Tax amnesty program surprisingly successful in Washington State

Hundreds of businesses that somehow eluded detection by state tax authorities helped boost Washington’s haul from a tax amnesty program that was far more successful than envisioned.
 
State officials were hoping businesses would pay $24 million in back taxes. Instead, the state received $263.4 million. Local governments were hoping for about $4 million but received just under $57 million.
 
Under the three-month-long program that ended April 30, businesses were allowed to pay their overdue taxes without having to pay accumulated interest and penalties.
 
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that 10,968 applications were filed. Officials accepted 81 percent of those, mainly from small business with less than $1 million in annual gross revenue.
 
A number of these businesses – state revenue director Suzan DelBene said it was fewer than 1,000 – were not even registered on the state’s tax rolls. Those businesses contributed to the higher-than-expected revenue collected. Now, the state can make sure the businesses comply with tax rules in the future, DelBene told the Olympian.
 
Washington faces a $5 billion deficit, so the news of the successful amnesty program has been hailed as a way to help budget negotiations.
 
"This is money that has already been collected in this fiscal year," Gov. Chris Gregoire said at the Capitol, according to the Olympian. "It is cash on hand. It gives us critical dollars to close the current (budget) gap."
 

The program, a first for Washington, waived penalties and interest on state business and occupation tax, state public utility tax, and state and local sales and use taxes, which can include food and beverage taxes in King County, rental car taxes, and others, according to the Washington Department of Revenue.

You may like these other stories...

Did you know that the tax code allows you to claim tax deductions for household damage caused by thefts, vandalism, fires, floods, hurricanes, and others kinds of casualties? But the law imposes several restrictions.Relief...
Inversions: Loophole Is the ProblemJacob J. Lew, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that "the system has become full of inefficiencies and special-interest loopholes. That...
School tax breaks get House support as Democrats objectRichard Rubin of Bloomberg reported that the House of Representatives on Thursday voted to expand and simplify tax breaks for education as Republicans continue to pass...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.