Wash. state bill would extend tax exemptions for woody biomass

By Erin Voegele | February 14, 2013

Legislation pending in the Washington State Legislature aims to extend the existing sales and use tax exemption for wood waste and residue used to produce electricity, steam, heat or biofuel. The bill, H.B. 1663, would extend the exemption through June 30, 2024. It is currently set to expire on June 30, 2013.

The legislation would also add a new chapter to existing regulations, requiring that taxpayers claiming either the sales tax or use tax exemption to file a complete annual survey. The survey would include the amount of the tax preference claimed for the year along with information on employment positions at facilities in the state that are under common ownership and for which the exemption is claimed. This includes the total number of employment positions and whether those jobs are full-time, part-time or temporary. Wage and benefit information would also be included in the survey.

According to information published by the Washington legislature, the sales and use tax exemptions were originally enacted in 2009. The Washington Department of Revenue estimates that approximately $897,000 in credits would be claimed under the exemption in fiscal year 2014. By fiscal years 2017 through 2019, claims made under the exemption are expected to increase to $1.956 million.

The legislation is sponsored by state Reps. Steve Tharinger, Terry Nealey, Kevin Van De Wege, Norm Johnson, Dean Takko, Brian Blake, Kathy Haigh, Joel Kretz, Jake Fey, Dave Hayes, Shelly Short, Larry Crouse and Cindy Ryu. The bill was introduced Feb. 5 and referred to the Technology & Economic Development committee. A public hearing on the measure was held on Feb. 12.