Chapter 4.03
TAX ADMINISTRATIVE CODE

Sections:

4.03.010    Purpose.

4.03.015    Application of chapter stated.

4.03.020    Definitions.

4.03.021    Definitions – References to Chapter 82.32 RCW.

4.03.025    Registration/license requirements.

4.03.030    Registration/license certificates.

4.03.035    City subject to tax.

4.03.040    When due and payable – Reporting periods – Monthly, quarterly, and annual returns – Threshold provisions or relief from filing requirements – Computing time periods – Failure to file returns.

4.03.050    Payment methods – Mailing returns or remittances – Time extension – Deposits – Recording payments – Payment must accompany return – NSF checks.

4.03.060    Records to be preserved – Examination – Estoppel to question assessment.

4.03.070    Accounting methods.

4.03.080    Public work contracts – Payment of fee and tax before final payment for work.

4.03.090    Underpayment of tax, interest, or penalty – Interest.

4.03.095    Time in which assessment may be made.

4.03.100    Overpayment of tax, penalty, or interest – Credit or refund – Interest rate – Statute of limitations.

4.03.110    Late payment – Disregard of written instructions – Evasion – Penalties.

4.03.120    Cancellation of penalties and interest.

4.03.125    Voluntary registration.

4.03.130    Taxpayer quitting business – Liability of successor.

4.03.140    Correction of tax – Administrative appeal.

4.03.150    Judicial review of hearing examiner decision.

4.03.160    Administration – Director to make rules.

4.03.170    Ancillary allocation authority of director.

4.03.180    Mailing of notices.

4.03.190    Tax declared additional.

4.03.200    Public disclosure – Confidentiality – Information sharing.

4.03.210    Tax constitutes debt.

4.03.220    Unlawful actions – Violation – Penalties.

4.03.230    Suspension or revocation of business registration [license].

4.03.240    Closing agreement provisions.

4.03.250    Charge-off of uncollectible taxes.

4.03.260    Severability.

4.03.270    Collection of tax.

4.03.280    Repealed.

4.03.290    Tax amnesty.

4.03.010 Purpose.

This section implements Washington Constitution Article XI, Section 12 and RCW 35A.82.020 and 35A.11.020 (code cities); RCW 35.22.280(32) (first class cities); RCW 35.23.440(8) (second class cities); and RCW 35.27.370(9) (fourth class cities and towns), which give municipalities the authority to license for revenue. In the absence of a legal or constitutional prohibition, municipalities have the power to define taxation categories as they see fit in order to respond to the unique concerns and responsibilities of local government. It is intended that this chapter be as uniform as possible among the various municipalities and consistent with the mandatory requirements of Chapter 35.102 RCW for municipalities. Uniformity with provisions of state tax laws should not be presumed, and references in this section to statutory or administrative rule changes do not mean state tax statutes or rules promulgated by the Department of Revenue. (Ord. 5781 § 1, 2007; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.015 Application of chapter stated.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply with respect to the taxes imposed under Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, and to such other chapters and sections of the Bellevue City Code in such manner and to such extent as expressly indicated in each such chapter or section. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter:

The definitions contained in Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; and Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, shall apply equally to the provisions of this chapter unless the term is defined otherwise in this chapter. In addition, the following definitions will apply.

A. “Chapter,” unless otherwise clearly indicative by the context, means Chapter 4.03 BCC, as it may be amended from time to time.

B. Cost of Living Adjustment. Whenever a “cost of living adjustment” is required or permitted pursuant to any section of BCC Title 4, such adjustment shall be an amount equal to the amount and direction of change determined by reference to the U.S. City Average Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Consumer Price Index (CPI) for each 12-month period ending on September 30th as published by the United States Department of Labor. To calculate this adjustment, the current rate will be multiplied by one plus or minus, as the case may be, the annual change in the CPI.

C. “Department” means the finance department or successor department.

D. “Director” means the director of the finance department or his or her designee or other person designated by the city manager.

E. “Family” means one or more persons (but not more than six unrelated persons) living together as a single housekeeping unit. For purposes of this definition, children with familial status within the meaning of Title 42 U.S.C., Section 3602(k) and persons with handicaps within the meaning of Title 42 U.S.C., Section 3602(h) will not be counted as unrelated persons.

F. “Reporting period” means:

1. A one-month period beginning the first day of each calendar month (monthly); or

2. A three-month period beginning the first day of January, April, July or October of each year (quarterly); or

3. A 12-month period beginning the first day of January of each year (annual).

G. “Return” means any document a person is required by the city to file to satisfy or establish a tax or fee obligation that is administered or collected by the city and that has a statutorily defined due date.

H. “Successor” means any person to whom a taxpayer quitting, selling out, exchanging, or disposing of a business sells or otherwise conveys, directly or indirectly, in bulk and not in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s business, any part of the materials, supplies, merchandise, inventory, fixtures, or equipment of the taxpayer. Any person obligated to fulfill the terms of a contract shall be deemed a successor to any contractor defaulting in the performance of any contract as to which such person is a surety or guarantor.

I. “Tax year” or “taxable year” means the calendar year. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.021 Definitions – References to Chapter 82.32 RCW.

