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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bill introduced to make online Wash. tax searches possible

A bill introduced in the state Senate would help clear up confusion about Washington's 1,790 taxing districts, Washington Policy Blog reported. The proposed online database would allow citizens to search by address for the types of taxes, tax rates and taxing districts the locations fall under. A tax rate calculator would provide potential taxes (such as property, sales, business, vehicle, etc.) by district.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR), as of 2008 there were 1,790 taxing districts in the state whose officials impose various taxes on Washingtonians. Unfortunately for taxpayers, there is no single comprehensive resource available to help individuals and businesses learn which taxing districts and rates they are subject to, and how much officials in each taxing district add to their total tax burden. A typical home, for example, can be located in as many as ten different taxing districts.

To help improve the transparency of state and local taxation, Washington Policy Center proposed last summer the creation of an online searchable database of all tax districts and tax rates in the state. The proposal is modeled after last year’s SB 6818: Promoting transparency in state expenditures, which was unanimously adopted by the legislature and signed into law. SB 6818 was based on WPC's recommendation for the state to adopt a searchable budget website.

More here.

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