Chapter 5.08
UTILITIES BUSINESS TAX*

Sections:

5.08.010    Definitions.

5.08.020    Imposed.

5.08.025    Credit against tax imposed.

5.08.030    Two or more taxable businesses.

5.08.040    Exemptions – Interstate and foreign commerce – Constitutionally imposed.

5.08.050    Exemptions – Minimum gross income.

5.08.060    Exemptions – Amounts paid for capital facilities.

5.08.070    Computation – Deductions.

5.08.080    Nonexclusive application of provisions.

5.08.085    Allocation of income – Cellular telephone service.

5.08.090    Returns, remittances – Report procedures, forms.

5.08.100    Payment, deficient or delinquent – Penalties.

5.08.110    Overpayment.

5.08.120    Records.

5.08.130    Payment – Acceptable form.

5.08.140    Payment – Filing procedure.

5.08.150    Payment – Delinquency – Penalties.

5.08.160    Failure to provide return – City action.

5.08.170    Notice and orders – Service to taxpayer.

5.08.180    Audit – Taxpayer assumes cost.

5.08.190    Transfer of business – Successor liability.

5.08.200    Additional assessment – Taxpayer’s right to petition.

5.08.210    Refund – Petition subsequent to payment.

5.08.220    Appeal – To city council.

5.08.230    Appeal – To court.

5.08.240    Investigation – Hearing.

5.08.250    Rate change.

5.08.260    Violation – Regarding licenses and returns.

5.08.270    Low income citizens – Relief from utility taxes paid for electricity, natural gas, and telephone services.

*    For statutory provisions requiring a uniform rate for license fees based on retail sales, see RCW 35A.82.050; for provisions on utilities, see Chapter 82.16 RCW.

5.08.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, unless otherwise required by context, the words and phrases designated in this section are defined as follows:

A.    “Business” includes all activities engaged in with the object of gain, benefit, or advantage to the taxpayer or to another person or class, directly or indirectly.

B.    “Business, cable television” means the business of providing and distributing by the use of cables or other means a community antenna television system.

C.    “Business, gas distribution” means the business of operating a plant or system for the production or distribution for hire or sale of gas, whether manufactured or natural.

D.    “Business, light and power” means the business of operating a plant or system for the generation, production or distribution of electrical energy for hire or sale.

E.    “Business, refuse collection and disposal” means the business of collecting and disposing of domestic and industrial refuse.

F.    “Business, sewage collection and disposal” means the business of collecting and disposing of domestic and industrial sewage.

G.    “Business, telegraph” means the business of affording telegraphic communication for hire.

H.    “Business, telephone” means the business of providing access to a local telephone network, local telephone network switching service, toll service, coin telephone service, or the providing of telephonic, video, data, or similar communication or transmission for hire, via a local telephone network, toll line or channel, cable, microwave, or similar communication or transmission system. This includes interstate service, and includes toll service, originating from or received on telecommunications equipment or apparatus in this state if the charge for the service is billed to a person in this state. It further includes cooperative or farmer line telephone companies or associations operating an exchange. “Telephone business” does not include the providing of competitive telephone service, the providing of cable television service, nor the providing of broadcast services by radio or television stations. “Competitive telephone service” means the providing of telecommunications equipment or apparatus of a type which can be provided by persons that are not subject to regulation as telephone companies under RCW Title 80 and for which a separate charge is made.

I.    “Cellular telephone service” is a two-way voice and data telephone/telecommunications system based in whole or substantially in part on wireless radio communications and which is not subject to regulation by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC). This includes cellular mobile service. The definition of cellular mobile service includes other wireless radio communications service such as specialized mobile radio (SMR), personal communications services (PCS), and any other evolving wireless radio communications technology which accomplishes a purpose similar to cellular mobile service.

J.    “Business, water distribution” means the business of operating a plant or system for the distribution of water for hire or sale.

K.    “Cash discount” means a deduction from the invoice price of goods or charge for services which is allowed if the bill is paid on or before a specified date.