Where provisions of Chapter 82.32 RCW are incorporated by reference in this chapter or any chapter to which these administrative provisions apply pursuant to BCC 4.03.015, “department” as used in the RCW shall refer to the “director” as defined in BCC 4.03.020(D) and “warrant” as used in the RCW shall mean “citation or criminal complaint.” (Ord. 5781 § 2, 2007.)

4.03.025 Registration/license requirements.

Any person who engages in any business or performs any act which is subject to the provisions of Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; or Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, even if such person is not subject to any tax imposed thereby, shall apply under such rules and regulations as the department may prescribe and, upon approval, receive from the department a registration certificate applicable to all such business engaged in or activity performed.

No person shall engage in any business without being registered in compliance with the provisions of this section except the following:

A. Any farmer who is exempt from the business and occupation tax pursuant to BCC 4.09.090(J); or

B. Any “family” as defined in BCC 4.03.020(E).

C. Any person who performs activities subject to the provisions of Chapter 4.09 BCC and meets the requirements of BCC 4.09.030(L)(4). This exemption does not apply to any person engaged in activities that are subject to the provisions of other chapters of BCC Title 4. (Ord. 5605 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.030 Registration/license certificates.

A registration fee of $80.00 shall be due at the time of filing of the application. Such registration certificate shall be personal and nontransferable and shall be valid as long as the taxpayer continues in such business and pays any tax imposed by the city.

The registration fee shall be administratively adjusted by the director on January 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, in an amount equal to the cost of living adjustment, as defined in BCC 4.03.020(B), applicable for the immediately preceding year. The amount of the registration fee so calculated shall be rounded to the nearest $1.00.

In the event business is transacted at two or more separate places by one taxpayer, a separate registration certificate for each place at which business is transacted shall be required. Such additional certificates shall be issued at no additional fee. Where a taxpayer changes the nature of business conducted or conducts additional activities upon which a tax is imposed by Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; or Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, such taxpayer shall apply for and receive a new registration certificate at no additional fee.

Each registration certificate shall be numbered and shall show the name, business location, mailing address and such other information as the department deems necessary. The certificate of registration shall be posted in a conspicuous place at the place of business for which it is issued.

Where a place of business of the taxpayer is changed, the taxpayer shall notify the department and upon approval a new certificate will be issued free of charge for the new place of business. (Ord. 5986 § 1, 2010; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.035 City subject to tax.

Whenever the city through any department or division engages in any business activity taxable under Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code, which if engaged in by any person would require a certificate of registration, the filing of returns and the payment of a registration fee or tax by such person, the city department or division engaging in such business activity shall, at the same time and in the same manner as persons are required hereunder, prepare returns and pay the registration fees or taxes imposed in Chapter 4.10 BCC, unless specifically exempted in the applicable tax code. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.040 When due and payable – Reporting periods – Monthly, quarterly, and annual returns – Threshold provisions or relief from filing requirements – Computing time periods – Failure to file returns.

A. Other than any annual license fee or registration fee assessed under this chapter, the taxes imposed by Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; and Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code; shall be due and payable in quarterly installments. At the director’s discretion, businesses may be assigned to a monthly, annual, or active nonreporter reporting period depending on the tax amount owing or type of tax; provided, however, that the director may only assign a monthly reporting period for purposes of Chapter 4.09 BCC where the taxpayer is remitting excise tax to the state on a monthly basis. Tax payments for monthly, quarterly and annual taxpayers are due as described for such reporting frequencies in RCW 82.32.045, as it now exists or as it may be amended.

B. Taxes shall be paid as provided in this chapter and accompanied by a return on forms as prescribed by the director. The return shall be signed by the taxpayer personally or by a responsible officer or agent of the taxpayer. The individual signing the return shall swear or affirm that the information in the return is complete and true to the best of their belief and knowledge.

C. Tax returns must be filed and returned by the due date whether or not any tax is owed.

D. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, the director may relieve any person of the requirement to file returns if the person meets exemption criteria under BCC 4.04.035(B), 4.04.035(C), 4.09.090(A), 4.14.040(A), or 4.14.040(B).

E. A taxpayer that commences to engage in business activity shall file a return and pay the tax or fee for the portion of the reporting period during which the taxpayer is engaged in business activity subject to the conditions set forth in subsection D of this section.

F. Except as otherwise specifically provided by any other provision of this chapter, in computing any period of days prescribed by this chapter the day of the act or event from which the designated period of time runs shall not be included. The last day of the period shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or city or federal legal holiday, in which case the last day of such period shall be the next succeeding day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday, or city or federal legal holiday.

G. If any taxpayer fails, neglects or refuses to make a return as and when required in this chapter, the director is authorized to determine the amount of the tax or fees payable by obtaining facts and information upon which to base the director’s estimate of the tax or fees due. Such assessment shall be deemed prima facie correct and shall be the amount of tax owed to the city by the taxpayer. The director shall notify the taxpayer by mail of the amount of tax so determined, together with any penalty, interest, and fees due; the total of such amounts shall thereupon become immediately due and payable. (Ord. 6091 § 1, 2012; Ord. 5781 § 3, 2007; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.050 Payment methods – Mailing returns or remittances – Time extension – Deposits – Recording payments – Payment must accompany return – NSF checks.

A. Taxes shall be paid to the director in United States currency by bank draft, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check, money order, cash, or by wire transfer or electronic payment if such wire transfer or electronic payment is authorized by the director. If payment so received is not paid by the bank on which it is drawn, the taxpayer, by whom such payment is tendered, shall remain liable for payment of the tax and for all legal penalties, the same as if such payment had not been tendered. Acceptance of any sum by the director shall not discharge the tax or fee due unless the amount paid is the full amount due.

