Chapter 5.84
UTILITIES TAX

Sections:

5.84.010    Definitions.

5.84.020    Tax levied – Amount – Occupations taxed.

5.84.030    Tax returns – Methods of payment.

5.84.040    Deductions.

5.84.050    Occupation license required.

5.84.060    Method of payment – Taxpayer’s records.

5.84.070    Responsibility for payment upon sale or transfer of business.

5.84.080    Application and returns confidential.

5.84.090    Overpayment and underpayment.

5.84.100    Failure or neglect to pay tax.

5.84.110    Violations of chapter.

5.84.120    Fee and tax additional.

5.84.130    Collection of unpaid fees and taxes – Court action.

5.84.140    City not exempt from tax.

5.84.150    Penalty for violations.

5.84.160    Severability.

5.84.170    Appeals.

5.84.180    Commencing payment.

5.84.190    Rules and regulations.

5.84.010 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, save when otherwise plainly declared or clearly apparent from the context, the following definitions shall be applied:

“Gross income” means the value proceeding or accruing from the sale of tangible property or service, and receipts, (including all sums earned or charged whether received or not) by reason of the investment of capital in the business engaged in, including rentals, royalties, fees or other emoluments, however designated, derived from business activities conducted within the corporate limits of the city of Wenatchee (excluding receipts or proceeds from the use or sale of real property or any interest therein and proceeds from the sale of notes, bonds, mortgages, or other evidence of indebtedness or stocks and the like) and without any deduction on account of the cost of the property sold, the cost of materials used, labor costs, interest, or any expenses whatsoever; provided, however, that only the gross income attributable to those taxable services or commodities as are specifically set forth in WCC 5.84.020(1) and (2) shall be subject to the tax provided herein and any taxpayer deriving income from the sale of any other tangible property or services and receipts not so specifically set forth herein in WCC 5.84.020 may exclude said income from gross income as herein defined.

“Person” or “persons” means persons of either sex, firms, copartnerships, corporations, public utility districts, municipal corporations or departments thereof, public or private utilities, water companies or districts, and other associations, whether acting by themselves or by servants, agents or employees.

“Taxpayers” means any person liable to the license fee or tax imposed by this chapter.

“Tax year” or “taxable year” means the year commencing January 1st and ending on the last day of December of said year, or, in lieu thereof, the taxpayer’s fiscal year when permission is obtained from the city clerk to use the same as the tax period. (Ord. 1736, 1962; Ord. 1729 § 2, 1962)

5.84.020 Tax levied – Amount – Occupations taxed.

On and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section, there is levied upon and shall be collected from and paid as hereinafter provided by every person on account of and for the privilege of engaging in business activities an occupation tax, sometimes herein referred as “tax,” against gross income of businesses as defined herein for the three calendar months next preceding the beginning of each quarterly period. Said quarterly periods are as follows:

First quarter: January, February, March;

Second quarter: April, May, June;

Third quarter: July, August, September;

Fourth quarter: October, November, December.

(1) The tax provided in this chapter shall be computed at the rate of five percent of the gross income derived from each of the following occupations or business activities conducted within the corporate limits of the city of Wenatchee.

Those persons subject to the payment of the tax in this chapter at said rate are as follows:

(a) All persons engaged in or carrying on a business operating a “cable communication system” as defined in WCC 5.04.040(5), or in the business of providing “cable television services” as defined in WCC 5.04.040(6), and any entity to which a franchise has been granted pursuant to Chapter 5.04 WCC.

(2) The tax provided in this chapter shall be computed at the rate of six percent of the gross income derived from each of the following occupations or business activities conducted within the corporate limits of the city of Wenatchee.

Those persons subject to the payment of the tax in this chapter at said rate are as follows:

(a) All persons engaged in or carrying on the business of selling or furnishing electric light and power;

(b) All persons engaged in or carrying on the business of selling or furnishing natural gas;

(c) All persons engaged in or carrying on telegraph and/or telephone business including, but not limited to, providing access to a local telephone network; local telephone switching service; toll service; cellular telephone service; coin telephone service; telephonic, video, data, or similar communication; or transmission for hire, by a local telephone network, toll line or channel, cable, microwave, or similar communications or transmission system.