L.    “Engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in business and also the exercise of corporate or franchise powers as well as liquidating a business when the liquidators thereof hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.

M.    “Income, gross” means the value proceeding or accruing from the performance of the particular public service business involved, including operations incidental thereto, but without any deduction on account of the cost of the commodity furnished or sold, the cost of materials used, labor costs, interest, discount, delivery costs, taxes, or any other expense whatsoever paid or accrued and without any deduction on account of losses.

N.    “Low income citizens” for purposes of this chapter shall be established using the annual income level as established by the very low income category limit published by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for its programs for the Seattle, Bellevue, Everett-PMSA/MSA as it now exists or may hereafter be amended.

O.    “Person” or “company” used interchangeably in this chapter, means any individual, receiver, administrator, executor, assignee, trustee in bankruptcy, trust, estate, firm, copartnership, joint venture, club, company, joint stock company, business trust, municipal corporation, political subdivision of the state, corporation, association, society, or any group of individuals acting as a unit, whether mutual, cooperative, fraternal, nonprofit, or otherwise, and the United States or any instrumentality thereof.

P.    “Successor” means any person who, through direct or mesne conveyance, purchases or succeeds to the business, or portion thereof, or the whole or any part of the stock of goods, wares, merchandise, or fixtures or any interest therein of a taxpayer quitting, selling out, exchanging, or otherwise disposing of his business. Any person obligated to fulfill the terms of a contract is a successor to any contractor defaulting in the performance of any contract as to which such person is a surety or guarantor.

Q.    “Treasurer” or “city treasurer” means the city treasurer of the city or his delegate.

R.    “Value proceeding or accruing” means the consideration, whether money, credits, rights, or other property expressed in terms of money, actually received or accrued. The term shall be applied, in each case, on a cash receipts or accrual basis according to which method of accounting is regularly employed in keeping the books of the taxpayer.

S.    “Year, quarter” or “quarterly” means one-fourth of a full year.

T.    “Year, tax” or “taxable year” means either the calendar year, or the taxpayer’s fiscal year when permission is obtained from the city treasurer to use a fiscal year in lieu of the calendar year.

U.    “Business, storm and surface water management” means the business of operating a plant, facility or system used to collect, store, control, treat and/or convey surface and storm water. (Ord. 2020 § 1, 2009; Ord. 1886 § 1, 2002; Ord. 1579 § 1, 1995; Ord. 1489 § 1, 1992; Ord. 1027 § 1, 1981; Ord. 814 § 1, 1976).

5.08.020 Imposed.

There is levied and there shall be collected from every person a tax for the act or privilege of engaging within the city in any one or more of the businesses mentioned in this section. The tax shall be based upon the income of the business, multiplied by the rate set out after the business, as follows:

A.    Telegraph Business. A tax equal to six percent of gross income;

B.    Telephone Business. A tax equal to a percentage of the gross subscriber’s exchange monthly service charges billed to business and residence customers located within the corporate limits of the city, together with a percent of gross income derived from intrastate toll service provided to business and residential customers located within the corporate limits of the city as follows:

Date

Rate

January 1, 1985

7.2%

January 1, 1986

7.0%

January 1, 1987

6.8%

January 1, 1988

6.6%

March 1, 1988

6.0%

C.    Gas Distribution Business. Tax equal to a percentage of gross income; provided, however, such business shall receive a credit against a tax that would otherwise be due for the amount of any franchise fees paid to the city as follows:

Date

Rate

January 1, 1985

7.2%

January 1, 1986

7.0%

January 1, 1987

6.8%

January 1, 1988

6.6%

March 1, 1988

6.0%

D.    Light and Power Business. A tax equal to a percent of gross income as follows:

Date

Rate

January 1, 1985

7.2%

January 1, 1986

7.0%

January 1, 1987

6.8%

January 1, 1988

6.6%

March 1, 1988

6.0%

E.    Refuse Collection and Disposal Business. A tax equal to five percent of gross income effective January 1, 1991;

F.    Water Distribution Business. A tax equal to 11.15 percent of gross income effective January 9, 2017;

G.    Sewage Collection and Disposal Business. A tax equal to six percent of gross income effective January 9, 2017;

H.    Cable Television Business. A tax equal to eight percent of gross income; provided, however, that the rate shall decrease to six percent of gross income effective March 1, 1988;

