Washington Tax Decision (WTD) Publication Comment Pilot Program

When a taxpayer seeks review of a tax assessment or tax refund denial, the Department issues a determination on that review to that specific taxpayer. The Department publishes some of these determinations as Washington Tax Decisions (WTD) under RCW 82.32.410. Determinations can be recommended for publication by anyone, both in and outside of the Department. Once recommended, the proposed WTD goes through an internal Department review process. It is also sanitized to remove any language that could identify who the taxpayer is in the WTD.

The Department is starting this pilot program to allow stakeholders to comment on proposed WTDs before they are published. The proposed WTDs provided below have already been sanitized. After receiving feedback from you, the Department will decide whether to publish the proposed WTD or make edits to it before publishing. To receive notification on WTD Publication Comment activity, sign up for email or text notifications.

Please note this is a pilot program, and the Department may decide to end it if we are not receiving comments or if the comments provided do not help improve the quality of the WTDs published. 

Examples of edits/comments we are looking for:

We welcome comments and proposed edits you believe will make the proposed WTD a better final product. Here are examples of comments or proposed edits that are helpful:

  • Information you believe would still identify the taxpayer and needs further sanitization.
  • Edits you believe improve the legal accuracy of the proposed WTD. We cannot make substantial edits so please limit your edits to what is essential to make the proposed WTD clearer.
  • Removing discussion you think is irrelevant or distracts from the analysis that has more publication value.
  • If you believe the proposed WTD reaches the incorrect result, please explain why and provide legal authority for your recommendation.
  • Proposing a footnote to clarify a point that could be confusing to taxpayers who will rely on the WTD.

Comments and edits we ask that you not provide:

  • Edits that effectively change the outcome of the proposed WTD.
  • Edits that alter key holdings in the proposed WTD. If you want to propose edits that alter a holding in the proposed WTD, consider objecting to publication of the proposed WTD and explaining why this is necessary.
  • If you are aware of the taxpayer to whom the proposed WTD was issued, please provide comments that avoid revealing who that taxpayer is as these comments are disclosable for public records purposes. 
  • Please avoid substantial edits to the proposed WTD. If you feel those edits are necessary, explain why.

Proposed WTDs for December 2023

Draft Det. No. 21-0190
Brief Description

The owner of an apartment building protests the Department of Revenue’s (Department) assessment of REET, arguing that the transfer of the real property was exempt from REET as a mere change in form or identity. Alternatively, Taxpayer argues that the transfer is exempt as a distribution to a partner . . . . We deny the petition.

Draft WTD
Draft Det. No. 21-0196
Brief Description

Sellers of digital signature and document workflow services (“Taxpayers”) protest the reclassification of receipts for telephone support and training and seminars from the wholesaling B&O tax classification to the retailing B&O tax classification, and the assessment of retail sales tax, on grounds that these receipts are for services not subject to retailing B&O tax and retail sales tax. Taxpayers also assert that the Department incorrectly assessed retail sales tax on sales to customers exempt from retail sales tax, and that the measure of taxes erroneously includes receipts for out-of-state seminar sponsorship. Taxpayers’ petition is denied in part and granted in part. We deny the petition with respect to Taxpayers’ claim that receipts for telephone support and training and seminars are not subject to retailing B&O tax and retail sales tax. We grant the petition to the extent Taxpayers have provided records showing that retail sales tax was assessed on sales to customers exempt from retail sales tax and taxes were assessed on receipts from seminar sponsorship not subject to Washington taxes. We remand this matter to the Audit Division for adjustment.

Draft WTD
Draft Det. No. 21-0152
Brief Description

A manufacturer of consumer goods protests the conclusion that activities at a Washington facility were not part of a qualified “manufacturing operation” under WAC 458‐20‐13601(2)(i)(ii), and the equipment used at the facility was therefore ineligible for exemption from retail sales and use tax for qualifying machinery and equipment (M&E) provided in RCW 82.08.02565 and 82.12.02565. Taxpayer’s petition is denied.

Draft WTD

Public comment period

The Department requests comments and stakeholder feedback related to these proposed WTDs no later than January 18, 2024. After a review of the feedback, if any, the Department will consider the appropriate next steps in the process. 

How to make a public comment

If you wish to make a public comment or have questions, please contact the Administrative Review and Hearings Division at DORARHDWTD@dor.wa.gov.