(3) The tax herein provided shall be computed at the rate of 16 percent of the gross income derived from each of the following occupations or business activities and reviewed annually as set forth in this subsection:

(a) All persons engaged in the business of selling or supplying domestic water or collecting and disposing of garbage within the corporate limits of the city of Wenatchee.

(b) All persons engaged in or carrying on the business of supplying sewer service to the city of Wenatchee customers or supplying storm drain service, including the sanitary sewer service department and the storm drain department of the city of Wenatchee.

(c) The city council shall review the rate of tax on water, garbage, sewer, and storm drain utilities on or before August 1st of each year.

(4) With reference to the tax imposed upon a telephone business provided in WCC 5.84.020 (2)(c), the “total gross operating revenues” of a telephone business shall include, but not be limited to, revenues from intrastate toll. “Gross operating revenues,” for this purpose, shall not include charges which are passed on to the subscribers by a telephone company pursuant to tariffs required by regulatory order to compensate for the cost to the company of the tax imposed by this chapter.

(a) “Telephone business” means the business of providing access to a local telephone network; local telephone network switching service; toll service; or coin telephone services; or providing telephonic, video, data, or similar communication or transmission for hire, via a local telephone network, toll line or channel, or similar communication or transmission system. It includes cooperative or farmer line telephone companies or associations operating an exchange. “Telephone business” does not include the providing of competitive telephone service, nor the providing of cable television service.

(b) “Competitive telephone service” means the providing by any person of telephone equipment, apparatus, or service, other than toll service, which is 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.

(5) Any person engaged in or carrying on more than one such business occupation, pursuit or privilege shall pay the license tax so imposed for each of the same.

(6) Any taxpayer who engages in or carries on any business subject to the tax hereunder and fails or refuses to pay the tax or any part thereof on or before the due date shall be operating in violation of this chapter. (Ord. 2011-58 § 1; Ord. 2003-25 § 1; Ord. 99-8 § 1; Ord. 2909 § 1, 1991; Ord. 2858 § 1, 1990; Ord. 2799 § 1, 1989; Ord. 2680 § 2, 1987; Ord. 2560 § 1, 1984; Ord. 2525 § 1, 1984; Ord. 2491 § 1, 1982; Ord. 2467 §§ 1, 2, 1981; Ord. 2464 § 1, 1981; Ord. 1814, 1964; Ord. 1729 § 3, 1962)

5.84.030 Tax returns – Methods of payment.

The license fee or tax imposed by this chapter, except the annual license fee required to accompany the application for the license, shall be due and payable in monthly installments and remittance shall be made on or before the thirtieth day of the following month. The remittance shall be made as hereinafter provided and shall be accompanied by a return on a form to be provided and prescribed by the finance department. To the return the taxpayer shall be required to swear or affirm that the information therein given is full and true and that the taxpayer knows the same to be so. Whenever the total tax for which any person is liable under this chapter does not exceed the sum of $50.00 for any month, a quarterly return may be made upon written request and subject to the approval of the finance department.

Whenever a taxpayer commences to engage in business during any month, his first return and license fee or tax shall be based upon and cover the portion of the month during which he engaged in business. (Ord. 3174 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1729 § 5, 1962)

5.84.040 Deductions.

There shall be excepted and deducted from the total gross income upon which the license fee or tax is computed so much thereof as is derived from transactions in interstate or foreign commerce, or from business done for the government of the United States, its officers or agents, and any amount paid by the taxpayer to the United States, the state of Washington, as excise taxes levied or imposed upon the sale or distribution of property or service.

There shall be excepted and deducted from the total gross income upon which the license fee or tax is computed all bad debts for services incurred, rendered or charged for during the tax year. Debts shall be deemed bad and uncollectible when the same have been written off the books of the taxpayer. In the event debts are subsequently collected, said income shall be reported in the return for the quarter in which said debts are collected and at the rate prevailing in the tax year when collected.