I.    Storm and Surface Water Management Business. A tax equal to six percent of gross income effective January 9, 2017. (Ord. 2213 § 1, 2016; Ord. 2083 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1970 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1908 § 1, 2003; Ord. 1886 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1398 § 1, 1990; Ord. 1289 § 1, 1987; Ord. 1146 § 2, 1984).

5.08.025 Credit against tax imposed.

Those businesses set forth in BMC 5.08.020, upon whom there is levied a utilities business tax pursuant to said section, shall receive a credit against the tax that would otherwise be due for the amount of any franchise fees paid by such businesses to the city. If this credit is allowed by any other provision of the Bothell Municipal Code this section shall not be construed to permit a double credit for the same franchise fee paid. (Ord. 932 § 1, 1979).

5.08.030 Two or more taxable businesses.

Every person engaging in businesses which are within the purview of two or more subsections of BMC 5.08.020 shall be taxable under each schedule applicable to the businesses engaged in. (Ord. 814 § 3, 1976).

5.08.040 Exemptions – Interstate and foreign commerce – Constitutionally imposed.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to income derived from transactions in interstate or foreign commerce or from any business which the city is prohibited from taxing under the Constitutions of the United States or the state. (Ord. 814 § 4.1, 1976).

5.08.050 Exemptions – Minimum gross income.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons engaging in one or more businesses taxable under this chapter whose total gross income is less than $125.00 per month. Any person claiming exemption under this section may be required to file returns even though no tax may be due: If the total gross income for a taxable monthly period is $125.00 or more, no exemption or deductions from the gross operating revenue is allowed by this provision. (Ord. 1108 § 1, 1983; Ord. 814 § 4.2, 1976).

5.08.060 Exemptions – Amounts paid for capital facilities.

The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to amounts or value paid or contributed to any county, city, town, political subdivision, or municipal or quasi-municipal corporation of the state representing payments of special assessments or installments thereof and interests and penalties thereon, charges in lieu of assessments, or any other charges, payments or contributions representing a share of the cost of capital facilities constructed or to be constructed or for the retirement of obligations and payment of interest thereon issued for capital purposes.

Service charges shall not be included in this exemption even though used wholly or in part for capital purposes. (Ord. 814 § 5, 1976).

5.08.070 Computation – Deductions.

In computing tax there may be deducted from the gross income the following items:

A.    Amounts derived by municipally-owned or operated public service businesses, directly from taxes levied for the support or maintenance thereof; provided, that this section shall not be construed to exempt service charges which are spread on the property tax rolls and collected as taxes;

B.    Amounts derived from the sale of commodities to persons in the same public service business as the seller for resale as such within the city. This deduction is allowed only with respect to water distribution, light and power, gas distribution or other public service businesses which furnish water, electrical energy, gas or any other commodity in the performance of public service businesses;

C.    Amounts actually paid by a taxpayer to another person taxable under this chapter as the latter’s portion of the consideration due for services furnished jointly by both, if the total amount has been credited to and appears in the gross income reported for tax by the former;

D.    The amount of cash discount actually taken by the purchaser or customer;

E.    The amount of credit losses actually sustained by taxpayers whose regular books of account are kept upon an accrual basis;

F.    That portion of the gross income derived from charges to another telecommunications company, as defined in RCW 80.04.010, for connecting fees, switching charges, or carrier access charges relating to intrastate toll telephone services, or for access to, or charges for, interstate services;

G.    Charges by a taxpayer engaging in a telephone business to a telecommunications company, as defined in RCW 80.04.010, for telephone service that the purchaser buys for the purpose of resale;

H.    Adjustments made to a billing or to a customer account or to a telecommunications company accrual account in order to reverse a billing or charge that had been made as a result of third-party fraud or other crime and was not properly a debt of a customer. (Ord. 1579 § 2, 1995; Ord. 814 § 6, 1976).

