Chapter 3.50
UTILITY TAXES

Sections:

3.50.010    EXERCISE OF REVENUE LICENSE POWER.

3.50.020    BUSINESS LICENSE - REQUIRED.

3.50.030    ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

3.50.040    DEFINITIONS.

3.50.050    PERSONS SUBJECT TO TAX - AMOUNT.

3.50.060    DEDUCTIONS.

3.50.070    TAX - WHEN DUE.

3.50.080    RULES AND REGULATIONS.

3.50.090    SEVERABILITY.

3.50.010 EXERCISE OF REVENUE LICENSE POWER.

The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the City to license and/or tax for revenue. The provisions of this chapter are subject to periodic statutory or administrative rule changes or judicial interpretations of the ordinances or rules. The responsibility rests with the licensee or taxpayer to reconfirm tax computation procedures and remain in compliance with the City Code. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.020 BUSINESS LICENSE - REQUIRED.

It is unlawful for any person to engage in business in the City, as defined in BMC 3.48.030(e), without having first obtained a business license pursuant to Chapter 5.02 BMC. Applications for business licenses shall be filed with the Tax and License Division. (Ord. 5355 §4, 2018: Ord. 5343 §2, 2017: Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.030 ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.

The provisions contained in Chapter 3.86 BMC shall be fully applicable to the provisions of this chapter except as expressly stated to the contrary herein. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.040 DEFINITIONS.

For the purposes of this chapter, the definitions contained in Chapter 3.48 BMC shall apply equally to the provisions of this chapter as applicable unless the term is defined otherwise in this chapter. In addition, the following definitions will apply:

"Cellular telephone service" is a voice or data telephone/communications system based in whole or substantial part on wireless radio communications, whether or not the communications are subject to regulation by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC). This includes cellular mobile service. Cellular mobile service includes other wireless radio communications services such as specialized mobile radio (SMR), personal communications services (PCS), and any other evolving wireless radio communications technology which accomplishes the same purpose as cellular mobile service.

"Competitive telephone service" means the providing by any person of telephone communications equipment or apparatus, or service related to that equipment or apparatus such as a repair and maintenance service, if the equipment or apparatus is of a type which can be provided by persons who are not subject to regulation as telephone companies under RCW Title 80, and for which a separate charge is made.

"Gross income" means the value proceeding or accruing by reason of the business activity engaged in and operations incidental thereto, and includes gross proceeds of sales, compensation for the rendition of services and other emoluments, 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.

"Gross income from timber sales" means "stumpage value of timber" as defined in Chapter 84.33 RCW minus the costs of production including, but not limited to, logging and trucking costs, fees and excise taxes.

"Page service" means service provided by means of an electronic device that has the ability to send or receive voice or digital messages transmitted through the local telephone network, via satellite or any other form of voice or data transmission.

"Reporting period" means a one (1) month period beginning the first day of each calendar month (monthly).

"Solid waste collection service" means receiving solid waste from any facility or location within the City for transfer, processing, treatment, storage, or disposal, including, but not limited to, all collection services, public or private dumps or landfills, transfer stations, and other similar operations.

"Solid waste," for purposes of this chapter, means garbage, trash, rubbish, or other material discarded as worthless or not economically viable for further use, infectious, hazardous, or toxic wastes, and recyclable or reusable materials collected, in whole or part, for recycling or salvage.

"Telephone business" means the providing by any person of access to a local telephone network, local telephone network switching service, toll service, cellular or mobile telephone service, coin telephone service, page 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 communications or transmission system. The term includes cooperative or farmer line telephone companies or associations operating exchanges. The term also includes the provision of transmission to and from the site of an internet provider via a local telephone network, toll line or channel, cable, microwave, or similar communicationsor transmission system. "Telephone business" does not include the providing of competitive telephone service, or providing of cable television service, or other providing of broadcast services by radio or television stations. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.050 PERSONS SUBJECT TO TAX - AMOUNT.

In addition to other taxes or fees that may be imposed or levied by the City, there is hereby levied upon all persons (including the City) engaging in business within the City a fee or tax to be collected as follows:

(a)    Gas. Upon every person engaging in the business of transmitting, distributing or the selling of manufactured or natural gas, a fee or tax equal to six percent (6%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City.

(b)    Water. Upon every person engaging in the business of providing water utility service, a fee or tax equal to fifteen and one-half percent (15.5%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City. The total gross income from the business of providing water utility service includes the "gross income from timber sales" of the utility as that term is defined in this chapter.

(c)    Wastewater. Upon every person engaging in the business of providing wastewater utility service, a fee or tax equal to twenty percent (20%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City.