There shall be excepted and deducted from the total gross income upon which the license fee or tax is computed all cash discounts allowed and actually granted to customers of the taxpayer during the tax year.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring a license, or the payment of a license fee or tax, or the doing of any act, which would constitute an unlawful burden or interference in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States or which would not be consistent with the constitution or laws of the State of Washington. (Ord. 1729 § 6, 1962)

5.84.050 Occupation license required.

On and after October 1, 1962, no person subject to the payment of the tax provided herein shall engage in any business or activity in the city of Wenatchee for which a tax is imposed by this chapter without first having obtained and being the holder of a valid and subsisting license so to do, to be known as an occupation license issued under the provisions of this chapter as hereinafter provided, and without paying the license fee or tax imposed by this chapter. The fee or tax for the occupation license shall be the license fee or tax imposed by this chapter and in addition the sum of $10.00 as a license fee which shall accompany the application for license. Such license shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which it is issued and a new license shall be required for each calendar year. Application for license shall be made to and issued by the city clerk on forms provided by him.

Said license shall be personal and nontransferable. Each license shall be numbered, shall show the name, place and character of business of the taxpayer and such other information as the city clerk shall deem necessary and shall at all times be conspicuously posted in the place of business for which it is issued.

No person to whom a license has been issued pursuant to this chapter shall suffer or allow any other person for whom a separate license is required to operate under or display his license; nor shall such other person operate under or display such license. (Ord. 1729 § 7, 1962)

5.84.060 Method of payment – Taxpayer’s records.

The license fee or tax payable thereunder shall, at the time of the return being required to be filed hereunder, be paid to the city treasurer by bank draft, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check or money order or in cash. If payment is made by draft or check, the tax or fee shall not be deemed paid until the check or draft is honored in the usual course of business; nor shall the acceptance of any sum by the treasurer be an acquittance or discharge of the tax or fee due unless the amount of the payment is in the full and actual amount due.

It shall be the duty of every person liable for the payment of any fee or tax imposed by this chapter to keep and preserve for the period of five years such books and records as will accurately reflect the amount of his gross income as defined herein and from which can be determined the amount of any fee or tax for which he may be liable under the provisions of this chapter and all books as provided herein shall be open for examination at all reasonable times by the city clerk or his duly authorized agent. (Ord. 1729 § 8, 1962)

5.84.070 Responsibility for payment upon sale or transfer of business.

Upon the sale or transfer during a quarterly period of a business or account of which a license fee or tax is hereby required, the purchaser or transferee shall, if the fee or tax has not been paid in full for said quarterly period, be responsible for the payment of the fee or tax for that portion of the quarterly period during which he carries on such business. (Ord. 1729 § 9, 1962)

5.84.080 Application and returns confidential.

The applications and returns made to the city clerk pursuant to this chapter shall not be made public, nor shall they be subject to the inspection of any person except the mayor, city attorney, city clerk, city treasurer or his authorized agent and members of the city commission; and it shall be unlawful for any person to make public or to inform any other person as to the contents or any information contained in or to permit inspection of any application or return except as in this section authorized. (Ord. 1729 § 10, 1962)

5.84.090 Overpayment and underpayment.

If the city clerk upon investigation or upon checking returns finds that the fee or tax paid on any of them is more than the amount required of the taxpayer, he shall refund the amount overpaid by a warrant upon the general fund. If the clerk finds that the fee or tax paid is less than required, he shall mail a statement to the taxpayer showing the balance due, who shall within three days pay the amount shown thereon. (Ord. 1729 § 11, 1962)

5.84.100 Failure or neglect to pay tax.

If any taxpayer fails, neglects or refuses to make his return as and when required herein, the clerk is authorized to determine the amount of tax payable, and by mail to notify such taxpayer of the amount so determined. The amount so fixed shall thereupon become the tax and be immediately due and payable. (Ord. 1729 § 12, 1962)