B. A return or remittance that is transmitted to the city by United States mail shall be deemed filed or received on the date shown by the cancellation mark stamped by the post office upon the envelope containing it. The director may allow electronic filing of returns or remittances from any taxpayer. A return or remittance which is transmitted to the city electronically shall be deemed filed or received according to procedures set forth by the director.

C. If a written request is received prior to the due date, the director, for good cause, may grant, in writing, additional time within which to make and file returns.

D. The director shall keep full and accurate records of all funds received or refunded. The director shall apply payments first against all penalties and interest owing, and then upon the tax, without regard to any direction of the taxpayer.

E. For any return not accompanied by a remittance of the tax shown to be due thereon, the taxpayer shall be deemed to have failed or refused to file a return and shall be subject to the penalties and interest provided in this chapter.

F. Any payment made that is returned for lack of sufficient funds or for any other reason will not be considered received until payment by certified check, money order, or cash of the original amount due, plus a “nonsufficient funds” (NSF) charge of $20.00 is received by the director. Any license issued upon payment with an NSF check will be considered void, and shall be returned to the director. No license shall be reissued until payment (including the $20.00 NSF fee) is received.

G. The director is authorized, but not required, to mail tax return forms to taxpayers, but failure of the taxpayer to receive any such forms shall not excuse the taxpayer from filing returns and making payment of the taxes or fees, when and as due under this chapter. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.060 Records to be preserved – Examination – Estoppel to question assessment.

Every person liable for any fee or tax imposed by this chapter shall keep and preserve, for a period of five years after filing a tax return, such records as may be necessary to determine the amount of any fee or tax for which the person may be liable; which records shall include copies of all federal income tax and state tax returns and reports made by the person. All books, records, papers, invoices, vendor lists, inventories, stocks of merchandise, and other data including federal income tax and state tax returns and reports shall be open for examination at any time by the director or its duly authorized agent. Every person’s business premises shall be open for inspection or examination by the director or a duly authorized agent.

A. If a person does not keep the necessary books and records within the city, it shall be sufficient if such person (a) produces within the city such books and records as may be required by the director, or (b) bears the cost of examination by the director’s agent at the place where such books and records are kept; provided, that the person electing to bear such cost shall pay in advance to the director the estimated amount thereof including round-trip fare, lodging, meals and incidental expenses, subject to adjustment upon completion of the examination.

B. Any person who fails, or refuses a department request, to provide or make available records, or to allow inspection or examination of the business premises, shall be forever barred from questioning in any court action, the correctness of any assessment of taxes made by the city for any period for which such records have not been provided, made available or kept and preserved, or in respect of which inspection or examination of the business premises has been denied. The director is authorized to determine the amount of the tax or fees payable by obtaining facts and information upon which to base the estimate of the tax or fees due. Such fee or tax assessment shall be deemed prima facie correct and shall be the amount of tax owing the city by the taxpayer. The director shall notify the taxpayer by mail the amount of tax so determined, together with any penalty, interest, and fees due; the total of such amounts shall thereupon become immediately due and payable. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.070 Accounting methods.

A. A taxpayer may file tax returns in each reporting period with amounts based upon cash receipts only if the taxpayer’s books of account are kept on a cash receipts basis. A taxpayer that does not regularly keep books of account on a cash receipts basis must file returns with amounts based on the accrual method.

B. The taxes imposed and the returns required, hereunder, shall be upon a calendar year basis. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.080 Public work contracts – Payment of fee and tax before final payment for work.

The director may, before issuing any final payment to any person performing any public work contract for the city, require such person to pay in full all license fees or taxes due under this title from such person on account of such contract or otherwise, and may require such taxpayer to file with the director a verified list of all subcontractors supplying labor and/or materials to the person in connection with said public work. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.090 Underpayment of tax, interest, or penalty – Interest.

If, upon examination of any returns, or from other information obtained by the director, it appears that a tax or penalty less than that properly due has been paid, the director shall assess the additional amount found to be due and shall add thereto interest on the tax only. The director shall notify the person by mail of the additional amount, which shall become due and shall be paid within 30 days from the date of the notice, or within such time as the director may provide in writing.

A. For the purposes of this section, the rate of interest to be charged to the taxpayer for tax periods prior to January 1, 2005, shall be an average of the federal short-term rate as defined in 26 U.S.C. Section 1274(d) plus two percentage points. The rate shall be computed by taking an arithmetical average to the nearest percentage point of the federal short-term rate, compounded annually, for the months of January, April, July, and October of the year immediately preceding the calendar year as published by the United States Secretary of the Treasury. The rate shall be adjusted on the first day of January of each year for use in computing interest for that calendar year. For tax periods prior to January 1, 2005, interest shall be computed from the last day of the month following the end of the reporting period and will continue to accrue until payment is made.

B. For tax periods after December 31, 2004, the director shall compute interest in accordance with RCW 82.32.050 as it now exists or as it may be amended.

C. If subsection B of this section is held to be invalid, then the provisions of RCW 82.32.050 existing as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section shall apply. (Ord. 5781 § 4, 2007; Ord. 5605 § 2, 2005; Ord. 5558 § 1, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.095 Time in which assessment may be made.