5.08.080 Nonexclusive application of provisions.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to exempt persons taxable under the provisions of this chapter from tax under any other ordinances with respect to activities other than those specifically within the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 814 § 7, 1976).

5.08.085 Allocation of income – Cellular telephone service.

A.    Service Address. Payments by a customer for the telephone service from telephones without a fixed location shall be allocated among taxing jurisdictions to the location of the customer’s principal service address during the period for which the tax applies.

B.    Presumption. There is a presumption that the service address a customer supplies to the taxpayer (cellular company) is current and accurate, unless the taxpayer has actual knowledge to the contrary.

C.    Roaming Phones. When the service is provided while a subscriber is roaming outside the subscriber’s normal cellular network area, the gross income shall be assigned consistent with the taxpayer’s accounting system to the location of the originating cell site of the call, or to the location of the main cellular switching office that switched the call.

D.    Dispute Resolution. If there is a dispute between or among the city and another city or cities as to the service address of a customer who is receiving cellular telephone services and the dispute is not resolved by negotiation among the parties, then the dispute shall be resolved by the city and the other city or cities by submitting the issue for settlement to the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). Once taxes on the disputed revenues have been paid to one of the contesting cities, the cellular telephone service company shall have no further liability with respect to additional taxes, penalties, or interest on the disputed revenues so long as it promptly changes its billing records for future revenues to comport with the settlement facilitated by AWC. (Ord. 1579 § 3, 1995).

5.08.090 Returns, remittances – Report procedures, forms.

A.    The license fees (taxes) imposed under this chapter shall be due and payable in monthly installments and remittances therefor shall be made on or before the fifteenth day of the month next succeeding the end of the month in which the tax accrued. The taxpayer on or before the fifteenth day of such month shall make out a license application and return, upon such forms and setting forth such information as the city treasurer may require, showing the amount of the tax for which he is liable for the preceding month, sign and transmit the same to the city treasurer, together with a remittance for such amount in the form required in BMC 5.08.130; provided, that any such taxpayer may elect to remit each month on such forms as the city treasurer prescribes an estimate of one-twelfth of the tax to be due for the full license year on or before the fifteenth day of the month next succeeding the end of the month in which the tax accrued, and shall file an annual return to the city treasurer on or before the fifteenth day of the month next succeeding the end of the year and shall remit therewith the balance of the actual tax due for the full year, or in the event of overpayment, apply for a refund; provided, further, that every person who elects to remit a monthly estimate of the tax to be due as described in this section shall remit each month at least one-twelfth of the amount of tax paid during the previous full year.

B.    The city treasurer may also relieve any taxpayer or class of taxpayers from the obligation of filing monthly returns and may require the return to cover other reporting periods, but in no event shall returns be filed for a period greater than one year.

C.    The city treasurer may also require verified annual returns from any taxpayer, setting forth such additional information as it may deem necessary to correctly determine tax liability. (Ord. 1108 § 2, 1983; Ord. 814 § 8, 1976).

5.08.100 Payment, deficient or delinquent – Penalties.

If, upon examination of any returns or from other information obtained by the city treasurer, it appears that a tax or penalty has been paid less than that properly due, the treasurer shall assess against the taxpayer such additional amount found to be due and shall add thereto interest at the rate of six percent per year from the last day of the period in which the deficiency is incurred until date of payment. The treasurer shall notify the taxpayer by mail of the additional amount, and the same shall become due and shall be paid within 10 days from the date of the notice. If payment is not received by the treasurer by the due date specified in the notice, the treasurer shall add a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the additional tax found due.

No assessment or correction of an assessment for additional taxes due may be made by the treasurer more than four years after the close of the tax year, except upon a showing of fraud or of misrepresentation of a material fact by the taxpayer, or where a taxpayer has executed a written waiver of such limitation. (Ord. 814 § 9, 1976).

