is our State is also famous for having some of the most aggressive taxes in the Nation.
The other day we had this new client that had just moved herself and her business here from out of state. She was trying to file her first ever Washington State Business & Occupation Tax Form. And her question was simple: "Where do I enter my deductions??" Hanna very politely told her "there really are no deductions allowed....." The look on her face was PRICELESS! You could see the lights going off..... your business could be LOSING MONEY and you would still have to pay this tax!! Yes. Truth. (Note that there is a deduction for out-of-state sales. WELL!! Let's take the hint on that one!)
This tax is officially called a Gross Revenue Tax. The government loves it because it is a guaranteed tax it can count on since if a business receives money, it will pay the tax. Washington is one of only six states in the nation that have this type of tax. (Delaware, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas are the others). Our tax is more widespread though and impacts more businesses than the other states'. For example, only businesses that gross over 1.3 million dollars are subject to the tax in Texas.
The State Politicians love to keep adding to and raising the B&O Tax. And they are raising it so frequently, that the State Government itself can not keep up with collecting and processing the tax. Last year, they passed E2SHB 2158, the Workforsce Education Investment Surcharge, which raised the tax for all industries that hire college-educated employees. Being in one of those industries, I dutifully attempted to pay the new tax just to find a note on the website saying that it could not be paid yet due to technical difficulties. The note later was changed to say the Surcharge had been cancelled due to passage of ESSB 6492 which levies a 17% tax increase on service industries that gross over a million dollars. That goes into effect on April 1st. (No coincidence that our government levies new taxes on APRIL FOOLS DAY!!)
WOW! They changed and upgraded the tax so often that they didn't even get the old tax law implemented!!!
And so operates our state. Raising this tax however and whenever it can and hoping that no one notices. If you believe the owners of the State's small businesses don't pass on these tax increases to all of their customers, you are fooling yourself. They do. So, in the end, the consumer gets stuck with the tax. Yikes!
Enjoy that cripsy red apple. Go hike across a glacier. Climb Mt St Helen's. (You do know that Hanna and did just that a few years back, right?) Search for BigFoot. And enjoy that tax....................yup. It's Life in the Tax Lane. And it can be a frustrating, taxing ride.