The director shall not assess, or correct an assessment for, additional taxes, penalties, or interest due more than four years after the close of the calendar year in which they were incurred, except that the director may issue an assessment:

A. Against a person who is not currently registered or licensed or has not filed a tax return as required by this chapter for taxes due within the period commencing 10 years prior to the close of the calendar year in which the person was contacted in writing by the director;

B. Against a person that has committed fraud or who misrepresented a material fact; or

C. Against a person that has executed a written waiver of such limitations. (Ord. 5558 § 2, 2004.)

4.03.100 Overpayment of tax, penalty, or interest – Credit or refund – Interest rate – Statute of limitations.

A. If, upon receipt of an application for a refund, or during an audit or examination of the taxpayer’s records and tax returns, the director determines that the amount of tax, penalty, or interest paid is in excess of that properly due, the excess amount shall be credited to the taxpayer’s account or shall be refunded to the taxpayer. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, no refund or credit shall be made for taxes, penalties, or interest paid more than four years prior to the beginning of the calendar year in which the refund application is made or examination of records is completed.

B. The execution of a written waiver shall extend the time for applying for, or making a refund or credit of any taxes paid during, or attributable to, the years covered by the waiver if, prior to the expiration of the waiver period, an application for refund of such taxes is made by the taxpayer or the director discovers that a refund or credit is due.

C. Refunds shall be made by means of vouchers approved by the director and by the issuance of a city check or warrants drawn upon and payable from such funds as the city may provide.

D. Any final judgment for which a recovery is granted by any court of competent jurisdiction for tax, penalties, interest, or costs paid by any person shall be paid in the same manner, as provided in subsection C of this section, upon the filing with the director a certified copy of the order or judgment of the court.

E. The rate of interest on overpayments of taxes for tax periods prior to January 1, 2005, shall be the same as for underpayments, as set forth in BCC 4.03.090(A).

F. 1. For tax periods after December 31, 2004, the director shall compute interest on refunds or credits of amounts paid or other recovery allowed a taxpayer in accordance with RCW 82.32.060 as it now exists or as it may be amended.

2. If subsection (F)(1) of this section is held to be invalid, then the provisions of RCW 82.32.060 as existing at the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section shall apply. (Ord. 5781 §§ 5, 6, 2007; Ord. 5605 § 3, 2005; Ord. 5558 § 3, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.110 Late payment – Disregard of written instructions – Evasion – Penalties.

A. If payment of any tax due on a return to be filed by a taxpayer is not received by the director by the due date, the director shall add a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(1) as it now exists or as it may be amended.

B. If the director determines that any tax has been substantially underpaid as defined in RCW 82.32.090(2), there shall be added a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(2) as it now exists or as it may be amended.

C. If a citation or criminal complaint is issued by the city for the collection of taxes, fees, assessments, interest or penalties, there shall be added thereto a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(3) as it now exists or as it may be amended.

D. If the director finds that a person has engaged in any business or performed any act upon which a tax is imposed under this title and that person has not obtained from the director a license as required by BCC 4.03.025, the director shall impose a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(4) as it now exists or as it may be amended. No penalty shall be imposed under this subsection D if the person who has engaged in business without a license obtains a license prior to being notified by the director of the need to be licensed.

E. If the director determines that all or any part of a deficiency resulted from the taxpayer’s failure to follow specific written tax reporting instructions, there shall be assessed a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(5) as it now exists or as it may be amended.

F. If the director finds that all or any part of the deficiency resulted from an intent to evade the tax payable, the director shall assess a penalty in accordance with RCW 82.32.090(6) as it now exists or as it may be amended.

G. The penalties imposed under subsections A through E of this section can each be imposed on the same tax found to be due. This subsection does not prohibit or restrict the application of other penalties authorized by law.

H. The director shall not impose both the evasion penalty and the penalty for disregarding specific written instructions on the same tax found to be due.

I. For the purposes of this section, “return” means any document a person is required by the city to file to satisfy or establish a tax or fee obligation that is administered or collected by the city, and that has a statutorily defined due date.

J. If incorporation into the city code of future changes to RCW 82.32.090 is deemed invalid, then the provisions of RCW 82.32.090 referenced in this section existing at the time the ordinance codified in this section is effective shall apply. (Ord. 5781 § 7, 2007; Ord. 5605 § 4, 2005; Ord. 5558 § 4, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.120 Cancellation of penalties and interest.

A. The director may cancel any penalties and/or interest imposed under BCC 4.03.110(A) if the taxpayer shows that its failure to timely file or pay the tax was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect. Willful neglect is presumed unless the taxpayer shows that it exercised ordinary business care and prudence in making arrangements to file the return and pay the tax but was nevertheless, due to circumstances beyond the taxpayer’s control, unable to file or pay by the due date. The director’s authority to waive or cancel penalties and/or interest under this subsection shall extend to amounts already paid and also includes any disputes currently pending. “Reasonable cause” may include the following and other similar circumstances:

1. The return was filed on time, but was inadvertently mailed to another agency or there was a delay or loss related to the postal service. The director may also cancel interest in this situation.

2. The delinquency was due to written erroneous information given the taxpayer by the department. The director may also cancel interest in this situation.