5.08.110 Overpayment.

If, upon application by a taxpayer for a refund or for an audit of his records, or upon an examination of the returns or records of any taxpayer, it is determined by the treasurer that within the two years immediately preceding the receipt by the city of the application by the taxpayer for a refund or for an audit, or, in the absence of such an application, within the two years immediately preceding the commencement by the city treasurer of such examination, a tax has been paid in excess of that properly due, the excess amount paid within such period of two years shall be credited to the taxpayer’s account or shall be refunded to the taxpayer, at his option. No refund or credit shall be allowed with respect to any payments made to the city more than two years before the date of such application or examination. Where a refund or credit may not be made because of the lapse of the two-year period, the amount of the refund or credit which would otherwise be allowed for the portion of the statutory assessment period preceding the two-year period may be offset against the amount of any tax deficiency which may be determined by the city treasurer for such statutory assessment period. Any such refunds shall be made by means of warrants drawn upon and payable from the current fund.

Any judgment for which a recovery is granted by any court of competent jurisdiction, not appealed from, for tax, penalties, and interest which were paid by the taxpayer, and costs, in a suit by any taxpayer shall be paid in like manner upon the filing with the city of a certified copy of the order or judgment of the court. (Ord. 814 § 10, 1976).

5.08.120 Records.

Every person liable for any fee or tax imposed by this chapter shall keep and preserve, for a period of five years, suitable records as may be necessary to determine the amount of any tax for which he may be liable, which records shall include copies of all federal income tax and state tax returns and reports made by him. All his books, records, and invoices shall be open for examination at any time by the city treasurer. (Ord. 814 § 11, 1976).

5.08.130 Payment – Acceptable form.

Payment of the tax may be made by uncertified check, but if a check so received is not paid by the bank on which it is drawn, the taxpayer by whom such check is tendered shall remain liable for payment of the tax and for all legal penalties, the same as if such check had not been tendered. (Ord. 814 § 12, 1976).

5.08.140 Payment – Filing procedure.

A return or remittance which is transmitted to the city by United States mail is deemed filed or received on the date shown by the post office cancellation mark stamped upon the envelope containing it.

The city treasurer, for good cause shown, may extend the time for making and filing any return, and may grant such reasonable additional time within which to make and file returns as he may deem proper, but any permanent extension granting the taxpayer a reporting date without penalty more than 10 days beyond the due date, and any extension in excess of 30 days, shall be conditional on payment of an amount to be determined by the treasurer, which shall be approximately equal to the estimated tax liability for the reporting period or periods for which the extension is granted.

The treasurer may refuse to accept any return which is not accompanied by a remittance of the tax shown to be due thereon. When such return is not accepted, the taxpayer is deemed to have failed or refused to file a return and shall be subject to the procedures provided in BMC 5.08.160. (Ord. 814 § 12, 1976).

5.08.150 Payment – Delinquency – Penalties.

If payment of any tax due is not received by the city by the last day of the month in which such tax is due, there shall be assessed a penalty of five percent of the amount of the tax. If such tax is not received by the fifteenth day of the month next succeeding the month in which such tax is due, and is therefore one month delinquent, there shall be assessed a total penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the tax. If such tax is not received by the fifteenth day of the second month next succeeding the month in which such tax is due, and is therefore two months delinquent, there shall be assessed a total penalty of 20 percent of the amount of the tax. No penalty so added shall be less than $2.00. (Ord. 1108 § 3, 1983; Ord. 814 § 13, 1976).

5.08.160 Failure to provide return – City action.

A.    If any person fails or refuses to make any return or to make available for examination the records required by this chapter, the city treasurer shall proceed in such manner as he may deem best to obtain facts and information on which to base his estimate of the tax. To this end the city treasurer may examine the books, records, and papers of any such person and may take statements of any person relating to the subject of inquiry.

