taxes | KUOW News and Information


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.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

On a recent night at El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, undocumented workers show up with folders of paperwork. They’ve come to this Latino-focused non-profit to get help with their tax returns.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Raising taxes in Washington just got a whole lot easier. The state Supreme Court Thursday threw out the requirement that tax increases muster a two-thirds vote of the legislature. Democrats say the ruling will allow more options as lawmakers grapple with ongoing budget woes. But Republicans vow to uphold the will of voters who have repeatedly supported a high bar for tax hikes.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.

Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.

The Washington Supreme Court threw out the voter passed initiative requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to pass higher taxes. The supermajority law has had a heavy influence on state government for 30 years. Ross Reynolds talks to lawmakers and lawyers about what this decision means for politics in Washington state.

House Democrats Want To Rev Up The Gas Tax

Feb 22, 2013

House Democrats are proposing to raise the gas tax by 10 cents, to 47.5 cents a gallon, within five years, to pay for a $10 billion transportation package. The plan was introduced earlier this week by State Representative Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. 

Ross Reynolds talks to Clibborn and  Sen. Tim Sheldon, a Democrat representing the 35th District, which includes all of Mason County and parts of Thurston, Kitsap and Grays Harbor counties.  He’s one of two Senate Democrats to join with Republicans to form a majority coalition this legislative session.

Talk Of A Carbon Tax In The Northwest

Jan 7, 2013
Portland General Electric

Keeping up with transportation infrastructure isn’t cheap. The Washington State Transportation Commission estimates that in the next 20 years around 200 billion dollars needs to be put towards the maintenance of roads, ferries and more. But how to pay for that? Some are putting forward the idea of a tax on carbon emissions.

Read the whole story on KUOW’s Earthfix

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to extend two temporary taxes for three-and-a-half years in order to make a $1 billion down payment on a recent Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding public schools. Much of that new money would go to reduce K-2 class sizes, speed up the phase-in of all-day kindergarten and help districts with basic operating and maintenance costs.

"We're building a budget assuming everybody works their problems out in the best interest of the nation." That's how Stan Marshburn, outgoing director of Washington State's Office of Financial Management is planning for the fiscal cliff.

He says we're likely to suffer either way. If we go over the cliff, we can expect 50 percent cut to state military spending. To avoid the cliff, federal lawmakers might agree to reduce Medicaid spending -- another precious source of federal money.

Marshburn tells Ross his biggest concern is consumer confidence, since Washington gets so much of its money from sales tax.  He says reduced consumer spending could impact Washington's economy 10 times more than the actual fiscal cliff itself.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Cyber Monday was expected to generate $1.5 billion in internet sales nationwide. That’s great for on-line retailers, but not so good for tax coffers in states like Washington and Idaho. That’s because many cyber retailers still don’t collect sales tax. And Congress is unlikely to close that loophole anytime soon.

Flickr Photo/Paul Stumpr

President Barack Obama is meeting today with members of Congress to try to avoid the fiscal cliff.  The president says he’ll let Bush-era tax cuts for families earning over $250,000 a year expire.  House Republicans are opposed.

Seattle ​entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer would pay more if the tax cuts expire and he thinks he should. Ross Reynolds speaks with Hanauer, business owner Mark Peterson, and policy analysts Mark Guppy and Marilyn Watkins, and he asks listeners to weigh in with their opinion: Are the rich taxed enough?