5.84.110 Violations of chapter.

It shall be unlawful for any person liable to tax hereunder to fail or refuse to secure the license, to make the returns as and when required, or to pay the fee or tax when due, or for any person to make any false or fraudulent application or return or any false statement or return or any false statement or representation in, or in connection with, any such application or return, or to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade payment of the fee or tax, or any part thereof, or for any person to fail to appear and/or testify in response to subpoena issued pursuant hereto, or to testify falsely upon any investigation of the correctness of a return, or upon the hearing of any appeal, or in any manner to hinder or delay the city or any of its officers in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1729 § 13, 1962)

5.84.120 Fee and tax additional.

The license fee and tax herein levied shall be additional to any license or tax imposed or levied under any law or any other ordinance of the city of Wenatchee. (Ord. 1729 § 14, 1962)

5.84.130 Collection of unpaid fees and taxes – Court action.

Any license fee or tax due and unpaid under this chapter, and all penalties thereon, shall constitute a debt to the city of Wenatchee and may be collected by court proceedings in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. (Ord. 1729 § 15, 1962)

5.84.140 City not exempt from tax.

Whenever the city of Wenatchee through any department or division shall engage in any business activity which if engaged in by any person would under this chapter require an occupation license and the payment of a license fee or tax by such person, the city department or division engaging in such business activity shall as to such business activity at the same time and in the same manner as persons are required hereunder, make returns and from the funds of such department or division pay the license fees or taxes imposed hereunder. Each of said departments or divisions of the city of Wenatchee shall transfer or pass on to its consumers the tax herein provided; provided, however, that the city of Wenatchee shall not be required to pay the annual license fee of $10.00. (Ord. 1729 § 16, 1962)

5.84.150 Penalty for violations.

Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or any lawful rule or regulation adopted by the clerk pursuant thereto, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine in any sum not to exceed $100.00, or by imprisonment in the city jail for a term not exceeding 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Any taxpayer who engages in, or carries on, any business subject to a tax hereunder without having his “occupation license” so to do shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter for each day during which the business is so engaged in, or carried on; and any taxpayer who fails or refuses to pay the license fee or tax, or any part thereof, on or before the due date, shall be deemed to be operating without having his license so to do. (Ord. 1729 § 17, 1962)

5.84.160 Severability.

If any provision or section of this chapter shall be held void or unconstitutional, all other parts, provisions, paragraphs and sections of this chapter not expressly so held to be void or unconstitutional shall continue in full force and effect. (Ord. 1729 § 18, 1962)

5.84.170 Appeals.

Any taxpayer aggrieved by the amount of the fee or tax found by the clerk to be required under the provisions of this chapter, may appeal to the city commission from such finding by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within five days from the time such taxpayer was given notice of such amount. The clerk shall, as soon as practicable, fix a time and place for the hearing of such appeal, which time shall be not more than 10 days after the filing of the notice of appeal, and he shall cause a notice of the time and place thereof to be mailed to the appellant. At such hearing the taxpayer shall be entitled to be heard and to introduce evidence in his own behalf. The city commission shall thereupon ascertain the correct amount of the fee or tax by resolution and the city clerk shall immediately notify the appellant thereof by mail, which amount, together with costs of the appeal, if appellant is unsuccessful therein, must be paid within three days after such notice is given.

The mayor may, by subpoena, require the attendance thereat of any person, and may also require him to produce any pertinent books and records. Any person served with such subpoena shall appear at the time and place therein stated and produce the books and records required, if any, and shall testify truthfully under oath administered by the chairman in charge of the matter required of him pertinent to the appeal, and it shall be unlawful for him to fail or refuse so to do. (Ord. 1729 § 19, 1962)

5.84.180 Commencing payment.

Any business affected by this chapter shall commence payment of the tax imposed hereby on the first day of the month following the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, February 1, 1982. (Ord. 2467 § 3, 1981; Ord. 1729 § 20, 1962)

5.84.190 Rules and regulations.

The Wenatchee city clerk is authorized to adopt, publish and enforce from time to time such rules and regulations for the proper administration of this chapter as shall be necessary and it shall be a violation of this chapter for any taxpayer to violate or to fail to comply with any such rule or regulation lawfully promulgated hereunder. (Ord. 2467 § 4, 1981; Ord. 1729 § 21, 1962)