B.    As soon as the treasurer procures such facts and information as he is able to obtain upon which to base the assessment of any tax payable by any person who has failed or refused to make a return, he shall proceed to determine and assess against such person the tax and penalties due, but such action shall not deprive such person of the right to appeal to the superior court as provided in BMC 5.08.230. To the assessment the treasurer shall add the penalties provided in BMC 5.08.150. The treasurer shall notify the taxpayer by mail of the total amount of such tax, penalties, and interest, and the total amount shall become due and shall be paid within 10 days from the date of such notice.

C.    No assessment or correction of an assessment may be made by the treasurer more than four years after the close of the tax year, except upon a showing of fraud or of misrepresentation of a material fact by the taxpayer, or where a taxpayer has executed a written waiver of such limitation. (Ord. 814 § 14, 1976).

5.08.170 Notice and orders – Service to taxpayer.

Any notice or order required by this chapter to be mailed to any taxpayer shall be sent by mail, addressed to the address of the taxpayer as shown by the records of the city, or if no such address is shown, to such address as the treasurer is able to ascertain by reasonable effort. Failure of the taxpayer to receive such notice or order mailed shall not release the taxpayer from any tax or any increases or penalties thereon. (Ord. 814 § 15, 1976).

5.08.180 Audit – Taxpayer assumes cost.

Upon the failure or refusal of the taxpayer to furnish the information called for by the city treasurer, or if the books and records of the taxpayer are complicated or do not readily disclose the information required for making a complete or satisfactory return without the assistance of a skilled accountant, the city treasurer may in his discretion employ a skilled accountant and such clerical assistance as is necessary to make an audit of the books and records of the taxpayer. Such expenses shall be collected from the taxpayer in the manner provided for the collection of the license or tax. (Ord. 814 § 16, 1976).

5.08.190 Transfer of business – Successor liability.

Whenever any taxpayer quits business, or sells out, exchanges, or otherwise disposes of his business or his stock of goods, any tax payable under this chapter shall become immediately due and payable, and such taxpayer shall, within 10 days thereafter, make a return and pay the tax due. Any person who becomes a successor to such business shall become liable for the full amount of the tax due, and if such tax is not paid by the taxpayer within 10 days from the date of such sale, exchange, or disposal, the purchaser or successor shall become liable for the payment of the full amount of the tax. (Ord. 814 § 17, 1976).

5.08.200 Additional assessment – Taxpayer’s right to petition.

Any person having been issued a notice of additional taxes, delinquent taxes, interest, or penalties assessed by the city may within 20 days after the issuance of the original notice of the amount thereof or within the period covered by any extension of the due date thereof granted by the treasurer petition the treasurer in writing for a correction of the amount of the assessment, and a conference for examination and review of the assessment. The petition shall set forth the reasons why the correction should be granted and the amount of the tax, interest, or penalties, which the petitioner believes to be due. The treasurer shall promptly consider the petition and may grant or deny it. If denied, the petitioner shall be notified by mail thereof forthwith. If a conference is granted, the treasurer shall fix the time and place thereof and notify the petitioner thereof by mail. After the conference, the treasurer may make such determination as may appear to him to be just and lawful and shall mail a copy of his determination to the petitioner. If no such petition is filed within the 20-day period, the assessment covered by the notice shall become final. (Ord. 814 § 18, 1976).

5.08.210 Refund – Petition subsequent to payment.

Any person having paid any tax, original assessment, additional assessment, or corrected assessment of any tax may apply to the treasurer within the time limitation for refund provided in this chapter by petition in writing for a correction of the amount paid and a conference for examination and review of the tax liability, in which petition he shall set forth the reasons why the conference should be granted, and the amount in which the tax, interest, or penalty should be refunded. The treasurer shall promptly consider the petition, and may grant or deny it. If denied, the petitioner shall be notified by mail thereof forthwith. If a conference is granted, the treasurer shall notify the petitioner by mail of the time and place fixed therefor. After the hearing, the treasurer may make such determination as may appear to him just and lawful, and shall mail a copy of his determination to the petitioner. (Ord. 814 § 19, 1976).

