REALTORS® save Washington brokers over $50 million in taxes

During the recent legislative session in Olympia, the governor and the legislature debated several new tax proposals to pay for school funding and state government programs.  Eventually the legislature agreed to allocate additional revenue from the state’s increased economic growth and new revenue from on-line internet sales to fully fund education.  The funding package provides an additional $7.3 billion in school funding over 4 years, substantial teacher pay increases, and extra funding for highly capable and special needs programs.

Without this budget compromise between House and Senate, real estate brokers were likely to have seen a $50 million tax increase over the next two-year budget cycle, and beyond.  In his initial proposal for new revenue, the Governor suggested a sixty-six per cent increase in the B&O tax on services, including real estate.  Your REALTOR® association, and concerned REALTOR® members from across the state encouraged the legislature to look at other options.  Due to this outreach, the Governor’s initial proposal for a substantial B&O tax increase was rejected by the legislature.

The state Department of Revenue estimates that revenue in 2016 from the B & O tax on real estate brokers is $76,401,952.00.  If the tax rate had increased in 2017 by 66% as initially proposed, the total tax bill to brokers would have increased by over $50 million.

“REALTORS® have always been committed to our communities, and that includes the schools that make our neighborhoods so desirable,” said Sam DeBord, President of Seattle King County REALTORS® and Chair of the Washington REALTORS® Legislative Steering Committee.   “We’re proud to have been part of a compromise that greatly increased education funding, while avoiding putting an outsized burden on real estate professionals or other small businesses. This was a win for the real estate industry and the state as a whole.”

Thank you to our REALTOR® leaders from around the state for your efforts.