Weekly Round-Up: Crowell's Conversations - Washington’s B&O Tax Is Not Going Anywhere Soon

There has always been talk about tax reform in Washington, but revenue from the Business & Occupation tax is second only to the sales tax and so for it to change would really take some catalytic event, Carol Nelson, Director of the Washington Department of Revenue said, in response to questions about replacing the B&O tax.

Nelson’s comments were part of a larger interview in this week's issue of the Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report in which she, along with Gil Brewer, Senior Assistant Director of Tax Policy at the Washington Department of Revenue,spoke to Walt Nagel, Don Griswold, and Jeremy Abrams, all with Crowell and Moring's state tax team, about cloud computing, the tax appeals process and revenue department priorities. The interview is part of Bloomberg BNA’s Crowell's Conversations series in which members of Crowell & Moring's state tax team meets regularly with state tax commissioners and their counsel to bring Bloomberg BNA's readers candid and timely observations from the country's top state tax decision-makers.

If it's going to happen, it almost absolutely is going to be through a referendum or subject to a referendum, and at least until now there's been absolutely no will to do that, Brewer said. There are folks still looking at possibilities of an income tax with some type of additional reforms that would reduce taxes elsewhere or put in some constitutional cap on rates because people are always afraid of rate creep once it gets in, he said. There are also people looking at alternative taxes like a margins tax, similar to what Texas has or what Nevada is considering. And there are people who are talking about simply reforming the B & O tax, Brewer said. But to Carol's point, it's going to be tough to trigger enough consensus to make any kind of change.

The complete interview with Brewer and Nelson can be read here . Bloomberg BNA State Tax Law Editor Rebecca Helmes’s interview with the Crowell team can be seen here.

In other developments…

Top State Income Tax Rates in 2014 , by the Tax Foundation

Michigan – Court finds certain cloud computing services not subject to sales and use tax , by PwC

Morrison & Foerster releases  State + Local Tax Insights [Spring 2014] , which includes an article on finding protection under the Due Process Clause

Compiled by Priya D. Nair

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