taxes | KUOW News and Information



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)/

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)/

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.


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.

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/

Jeannie Yandel talks to Gary Grimstad, local accountant and part time lecturer in the University of Washington Foster School of Business about how the new GOP tax plan will impact Washington residents. 

Updated on Dec. 22 on 12:02 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans delivered on their first major legislative accomplishment of the Trump era on Wednesday, when the House voted 224-201 to pass a $1.5 trillion tax package. The bill cuts individual rates for eight years and slashes the top corporate tax rate to 21 percent permanently.

Updated on Dec. 20 at 3:50 p.m. ET

The Republican tax bill, which Congress sent to President Trump on Wednesday, would give most Americans a tax cut next year, according to a new analysis. However, it would by far benefit the richest Americans the most. Meanwhile, many lower- and middle-class Americans would have higher taxes a decade from now ... unless a future Congress extends the cuts.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday rolled out his proposal for an update to the state’s two-year, $43 billion budget. Here are the top five items on the governor’s budget wish list:

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is moving close to victory. After a frustrating year in which Republicans who control Congress failed to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is moving closer to approving its first major legislation of 2017.

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

A judge in King County has struck down Seattle's new income tax on higher earners.

It's the first ruling in a case that's expected to go all the way to the State Supreme Court.

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

Seattle's City Council wants to bring back its "head tax" proposal — and soon. The idea is to tax the city's largest businesses based on their number of employees.

Senate Republicans hope to vote after Thanksgiving on a sweeping tax overhaul plan that they say will cut taxes for nearly every individual and family in America. The bill calls for those cuts to last only for the next eight years, unless history is a guide.

Documentary filmmaker Christopher Rufo doesn't make enough money to have to pay Seattle's new high-earners tax, but he still wants to keep Seattle income-tax-free. So much so, he joined around 30 plaintiffs suing the city.

So, $1.4 trillion is a lot of money. It's what all of the NFL teams together are worth, and then some. It's more than twice the Defense Department's 2016 budget. It's enough to buy nearly 3.2 million homes at the median U.S. home price right now.

Republicans in Congress say cutting corporate taxes would improve the balance sheet for U.S. businesses, giving them more money to spend on jobs and investment.

But how does anyone know that's what will happen?

It's the question at the heart of the debate taking place on Capitol Hill right now about whether to lower corporate taxes, and by how much.

Councilmember Tim Burgess speaks after accepting a nomination from council member Lorena Gonzalez to become the intern mayor of Seattle, during a city council meeting on Monday, September 18, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle mayor Tim Burgess is speaking out against a proposed business tax that would raise extra funds to combat homelessness.

City council members are considering including the tax, known as an ‘employee hours tax’ or a ‘head tax’, in the 2018 budget.

But Burgess said this week that would be a mistake.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with Mark Hallenbeck about a pay-by-mile approach to funding roads and bridges in Washington. The state is rolling out a pilot program in January where drivers would pay taxes on the miles they drive, instead of the gas they purchase.

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Seattle City Council members are considering a tax on big business to fund services for homelessness.

This kind of tax is often known as a “head tax” or “employee hours tax.” And it’s actually nothing new for Seattle. The city had something like it for transportation funding, until it was repealed in 2009. logo
Flickr Photo/Guillermo Esteves (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to Casey Coombs, reporter at the Puget Sound Business Journal, about Amazon's rapid growth over the last decade and what the company's playbook is for getting cities to offer incentives and deals to open fulfillment and data centers in their region. Coombs' reporting is a part of a series The Business Journals' have published called "The Amazon Effect: How taxpayers are funding the disruption of the U.S. economy."

President Trump and congressional Republicans have pitched their tax plan as a boost for the middle class.

"The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan," Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers in mid-September.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

President Trump and GOP congressional leaders have outlined their plan for the most sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code in more than three decades.

They're proposing deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates, saying that will help supercharge a slow-growing economy.

"We want tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-family, and yes, tax reform that is pro-American," Trump said Wednesday during a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.