3. The delinquency was caused by the death or serious illness of the taxpayer or his/her immediate family, or by the illness or death of his/her tax preparer or a member of the tax preparer’s immediate family, prior to the filing date.

4. The delinquency was caused by the unavoidable absence of the taxpayer, prior to the filing date.

5. The delinquency was caused by the destruction, through no fault of the taxpayer, by fire or other casualty of the taxpayer’s place of business or business records.

6. The taxpayer, prior to the time of filing the return, made timely application to the department, in writing, for proper forms and these forms were not furnished in sufficient time to permit the completed return to be filed and the tax paid before the delinquent date.

7. The delinquency was the result of an unforeseen and unintentional circumstance, not immediately known to the taxpayer, caused by the malfeasance or misconduct of the taxpayer’s employee or accountant.

8. The director has reasonably determined that the taxpayer made a good faith effort to comply with the provisions of this chapter.

9. The taxpayer inadvertently failed to file a tax return because of a good faith belief that the taxpayer qualified for the filing exemption in BCC 4.03.040(D).

The director has no authority to cancel any other penalties or to cancel penalties for any other reason except as provided in subsection C of this section.

B. A request for cancellation of penalties and/or interest must be received by the director within 30 days after the date the department mails the notice that the penalties and/or interest are due. The request must be in writing and contain competent proof of all pertinent facts supporting a reasonable cause determination. In all cases the burden of proving the facts rests upon the taxpayer.

C. The director may cancel the penalties in BCC 4.03.110(A) one time if a person:

1. Was not licensed, and filing returns;

2. Was unaware of his/her responsibility to file and pay tax; and

3. Obtained business licenses and filed past due tax returns within 30 days after being notified by the department.

D. The director shall not cancel any interest charged upon amounts due, except under subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section. (Ord. 5781 § 8, 2007; Ord. 5605 § 5, 2005; Ord. 5558 § 5, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.125 Voluntary registration.

In the case of any unregistered taxpayer doing business in the city of Bellevue that voluntarily registers prior to being contacted by the department, the department shall not assess for back taxes or interest for more than four calendar years prior to the year of registration. In addition, the late payment penalty imposed under BCC 4.03.110(A) shall not apply. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.130 Taxpayer quitting business – Liability of successor.

A. Whenever any taxpayer quits business, sells out, exchanges, or otherwise disposes of his business or his stock of goods, any tax payable hereunder shall become immediately due and payable. Such taxpayer shall, within 10 days thereafter, make a return and pay the tax due.

B. Any person who becomes a successor shall become liable for the full amount of any tax owing. The successor shall withhold from the purchase price a sum sufficient to pay any tax due to the city from the taxpayer until such time as:

1. The taxpayer shall produce a receipt from the city showing payment in full of any tax due or a certificate that no tax is due; or

2. More than six months have passed since the successor notified the director of the acquisition and the director has not issued and notified the successor of an assessment.

C. Payment of the tax by the successor shall, to the extent thereof, be deemed a payment upon the purchase price. If such payment is greater in amount than the purchase price, the amount of the difference shall become a debt due such successor from the taxpayer.

D. Notwithstanding the above, if a successor gives written notice to the director of the acquisition, and the department does not within six months of the date it received the notice issue an assessment against the taxpayer and mail a copy of that assessment to the successor, the successor shall not be liable for the tax. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.140 Correction of tax – Administrative appeal.

A. Any person having been issued a notice of additional taxes, delinquent taxes, interest, or penalties assessed by the department may, within 30 days after the issuance of such notice or within the period covered by any extension of the due date granted by the department, request a correction of the amount of the assessment and a conference for review of the assessment. Interest and penalties assessed shall continue to accrue during the department’s review of a request for a correction, except and to the extent that the department later determines that a tax assessment was too high or the delay in issuing a determination is due to unreasonable delays caused by the department. After the conference, the department will make a final determination regarding the assessment and shall notify the taxpayer of the department’s determination within 60 days, unless otherwise notified in writing by the department. Such determination shall be subject to appeal pursuant to subsection B of this section. If no request for correction is filed within the time period provided herein, the assessment covered by such notice shall become final and immediately due and payable.

B. Any person aggrieved by the amount of any fee, tax, interest or penalty determined by the department to be due under the provisions of this chapter or Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; or Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, may appeal such determination pursuant to the following procedures:

1. Form of Appeal. Any appeal must be in writing and must contain the following:

a. The name and address of the taxpayer;

b. A statement identifying the determination of the department from which the appeal is taken;

c. A statement setting forth the grounds upon which the appeal is taken and identifying specific errors the department is alleged to have made in making the determination; and

d. A statement identifying the requested relief from the determination being appealed.

2. Time and Place to Appeal. Any appeal shall be filed with the office of the hearing examiner with a copy to the director no later than 30 days following the date on which the determination of the department was mailed to the taxpayer. Failure to follow the appeal procedures in this section shall preclude the taxpayer’s right to appeal.

3. Appeal Hearing. The hearing examiner shall schedule a hearing date, notify the taxpayer and the director of such hearing date and shall then conduct an appeal hearing in accordance with this chapter and procedures developed by the hearing examiner, at which time the appellant taxpayer and the director shall have the opportunity to be heard and to introduce evidence relevant to the subject of the appeal.

4. Burden of Proof. The appellant taxpayer shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the determination of the department is erroneous.

