Chapter 3.22


3.22.010    Definitions.

3.22.020    Tax levied.

3.22.025    Tax increased.

3.22.030    Repealed.

3.22.040    Use of proceeds.

3.22.050    Collection by telephone company.

3.22.060    Records required.

3.22.070    Administration by county treasurer.

3.22.080    Failure to make timely payment by telephone company.

3.22.090    Taxes, penalties and fees constitute debt to county.

3.22.100    Tax additional to others.

3.22.110    Failure to make timely payment by subscriber.

3.22.120    Interpretation.

3.22.130    Exemptions.

3.22.010 Definitions.

The definitions contained in Chapter 82.14B RCW of the terms “emergency services communication system,” “telephone access lines,” and “telephone company” are adopted by reference for the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. 82-92 § 1).

3.22.020 Tax levied.

In accordance with the provisions of RCW Chapter 82.14B there is levied an excise tax on the use of telephone access lines in the amount of $0.50 per month for each telephone access line. The amount of tax shall be uniform for each telephone access line. (Ord. 82-92 § 2).

3.22.025 Tax increased.

The amount of local excise tax imposed on the use of switched access lines, radio access lines, and interconnected voice over Internet protocol service lines will be increased to the maximum allowed under law, which is $0.70 per month per line, effective January 1, 2011. (Ord. 2010-042).

3.22.030 Duration of tax.

Repealed by Ord. 2002-046. (Ord. 89-2; Ord. 82-92 § 3).

3.22.040 Use of proceeds.

The proceeds of any tax collected under this chapter shall be used only for the emergency services communication system. (Ord. 82-92 § 4).

3.22.050 Collection by telephone company.

A. Collection of this tax shall be made by the telephone company providing the access line. The telephone company shall state the amount of the tax separately on the billing statement which is sent to the user.

B. Remittance of the amount due shall be accompanied by a completed return form prescribed and provided by the county treasurer. The telephone company, through its duly authorized representative, shall be required to swear and/or affirm that the information contained in the return is true, accurate and complete.

C. The due date for remittance of the tax collected shall be on or before the last day of the month following the month in which the liability accrues. The company shall remit to the county the full amount of excise tax collected. Companies collecting the tax shall be reimbursed for the actual costs of administration and collection of the tax.

D. Taxes payable hereunder shall be remitted to the Whatcom County treasurer, on or before the time required, by cash, bank draft, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check, or money order. If payment is made by draft or check, the tax shall not be deemed paid until the draft or check is honored in the usual course of business; nor shall the acceptance of any sum by the county treasurer be an acquittance or discharge of the tax unless the amount paid is the full amount due. (Ord. 2002-046; Ord. 82-92 § 5).

3.22.060 Records required.

Each telephone company collecting the tax imposed by this chapter shall maintain books and/or records respecting that activity which truly, completely and accurately discloses all information necessary to determine the taxpayer’s tax liability hereunder during each base tax period. Such records shall be kept and maintained for a period of not less than three years.

All books, records or other items which may hereafter be required to be kept and maintained under this section shall be subject to, and immediately made available for, inspection and audit at any time, with or without notice, at the place where such records are kept upon demand by the county treasurer or his designee, for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter.

Where a telephone company does not keep such books, records, or other items so that the county treasurer or his authorized designee may examine them conveniently, the telephone company shall either:

A. Produce all of the required books, records or items for such inspection within 10 days following a written request by the treasurer; or

B. Bear the actual cost of inspection by the county treasurer or his designee, at the location at which such books, records, or items are located. Actual cost shall consist of the cost of travel, meals and lodging incurred as a result of said inspection; provided, that a telephone company choosing to bear these costs shall pay in advance to said officer the estimated cost thereof including, but not limited to, round-trip fare by the most rapid means, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. The actual amount due, or to be refunded, for expenses shall be determined within 60 days following such examination. (Ord. 82-92 § 6).

3.22.070 Administration by county treasurer.

The administration and collection of the tax imposed by this chapter, as collected by the telephone companies, shall be by the county treasurer pursuant to the terms of this chapter and such rules, regulations and further enactments as may be adopted by the county council or provided by state law. (Ord. 82-92 § 7).

3.22.080 Failure to make timely payment by telephone company.

If full payment of any tax or fee collected under this chapter is not received by the Whatcom County treasurer on or before the date due, there shall be added to the collected amount due a penalty fee as follows:

A. One to 10 days late: five percent of tax collected;

B. Eleven to 20 days late: 10 percent of tax collected;

C. Twenty-one to 30 days late: 15 percent of tax collected;

D. Thirty-one to 60 days late: 20 percent of tax collected;

but in no event shall the penalty amount be less than $500.00. In addition to this penalty, the county treasurer may charge the telephone company interest of eight percent of all taxes collected for each 30-day period, or portion thereof, that said amounts are past due.

Failure to make payment in full of all tax amounts collected, and penalties, within 60 days following the day the tax amount initially became due shall be deemed a violation of this section and may be collected in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 82-92 § 8).

3.22.090 Taxes, penalties and fees constitute debt to county.

Any tax collected and unpaid under this chapter, and all penalties, shall constitute a debt to Whatcom County and may be collected by court proceedings the same as any other debt in like amount. This provision shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, all other existing remedies. (Ord. 82-92 § 9).

3.22.100 Tax additional to others.

The tax levied herein shall be additional to any license, fee or tax imposed or levied under any law or by any other ordinance of Whatcom County. (Ord. 82-92 § 10).

3.22.110 Failure to make timely payment by subscriber.

By “subscriber” is meant any person, group, corporation or entity who is billed for a telephone access line. Any subscriber who shall refuse or knowingly fail to remit the tax imposed by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 82-92 § 11).

3.22.120 Interpretation.

Implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this chapter shall be in general accordance with Resolution No. 82-32 (“A Resolution in the Matter of Submitting to the Voters a Proposal to Fund an Emergency Telephone System”) and, in particular, Exhibit “A” attached thereto. (Ord. 82-92 § 12).

3.22.130 Exemptions.

The following shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter: The federal government, foreign governments, and enrolled members of Indian tribes residing upon reservations, and the agents and instrumentalities of each. (Ord. 82-92 § 13).