(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) voted to extend the critically important sales tax deduction that benefits millions of Washingtonians. The sales tax deduction is meant to ensure that fairness is maintained in the tax code. Last year alone, the sales tax deduction saved Washington state families $500 million.
The sales tax deduction passed early Saturday morning as part of the Congressional tax extenders package that passed 79-9. The bill is now on its way to the President to be signed into law.
"I am pleased that House and Senate leaders have finally heeded the call to extend the sales tax deduction which so many Washington families rely on," said Senator Murray. "This is about providing tax fairness to the people of Washington state. It is also a way to stimulate our economy and create jobs that will improve the lives of our state's residents. Today we have delivered some certainty to taxpayers so that they can plan their financial future."
Senator Murray and other members of the Washington state delegation helped lead the effort to persuade the Republican leadership to pass an extension of the sales tax deduction. On October 19th, Senator Murray along with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) wrote Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert to request that the sales tax deduction be the first order of business after Congress reconvened in November. The House and Senate leadership finally brought the extension up for a vote today.
"The leadership's failure to bring up the sales tax deduction in a timely manner has left millions of my constituents in the dark," said Murray. "Many have refrained from making major purchases for fear that the deduction wouldn't be available to them. I urge Washington state taxpayers to pay close attention to the availability of the sales tax deduction which could provide significant savings."
The delay in passage has caused the IRS to circulate tax forms that do not contain the tables and worksheets Washingtonians need to calculate their sales tax deduction. The tax forms do include cautionary language that direct taxpayers to the IRS website for more information.
Other Important Tax Credit Extensions
The legislation passed today also includes important tax breaks that teachers use to improve their classrooms, students use to afford tuition, and an extension of the research and development tax credit. The classroom expense deduction allows teachers who use their own money to purchase materials for their classroom to deduct the tax on those purchases up to $250. The college tuition deduction will allow Washington state students to deduct a portion of their overall tuition. The research and development tax credit extension will provide incentives to Washington state companies to promote innovation and ensure that they remain competitive in the global economy.