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State and Local Taxation



As Benjamin Franklin once said, “[N]othing is certain except death and taxes”. While Washington State does not have either a corporate or individual income tax, it (and local governments) collects revenue by a variety of other means. Retail sales and use taxes generally make up a plurality of taxes collected by the State via the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Other revenue sources include but are not limited to the Business and Occupation Tax, Property Taxes, Public Utility Taxes, Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cannabis Taxes, and Tobacco Taxes.

While the Washington State Department of Revenue is the primary collector of taxes, other agencies sometimes collect their own fees and taxes as well. These agencies include the Employment Security Department, Department of Labor and IndustriesLiquor and Cannabis Board, and local governments.

The nuances of tax and/or revenue collection in Washington State make it advisable for businesses to consult with a Certified Public Accountant. However, financial constraints often prevent many from doing so. Similarly, many businesses are not aware of the many applicable taxes and/or fees, which can eventually place the business and its owner in a precarious situation..

Consequently, the scenario often arises where a back assessment of taxes and/or fees is made against the business by the Department of Revenue or another government agency. Depending on the nature of the tax and/or fee, the owner(s) of the business may be personally liable for the tax and/or fee even if the business is a corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or similar business entity that seeks to shield owners from personal liability for business expenses via the corporate veil.

To deal with these scenarios, it is advisable for the business and its owners to seek legal counsel from an attorney knowledgeable about the fees and taxes to assist with resolving them. Attorney Joel Murray has experience assisting businesses navigate issues arising from, among other taxes and fees, the Business and Occupation Tax (B&O), Sales and Use Tax (Sales Tax), Other Tobacco Product Tax (OTP), Property Tax, employer-side Unemployment Taxes, and Labor and Industries Workers’ Compensation Premiums (industrial insurance).

If you have concerns about your business' current or future state or local tax and fees liability, and/or are facing back assessment of taxes and/or fees, contact JFM Law today to schedule a consultation. 

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