5.08.220 Appeal – To city council.

The decision of the treasurer under BMC 5.08.200 and 5.08.210 shall be final unless the petitioner files written notice of appeal to the city council with the city clerk within 10 days of the treasurer’s action. Upon receiving notice of appeal, the council at its next regular meeting shall consider the same. No public hearing by the council on such appeal shall be held unless ordered by the council. The council at such public meeting shall vote to affirm, modify, or reverse the decision of the treasurer. (Ord. 814 § 20.1, 1976).

5.08.230 Appeal – To court.

The action of the city council acting on appeal to the city council from a decision of the treasurer under the provisions of this chapter shall be final and conclusive, unless within 10 days of the effective date of the city council’s action the original petitioner commences an action in the superior court for King County for a trial de novo on the matter at issue. (Ord. 814 § 20.2, 1976).

5.08.240 Investigation – Hearing.

A.    The city treasurer or his duly authorized agent may examine any books, papers, records, or other data bearing upon the amount of any tax payable or upon the correctness of any return, or for the purpose of making a return where none has been made, or in order to ascertain whether a return should be made. The city manager may require the attendance of any person at a time and place fixed in a notice served by any person in the same manner as a subpoena is served in a civil case.

B.    The persons summoned may be required to testify and produce any books, papers, records, or data required by the treasurer with respect to any tax or the liability of any person therefor.

C.    The treasurer or the city clerk shall have power to administer an oath to the person required to testify. (Ord. 814 § 21, 1976).

5.08.250 Rate change.

The rate of tax shall take effect upon the effective date of the ordinance changing the rate of tax, except as provided in RCW 35.21.865. The city treasurer shall send to each utility service company, at the address on its license, a copy of any ordinance changing the rate of tax upon such utility service promptly upon its enactment. (Ord. 2214 § 1, 2016; Ord. 1579 § 4, 1995; Ord. 814 § 23, 1976).

5.08.260 Violation – Regarding licenses and returns.

It is unlawful for any person liable to tax under this chapter to fail or refuse to make a return, or to pay the tax or installment thereof when due, or for any person to make any false or fraudulent return or petition, or any false statement or representation in, or in connection with, any such return or petition, or to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade payment of the tax, or any part thereof, or for any person to fail to appear and/or testify in response to subpoena issued pursuant to this chapter, or to testify falsely upon an investigation of the correctness of a return, or upon the hearing of an appeal, or in any manner to hinder or delay the city or any of its officers or auditors in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 814 § 22, 1976).

5.08.270 Low income citizens – Relief from utility taxes paid for electricity, natural gas, and telephone services.

A.    Low income citizens, as defined in BMC 5.08.010(N), who resided within the city limits between July 1st of the prior year and June 30th of the current year and who received or receive electric, natural gas, or telephone services during said time period, which were subject to the city utility tax, shall be eligible to receive a refund of said taxes of up to $100.00. Said sum shall be prorated based upon the length of residency in the city during the identified time period and the utility connections.

B.    To qualify for the refund set forth in subsection A of this section, a person must provide the following on or before December 31st of the current year:

1.    Proof that such person meets the criteria specified in BMC 5.08.010(N) defining “low income citizens”; and

2.    Proof of residency within the city during the identified time period in subsection A of this section; and

3.    Proof of city utility tax paid for electricity and/or natural gas and/or telephone services.

C.    Refunds will be based upon the amount of city utility tax paid during the identified time period as follows:

1.    City utility taxes paid between $50.00 and $74.00 per year: $50.00 tax rebate;

2.    City utility taxes paid between $75.00 and $99.00 per year: $75.00 tax rebate;

3.    City utility taxes paid from $100.00 and up per year: $100.00 tax rebate.

D.    The rebate amount and eligibility criteria provided in this code may be amended from time to time at the discretion of the city council. (Ord. 2020 § 2, 2009; Ord. 1561 § 1, 1994; Ord. 1512 § 3, 1993).