taxes | KUOW News and Information

taxes

Oregon farmers are hoping the state Legislature makes it worth their while to donate crops that would otherwise go to waste.

A few times a year, the Treasury Department publishes a long list of names announcing all of the Americans who have lately abandoned their U.S. citizenship.

According to the legal website International Tax Blog, the number hovered around 500 a decade ago. Last year, it hit a record high of nearly 3,000.

This was not a gradual change. It was a sudden spike. It's a story of dominoes falling, one after another, leading to an unexpected outcome.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee continued his push on Tuesday for lawmakers to close tax exemptions to fund education.

The slow uptake of electric cars by Northwest drivers is prompting calls to extend a tax break in Washington state for new vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Flickr Photo/Tax Credits (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Jim McTague, of financial magazine Barron's, about income inequality and why  he says raising the minimum wage is a "crowd-pleaser" solution.

Flickr/401 (K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with economist Dean Baker about why tax rates for wealthy Americans are going up and how that could impact economic disparity.

The NFL: Big Business With Big Tax Breaks

Jan 18, 2014

If you're a football fan, Sunday is kind of like Christmas.

Two conference championship games will determine the teams that advance to the Super Bowl, and the matchups couldn't be more exciting: Denver vs. New England (Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady). And some would say the other game, pitting San Francisco against Seattle, might just feature the two best teams in the league.

America shows its love for the sport in many ways beyond breathless anticipation of big games. It also gives back to the National Football League with tax breaks and publicly funded stadiums.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Political leaders in King County want voters to help stave off drastic cuts to Metro bus service.

On Tuesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed raising car tab fees, sales taxes and bus fares. The money would pay for transit service and road maintenance.

Washington initiative promoter Tim Eyman kicked off the New Year with a new ballot proposal.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s hopes for a gas tax package agreement before the end of the year have been dashed.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is setting his sights on a major overhaul of the state's tax system.

Sound familiar? Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called a special session so lawmakers there can work on a plan to land Boeing's 777X assembly line.

Washington lawmakers recently rushed into special session to pass $8.7 billion in aerospace tax breaks. The aim: to land Boeing’s next generation 777 airplane. But how much does Boeing – or any other major company in Washington - pay in taxes?

When Did Taxes Become A Bargaining Tool?

Nov 8, 2013
David Leonhardt's "Here's the Deal."

Ross Reynolds talks with David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief of the New York Times and author of "Here's the Deal: How Washington Can Solve the Deficit and Spur Growth."

Flickr Photo/prensa4 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews reporter Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio about Colorado proposition that would help answer a question that both Colorado and Washington state have been struggling with: How do you tax and regulate recreational marijuana?

Boeing 777x prototype
Boeing handout

Boeing’s announcement that much of the detailed design work on the 777X jetliner will take place outside Washington state is a play for better tax incentives, according to a top aviation analyst.

Flickr Photo/Drewski2112

A 440-foot superyacht named Serene is approaching a deadline date with Washington’s tax authorities.

If it cruises through that deadline by staying longer than 60 days, its owners will have to pay 10 percent of the yacht’s value, which is $30 million. 

It was the legislative equivalent of a buzzer beater. Just as the Washington legislature was about to adjourn last month, the House and Senate quickly passed a series of tax breaks mostly for businesses. They included exemptions for dance clubs, mint growers, dairy products and this one: digital data used by international investment firms.

That last one will largely benefit a single global firm – Seattle-based Russell Investments. This tax break passed despite efforts to close these kinds of loopholes.

A proposal to raise Washington’s gas tax by 10.5 cents to fund transportation projects has failed in the state House. Supporters Wednesday came up one vote short. But they vow to try again.

The transportation revenue package would raise $10 billion for maintenance and preservation of existing roads and to fund new projects. The proposal calls for a 6 cent gas tax increase this summer followed by another 4.5 cent increase next July.

There were dramatic developments in Olympia overnight. Governor Jay Inslee held a midnight bill signing to amend Washington’s estate tax. The move means the Department of Revenue will not begin to issue refund checks Friday morning to the heirs of some multi-million dollar estates.