(d)    Stormwater. Upon every person engaging in the business of providing stormwater utility service, a fee or tax equal to twenty percent (20%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City. All of the fees or taxes collected under this subsection shall be dedicated for street improvements with fifty percent (50%) allocated and transferred to the Transportation Capital Fund and fifty percent (50%) allocated and transferred to the Residential Street and Sidewalk Fund, unless otherwise allocated by the City Council.

(e)    Cable. Upon every person engaging in the business of transmitting television signals by means of a cable distribution system commonly known as television cable service, a fee or tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City.

(f)    Solid Waste. Upon every person engaging in the business of providing solid waste collection service, a fee or tax equal to nine and one-half percent (9.5%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City.

(g)    Electricity. Upon every person engaging in the business of producing, transmitting, distributing or selling electricity, a fee or tax equal to six percent (6%) of the total gross income from such business conducted within the City.

(h)    Telephone. Upon every person engaged in carrying on a telephone business for hire or for sale of a commodity or a service within or partly within the corporate limits of the City, a tax for the privilege of so doing business equal to six percent (6%) of the total gross income rendered within the City.

(1)    Deductions. In computing the telephone tax, there shall be deducted from the gross operating revenues the following items:

(i)    Amounts 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 of Washington.

(ii)    Amounts derived from that portion of network telephone service, as defined in RCW 82.04.065, which represents charges to another communications 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 or charges for network telephone service that is purchased for the purpose of resale.

(iii)    Adjustments made to a billing or to a customer account or to a communications 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.

(iv)    A complete deduction from gross income shall be allowed for credit losses, only to cellular telephone service companies which keep their regular books of account on an accrual basis, for cash discounts and credit losses actually sustained by a taxpayer as a result of telephone service business.

(2)    Allocation of Income - Cellular Telephone Service.

(i)    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.

(ii)    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. (Ord. 5359 §1, 2018: Ord. 5355 §5, 2018: Ord. 5336 §1, 2017: Ord. 5307 §1, 2016: Ord. 5289 §2, 2015: Ord. 5170 §1, 2011: Ord. 5096 §1, 2009: Ord. 5078 §1, 2009: Ord. 5065 §1, 2008: Ord. 4988 §4, 2006; Ord. 4918 §1, 2004; Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4882 §1, 2003; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.060 DEDUCTIONS.

(a)    There may be deducted from the total gross income, upon which the license fee or tax is computed, revenues derived from business which the City is prohibited from taxing under the Constitutions or laws of the State of Washington or the United States or the Charter of the City.

(b)    There may be deducted from the total gross income, upon which the license fee or tax is computed, the amount of State excise taxes, pursuant to Chapter 82.18 RCW, imposed directly upon persons using the service of a solid waste collection business and collected for payment to the State by the solid waste collection business.

(c)    There may be deducted from the total gross income, upon which the license fee or tax is imposed under BMC 3.50.050, revenues derived from providing the service of collecting recyclable materials, as follows:

(1)    Commercial Recycling. Revenues derived from the service of collecting commercial recyclable materials. This exemption is limited to materials actually resold and computed in proportion to weight, as follows:

(i)    Any weight added by processing or treatment after collection is subtracted from the weight as sold to obtain the allowable weight as sold; and

(ii)    Revenues are multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the allowable weight as sold and the denominator of which is the weight as collected.

(2)    This deduction does not apply to any energy recovery or fuel-use process, nor in any case where materials collected have not been sold for commercial reuse within one hundred (100) days from the date of collection. This period may be extended when a taxpayer shows to the Department’s satisfaction that market conditions necessitate a longer period for sale. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003)

3.50.070 TAX - WHEN DUE.

The tax imposed by this chapter shall be due and payable in monthly installments. If full payment of any tax due under this chapter is not received by the Tax and License Division on or before the date due, there shall be added to the amount due a penalty fee pursuant to BMC 3.86.110. (Ord. 5343 §3, 2017: Ord. 4895 §2, 2004)

3.50.080 RULES AND REGULATIONS.

The Director may establish administrative rules and regulations as deemed appropriate, consistent with this chapter for the purpose of enforcing and carrying out its provisions. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003. Formerly 3.50.070)

3.50.090 SEVERABILITY.

If any provision or section of this chapter shall be held void or unconstitutional, all other parts, provisions, and sections of this chapter not expressly so held to be void or unconstitutional shall continue in full force and effect. (Ord. 4895 §2, 2004; Ord. 4844, Added, 01/03/2003. Formerly 3.50.080)