Blog Archives: Grant Shaver

6/24/2021 update: The Seattle City Council have made changes to the existing law. Read about the new “hours method” here

This article was originally posted on 8/19/2020. It has been updated to reflect news and updates as of 3/9/2021. 

On July 6, 2020, the Seattle City Council passed City Ordinance Number 126108, imposing a payroll expense tax on persons engaging in business in Seattle. The ordinance takes effect at the start of 2021 and sunsets at the end of 2040. The tax will be imposed on businesses and organizations with at least $7 million of Seattle annual “payroll expense.”

Filing Frequency

The 2021 payroll expense tax annual return and payment will be due January 31,

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One of the perennial challenges faced by taxing authorities is identifying and contacting individuals and businesses who are unaware (or purposefully ignorant) of the tax filing obligations they may have. In an effort to encourage unregistered taxpayers with outstanding excise tax liabilities for prior periods to come forward and voluntarily register with the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR), the DOR offers a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) Program that includes the following benefits:

  • a limited “look back” period on previous liabilities of four years plus the current year (the period open under the traditional statute of limitations for taxpayers registered with the DOR);

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