5. Hearing Record. The hearing examiner shall make an electronic sound recording of each appeal unless the hearing is conducted solely in writing.

6. Decision of the Hearing Examiner. Following the hearing, the hearing examiner shall enter a decision on the appeal, supported by written findings and conclusions in support thereof. A copy of the findings, conclusions and decision shall be mailed to the appellant taxpayer and to the director. The decision shall state the correct amount of the fee, tax, interest or penalty owing.

7. Interest Accrual or Payment. Interest and/or penalties shall continue to accrue on all unpaid amounts, in accordance with BCC 4.03.090 and 4.03.110, notwithstanding the fact that an appeal has been filed. If the hearing examiner determines that the taxpayer is owed a refund, such refund amount shall be paid to the taxpayer in accordance with BCC 4.03.100. (Ord. 5558 § 6, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.150 Judicial review of hearing examiner decision.

The decision of the hearing examiner may be appealed to the superior court of King County by the appellant taxpayer or by the director by filing a proper request for a writ of review with the superior court. A request for a writ of review must be filed within 30 calendar days following the date that the decision of the hearing examiner was mailed to the parties. Review by the superior court shall be on, and shall be limited to, the record on appeal created before the hearing examiner. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.160 Administration – Director to make rules.

The administration of this chapter and Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; and Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, shall be accomplished under the direction of the director.

The director may prescribe forms and shall have the power, from time to time, to adopt, publish and enforce rules and regulations necessary for the administration of this chapter and for the administration of Chapters 4.04, 4.09, 4.10, and 4.14 BCC, not inconsistent with these chapters or with law. It shall be unlawful to violate or fail to comply with any such rule or regulation. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.170 Ancillary allocation authority of director.

The director is authorized to enter into agreements with other Washington cities which impose an “eligible gross receipts tax”:

A. To conduct an audit or joint audit of a taxpayer by using an auditor employed by the city of Bellevue, another city, or a contract auditor; provided, that such contract auditor’s pay is not in any way based upon the amount of tax assessed;

B. To allocate or apportion, in a manner that fairly reflects the gross receipts earned from activities conducted within the respective cities, the gross proceeds of sales, gross receipts, or gross income of the business, or taxes due from any person that is required to pay an eligible gross receipts tax to more than one Washington city; provided, that for tax periods beginning on or after January 1, 2008, such agreement shall be consistent with the allocation or apportionment methods set forth in RCW 35.102.130 as it now exists or as it may be amended;

C. To apply the city’s tax prospectively where a taxpayer has no office or place of business within the city and has paid tax on all gross income to another Washington city where the taxpayer is located; provided, that the other city maintains an eligible gross receipts tax, and the income was not derived from contracts with the city. (Ord. 5781 § 9, 2007; Ord. 5558 § 7, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.180 Mailing of notices.

Any notice required by this chapter to be mailed to any taxpayer or licensee shall be sent by ordinary mail, addressed to the address of the taxpayer or licensee as shown by the records of the director. Failure of the taxpayer or licensee to receive any such mailed notice shall not release the taxpayer or licensee from any tax, fee, interest, or any penalties thereon, nor shall such failure operate to extend any time limit set by the provisions of this chapter. It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to inform the director in writing about a change in the taxpayer’s address. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.190 Tax declared additional.

The license fee and tax levied in Chapters 4.04, 4.09, 4.10, and 4.14 BCC shall be additional to any license fee or tax imposed or levied under any law or any other ordinance of the city of Bellevue except as herein otherwise expressly provided. (Ord. 5781 § 10, 2007; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.200 Public disclosure – Confidentiality – Information sharing.

A. For purposes of this section defined terms shall be as set forth in BCC 4.03.020 except as otherwise stated:

1. “Disclose” means to make known to any person in any manner whatever a return or tax information;

2. “Return” shall have the meaning provided in BCC 4.03.020;

3. “Tax information” means (a) a taxpayer’s identity, (b) the nature, source, or amount of the taxpayer’s income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability deficiencies, overassessments, or tax payments, whether taken from the taxpayer’s books and records or any other source, (c) whether the taxpayer’s return was, is being, or will be examined or subject to other investigation or processing, and (d) other data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the city with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence, of liability, or the amount thereof, of a person under the city’s tax codes for a tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition, or offense. However, data, material, or documents that do not disclose information related to a specific or identifiable taxpayer do not constitute tax information under this section. Nothing in this chapter requires any person possessing data, material, or documents made confidential and privileged by this section to delete information from such data, material, or documents so as to permit its disclosure;

4. “City agency” means every city office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or other city agency;

5. “Taxpayer identity” means the taxpayer’s name, address, telephone number, registration number, or any combination thereof, or any other information disclosing the identity of the taxpayer.

B. Returns and tax information are confidential and privileged and, except as authorized by this section, neither the director nor any other person may disclose any return or tax information.

