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taxes

Jud Yoho, who sold Craftsman houses at the turn of the century, lived in this 1911 bungalow in Wallingford. The house was recently listed for $599,000.
KUOW File Photo/Isolde Raftery

It's that time of year again when King County sends out property value assessments to homes and businesses.


Safeco Field in Seattle
Flickr Photo/hj_west (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/UWDcZw

Kim Malcolm talks with King County councilmember Dave Upthegrove about a proposal that would allocate up to $190 million in taxes over two decades for improvement and maintenance at Safeco Field. The money would come from King County's hotel/motel tax.

Seattle’s new head tax for homelessness services was bitterly opposed by many business owners. Now some say they will ask voters to repeal it in a ballot referendum.


Washington drivers who are thinking about buying an electric car would be wise to get down to a dealership in the next two weeks. That's because a valuable tax break disappears at month's end.

Emily McArthur reacts on Monday, May 14, 2018, during the head tax vote at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The head tax is happening — but the weakened version passed by the Seattle City Council today won't address the scale of the housing crisis, some council members say.


Jenny Durkan
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a compromise tax on large businesses that would pay to ease the city’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis.

A group of people jog across Lenora Street, on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in front of Amazon's biodomes, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Would a tax credit that encourages businesses to donate to social services be more effective in solving the city's affordability and homelessness crisis than a new head tax?

Bill Radke talks to Saul Spady, president of Cre8ive Empowerment (and grandson of Dick's Drive-In co-founder Dick Spady) about why he and other area business owners are against the proposed Seattle employee head tax.

Tents are shown as people gathered to protest the sweeps of homeless camps in November, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Let May 2, 2018, be known as the day that Seattle Nice died.

Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY-NC-ND)

In the next couple of years the Alaskan Way Viaduct will be torn down and the Seattle waterfront will open up in a whole new way. Gone will be the elevated highway that separates Pike Place Market from the Ferris wheel and aquarium. In its place will be a new, large, waterfront park. But who should pay for that park? The property owners who live around it? Or all the people who will be benefiting from the new public space? 

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

When Highway 99 becomes a tunnel and the Viaduct comes down next year, Seattle starts work on the waterfront of its dreams. There’ll be a bike corridor, a walk-up to Pike Place Market — even a play area for kids.

And one special group of property owners is being singled out to pay. 

A view of the sky over Bertha the tunnel borer, whose efforts brought the SR-99 tunnel to life.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/yNcg1q

Let's say you owe me $20.

You decide that to pay me back, you'll set up a lemonade stand. There's about $50 in overhead: lemons, sugar. And don't forget wages for the younger siblings you'll be pressing into service to man the booth.

In the meantime, I decide to charge you $13 in interest. And suddenly, you find yourself needing to raise $100 to pay me that original $20.

Construction continues on a new apartment complex on Monday, March 12, 2018, at the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and 109th St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has an affordability and housing problem, and the City Council is considering asking businesses to chip in. A proposal in the works would tax Seattle businesses with at least $20 million in taxable gross receipts 26 cents per employee for every hour they work.

The city estimates that an employee tax would raise about $75 million a year.

Should businesses pay more? We debate the pros and cons with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien and Seattle Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Marilyn Strickland.

Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, sits in a circle with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a new, bigger education levy that would take city dollars from elementary schools. That money would instead go to adding preschool slots, two years of free community college and counseling for high school students.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision that barred states from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases.

But after the arguments, it looked as though a court majority just might preserve the status quo, and that would be a huge victory for online sellers.

The case presents a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the outcome will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small.

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the unfairest of them all?

Famed is thy progressiveness, Seattle, but when it comes to taxes, it’s you.


Gabino Abarca was able to attend the University of Washington thanks to state lottery funds.
KUOW Photos/Megan Farmer

Retired school teacher Michael Hobson is displeased by how much his property tax is increasing, even though lawmakers did it to fully fund public schools.

Gayle Nowicki owns Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle's University District. She says small businesses are already closing due to taxes and zoning changes.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Small businesses in Seattle disagree about a possible new tax to ease homelessness. But they agree on this: They can't afford it. 

KUOW PHOTO / MEGAN FARMER

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she plans to ask city departments to trim their budgets for next year. She told KUOW's The Record that she'll ask for cuts that could be as much as 5 percent.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Flickr photo/Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/K52qFP

What to do with millions of dollars in refunds: That's the question in front of Premera Blue Cross, which is receiving $390 million in tax refunds because of recent changes to federal tax law.

Premera faces no restrictions on how it can use the windfall of money.

Washington homeowners would get some property tax relief in 2019 under a bill that passed the Democratically-controlled Washington state Senate on Wednesday evening over Republican objections. The bill is part of a final budget deal reached with the House as the Legislature heads toward a scheduled adjournment on Thursday. 



From left, Amazon software development interns Min Vu, Cindy Wang, Jason Mar, Katie Shin and Louis Yang, walk after getting bananas from the Amazon Community Banana Stand outside of the Amazon Meeting Center on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle officials will once again try to pass an employee head tax on businesses. A similar idea failed in the city council last year, but council members — including Lisa Herbold, Lorena González and Mike O’Brien —  promised to bring it back.

A new proposal slated for review this spring would tax Seattle's highest-grossing companies based on their number of employees.

Homes in Queen Anne are shown from the Space Needle in November in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Happy Valentine’s Day? Your property tax — or your rent, probably — is going up to help pay for better schools.

If you’re considering buying an electric car in Oregon or Washington, you might want to pay attention to possible changes in tax policy. There’s uncertainty about the tax incentives meant to spur electric car sales.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is making another push for a state carbon tax. The Democrat unveiled his latest proposal Tuesday during his State of the State address.

Alaska Airlines is following the lead of American Airlines, Southwest and dozens of other large companies in awarding $1,000 bonuses to its workers tied to the recently passed corporate tax cut.

Washington’s commissioner of public lands is calling on the state legislature to put a price on carbon to try to curb emissions in the state.

But Hilary Franz differs with Gov. Jay Inslee about how to use the money.

Reporters and researchers are just starting to comb through the huge, rushed-to-passage tax package to figure out the implications.

One of the changes, according to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, which advocates for a "fair and sustainable" tax system, allows far more wealthy donors in 10 states to turn a profit through "donations" to private school scholarships.

Sugary drinks like this will be taxed 1.75 pennies per ounce in Seattle beginning January 1, 2018.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/pohVni

Seattle’s new soda tax hits stores on January 1.  Officials hope the tax - 1.75 pennies for every ounce of sugary drinks purchased - will help decrease obesity without hurting businesses. Scientists in Seattle will be monitoring the results.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

What caused Amtrak Cascades 501 from Seattle to Portland to crash on its first trip along a new, faster route? Who wins and loses with the passage of the new Republican tax plan? Why is Washington's Attorney General suing Value Village? And where are people going to eat turkey sandwiches now that Bakeman's Restaurant is closing?

Republicans in Congress are promising that their tax bill will create jobs. One place where we know it's going to create a lot of work is at the IRS.

That agency will have to figure out how to interpret and implement the hundreds of pages of changes to the tax code that were just passed, at a time when it is already struggling with budget cuts and staff reductions.

The Trump administration says it's already working with the IRS to update tax forms and withholding tables, promising that most taxpayers will notice a difference in their pay stubs by February.

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