The state of Washington was about to embark on a months-long process of refunding an estimated $140 million to more than 100 estates. This was the result of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The money would have come out of a fund dedicated to public schools.

Flickr photo/Ratha Grimes

 Paying Internet Sales Tax
The Senate voted on Monday on a bill that would end tax-free Internet shopping. Slate’s Matthew Yglesias joins us with a look at the Marketplace Fairness Act and who’s behind the push to collect taxes on your online purchases.

A Conversation With Early Television Actor Jan Merlin
Jan Merlin starred in early television shows like Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and The Rough Riders. He went on to be an Emmy-winning script writer.  He grew to love the escape that theater and film could provide after a profound World War II experience.

New Music Recommendation
Are you stuck in a music listening rut?  We are surrounded by new music and innovative artists. Music blogger Liz Riley Tollefson recommends Drai Zich by The Heligoats, Rotting On The Vine by The Purrs, Inside An Aquarium by BOAT and Buzz, Buzz, Buzz by Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers.

The Weather And Hike Of The Week
It has been hot outside. Michael Fagin suggests a hike that matches this week’s weather forecast.

Governor Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

Should The IRS Do Our Taxes For Us?

Apr 15, 2013
Flickr Photo/401(K) 2013

Today is the deadline for filing your taxes, and maybe you’re a little burnt out on the whole process. The New York Times reports that Americans spend 9.14 billion hours on government paperwork every year. Of that time 75 percent, or 6.7 billion hours, is spent on documents from The Treasury Department. According to author and law professor, Cass Sunstein, it’s because the Treasury Department houses the Internal Revenue Service, which takes up way too much of our time during tax season. Sunstein was head of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009-2012, and he wrote a recent op-ed article for the New York Times on this topic. Ross Reynolds talks with Sunstein and asks if the IRS is wasting our time.

There's a new reason to file your taxes early next year: you might thwart an identity thief.

Identity thieves have used stolen information to beat victims to their tax filings. They file false reports, get large refunds and create a mess for the real taxpayer.

Who Will Drink The Cost Of Ending The Washington Brewer-Tax Exemption?

Apr 12, 2013
Flickr Photo/Atilla Kefeli

It’s that time of year when we talk about forecasts -- no, not the weather forecast, though we do have our fingers crossed for warmer weather. The Governor, the House and the Senate have all released their budget proposals and if the Governor or the House gets their way Washington brewers could be hit hard. The Governor’s budget would end a tax exemption for local brewers and increase the tax per barrel of beer sold in Washington state from $4.78 to $20.28. The House proposal wouldn’t hit brewers quite as hard but the tax paid per barrel would still be doubled. How would these proposed plans impact the micro-beer business and consumers? According to the president of the Washington Brewers Guild, quite a bit. Ross Reynolds talks with Heather McClung, president of the Washington Brewers Guild and the co-founder of the Seattle brewery Schooner Exact.

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.

Why Does Amazon Support Online Sales Taxes?

Apr 2, 2013
AP Photo/Scott Sady

It's rare that you get Republicans and Democrats agreeing on taxes, but that's what's happening in the other Washington and it might impact us here in the evergreen state.

The tax bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would require Internet retailers who make more than $1 million in sales annually to collect sales taxes even if the retailer isn't physically located in that state.

How To Avoid An Audit And Other Tax Advice From The IRS

Mar 26, 2013
Flickr Photo/Paul Stumpr

Next month taxes are due and many Americans find themselves waiting until the last minute to file. Two IRS agents discuss tax dos and don'ts with Ross Reynolds. 

Is It Time To End Oil Subsidies?

Mar 21, 2013
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore

While policymakers debate the government’s budget, the Brookings Institute, a private nonprofit research organization, decided to host their own brainstorming session. They asked experts from all different fields to submit ideas for responsible deficit reduction.

One expert, Harvard professor Joseph Aldy, drafted a proposal eliminating oil and gas tax subsidies. A move Aldy estimates would save the US government $41 billion over 10 years.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.

In response, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” – as he calls them – he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.

Pages