C. This section does not prohibit the director from:

1. Disclosing such return or tax information in a civil or criminal judicial proceeding or an administrative proceeding:

a. In respect of any tax imposed under the city’s tax codes if the taxpayer or its officer or other person liable under this title is a party in the proceeding; or

b. In which the taxpayer about whom such return or tax information is sought and another city agency are adverse parties in the proceeding;

2. Disclosing, subject to such requirements and conditions as the director prescribes, such return or tax information regarding a taxpayer to such taxpayer or to such person or persons as that taxpayer may designate in a request for, or consent to, such disclosure, or to any other person, at the taxpayer’s request, to the extent necessary to comply with a request for information or assistance made by the taxpayer to such other person. However, tax information not received from the taxpayer must not be so disclosed if the director determines that such disclosure would compromise any investigation or litigation by any federal, state, or local government agency in connection with the civil or criminal liability of the taxpayer or another person, or that such disclosure would identify a confidential informant, or that such disclosure is contrary to any agreement entered into by the director that provides for the reciprocal exchange of information with other government agencies which agreement requires confidentiality with respect to such information unless such information is required to be disclosed to the taxpayer by the order of any court;

3. Publishing statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns or reports or items thereof;

4. Disclosing such return or tax information, for official purposes only, to the city manager or city attorney, or to any city agency, or to any member of the city council or their authorized designees dealing with matters of taxation, revenue, trade, commerce, the control of industry or the professions;

5. Permitting the city’s records to be audited and examined by the proper city, state or federal officer, his or her agents and employees;

6. Disclosing any such return or tax information to a peace officer as defined in RCW 9A.04.110 or county or city prosecuting attorney, for official purposes. The disclosure may be made only in response to a search warrant, subpoena, or other court order, unless the disclosure is for the purpose of criminal tax enforcement. A peace officer or county or city prosecuting attorney who receives the return or tax information may disclose that return or tax information only for use in the investigation and a related court proceeding, or in the court proceeding for which the return or tax information originally was sought or where otherwise allowed to be disclosed under this section;

7. Disclosing any such return or tax information to the proper officer of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States, the Canadian government or provincial governments of Canada, or to the proper officer of the tax department of any state or city or town or county, for official purposes, but only if the statutes of the United States, Canada or its provincial governments, or of such other state or city or town or county, as the case may be, grants substantially similar privileges to the proper officers of the city;

8. Disclosing any such return or tax information to the United States Department of Justice, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Defense, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection agencies of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the United States Department of Treasury, and the United States Department of Transportation, or any authorized representative of these federal agencies or their successors, for official purposes;

9. Disclosing, in a manner that is not associated with other tax information, the taxpayer name, entity type, business address, mailing address, revenue tax registration numbers and the active/closed status of such registrations, state or local business license registration identification and the active/closed status and effective dates of such licenses, reseller permit numbers and the status of such permits, North American Industry Classification System or Standard Industrial Classification Code of a taxpayer, and the dates of opening and closing of business. This subsection may not be construed as giving authority to any person receiving such information to use such information for any commercial purpose;

10. Disclosing such return or tax information that is also maintained by another Washington state or local governmental agency as a public record available for inspection and copying under the provisions of Chapter 42.56 RCW or is a document maintained by a court of record and is not otherwise prohibited from disclosure;

11. Disclosing such return or tax information to the United States Department of Agriculture, or successor department or agency, for the limited purpose of investigating food stamp fraud by retailers;

12. Disclosing to a financial institution, escrow company or title company, in connection with specific real property that is the subject of a real estate transaction, current amounts due the city for a filed judgment, or lien against the real property;

13. Disclosing to a person against whom the director has asserted liability as a successor under the city tax codes any return or tax information pertaining to the specific business of the taxpayer to which the person has succeeded;

14. Disclosing real estate excise tax affidavit forms in the possession of the city, including real estate excise tax affidavit forms for transactions exempt or otherwise not subject to tax; or

15. Disclosing such return or tax information to the court or hearing examiner in respect to the director’s application for a subpoena if there is probable cause to believe that records in the possession of a third party will aid the director in connection with its official duties under this title or a civil or criminal investigation.

D. 1. The director may disclose return or taxpayer information to a person under investigation or during any court or administrative proceeding against a person under investigation as provided in this subsection D. The disclosure must be in connection with the director’s official duties under this title, or a civil or criminal investigation. The disclosure may occur only when the person under investigation and the person in possession of data, materials, or documents are parties to the return or tax information to be disclosed.

2. Before disclosure of any tax return or tax information under this subsection D, the director must, through written correspondence, inform the taxpayer of the requested disclosure. The correspondence must clearly identify the data, materials, or documents to be disclosed. The director may not disclose any tax return or tax information under this subsection D until the time period allowed in subsection (D)(3) of this section has expired or until the court has ruled on any challenge brought under subsection (D)(3) of this section.

3. The taxpayer has 20 days from the receipt of the written request required under this subsection to petition the superior court of the county in which the petitioner resides (or with any court with jurisdiction over the matter that allows disclosure of information under this subsection D) for injunctive relief consistent with the provisions of applicable state law governing disclosure of taxpayer information.

4. Requesting information under this subsection that may indicate that a taxpayer is under investigation does not constitute a disclosure of tax return or tax information under this section.

E. Service of and compliance with a subpoena issued by the court or any administrative body with authority to issue subpoenas does not constitute a disclosure of return or tax information under this section. Notwithstanding anything else to the contrary in this section, a person served with a subpoena issued by the court or administrative body may disclose the existence or content of the subpoena and the records therein identified to that person’s legal counsel.

F. Any person acquiring knowledge of any return or tax information in the course of his or her employment with the city and any person acquiring knowledge of any return or tax information as provided under subsection (C)(3), (4), (5), (6), (7), or (9) of this section who reveals or makes known any such return or tax information to another person not entitled to knowledge of such return or tax information under the provisions of this section or other applicable law may be punished by a civil penalty not exceeding $1,000, and, if the person violating this requirement is an officer or employee of the city, such person may be required to forfeit such office or employment. (Ord. 6092 § 1, 2012; Ord. 5781 § 11, 2007; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.210 Tax constitutes debt.

Any license fee or tax due and unpaid under this chapter, and all interest and penalties thereon, shall constitute a debt to the city and may be collected in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. (Ord. 5781 § 12, 2007; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.220 Unlawful actions – Violation – Penalties.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person liable for fees or taxes under this chapter or Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; or Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code:

1. To violate or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or Chapters 4.04, 4.09, 4.10 or 4.14 BCC or any lawful rule or regulation adopted by the director;

2. To make any false statement on any license application or tax return;

3. To aid or abet any person in any attempt to evade payment of a license fee or tax;

4. To fail to appear or testify in response to a subpoena issued pursuant to the rules of procedure of the office of the hearing examiner;

5. To testify falsely in any investigation, audit, or proceeding conducted pursuant to this chapter.

B. Violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is a gross misdemeanor. Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter may be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000, imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment. Penalties or punishments provided in this chapter shall be in addition to all other penalties provided by law.

C. Any person, or officer of a corporation, convicted of continuing to engage in business after the revocation of a license shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment. (Ord. 5558 § 8, 2004; Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.230 Suspension or revocation of business registration [license].

A. The director, or designee, shall have the power and authority to suspend or revoke any license issued under the provisions of this chapter or Chapter 4.04 BCC, Admission Tax Code; Chapter 4.09 BCC, Business and Occupation Tax Code; Chapter 4.10 BCC, Utility Occupation Tax Code; and Chapter 4.14 BCC, Gambling Tax Code, and to such other chapters and sections of the Bellevue City Code in such manner and to such extent as expressly indicated in each such chapter or section. The director, or designee, shall notify such licensee in writing by certified mail of the intended suspension or revocation of his or her license and the grounds therefor. Any license issued under this chapter may be suspended or revoked based on one or more of the following grounds:

1. The license was procured by fraud or false representation of fact.

2. The licensee has failed to comply with any provisions of BCC Title 4.

3. The licensee has failed to comply with any provisions of the Bellevue City Code.

4. The licensee is in default in any payment of any license fee or tax under BCC Title 4.

5. The licensee or employee has been convicted of a crime involving the business.

B. Any licensee may, within 30 days from the date that the suspension or revocation notice was mailed to the licensee, appeal from such suspension or revocation by filing a written notice of appeal (“petition”) setting forth the grounds therefor with the hearing examiner. A copy of the petition must be provided by the licensee to the director and the city attorney on or before the date the petition is filed with the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall set a date for hearing said appeal and notify the licensee by mail of the time and place of the hearing. After the hearing thereon the hearing examiner shall, after appropriate findings of fact, and conclusions of law, affirm, modify, or overrule the suspension or revocation and reinstate the license, and may impose any terms upon the continuance of the license.

C. No suspension or revocation of a license issued pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter shall take effect until 30 days after the mailing of the notice thereof by the director, and if appeal is taken as herein prescribed the suspension or revocation shall be stayed pending final action by the hearing examiner. All licenses which are suspended or revoked shall be surrendered to the city on the effective date of such suspension or revocation.

D. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final. The licensee and/or the director may seek review of the decision by the superior court of Washington in and for King County within 30 days from the date of the decision. If review is sought as herein prescribed the suspension or revocation shall be stayed pending final action by the superior court.

E. Upon revocation of any license as provided in this section no portion of the license fee shall be returned to the licensee. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.240 Closing agreement provisions.

The director may enter into an agreement in writing with any person relating to the liability of such person in respect of any tax imposed by any of the chapters within this title and administered by this chapter for any taxable period(s). Upon approval of such agreement, evidenced by execution thereof by the director and the person so agreeing, the agreement shall be final and conclusive as to the tax liability or tax immunity covered thereby, and, except upon a showing of fraud or malfeasance, or misrepresentation of a material fact:

A. The case shall not be reopened as to the matters agreed upon, or the agreement modified, by the director or the taxpayer; and

B. In any suit, action or proceeding, such agreement, or any determination, assessment, collection, payment, abatement, refund, or credit made in accordance therewith, shall not be annulled, modified, set aside, or disregarded. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.250 Charge-off of uncollectible taxes.

The director may charge off any tax, penalty, or interest that is owed by a taxpayer, if the director reasonably ascertains that the cost of collecting such amounts would be greater than the total amount that is owed or likely to be collected from the taxpayer. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.260 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.270 Collection of tax.

The city may pursue collection of any fee, tax, interest or penalty due and unpaid to the fullest extent and in any manner authorized by law, including but not limited to the filing of a civil action against the taxpayer for the payment of such debt or the use by the city of a collection agency for such purposes. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.280 City subject to tax.

Repealed by Ord. 5781. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)

4.03.290 Tax amnesty.

The director, with city council approval, may from time to time declare periods of tax amnesty to the extent that the director determines that such periods of tax amnesty are likely to have the effect of increasing revenues to the city. The director may promulgate rules and procedures to implement the provisions of this section. (Ord. 5436 § 1, 2003.)