Revenue Director Cindi Holmstrom Departs for Private Sector

OLYMPIA, Oct. 29, 2010 – Revenue Director Cindi Holmstrom announced today that she will be leaving the agency December 1 after serving nearly six years, longer than any director in the past 35 years.

Holmstrom will take a new position with Pierce Consulting Group, an economic consulting and government affairs business based in Olympia.

Prior to joining the Department in early 2005, Holmstrom was executive director of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

Governor Chris Gregoire said Holmstrom’s leadership and innovative approach to tax administration will be missed.

“Cindi took a strong agency and made it even better,” Gregoire said. “She focused on transparency, efficiency and customer service, and as a result Revenue continues to be recognized as a national leader in how to administer tax systems effectively.”

Over the past year, Holmstrom served as president of the Federation of Tax Administrators, a Washington-D.C. association of state tax agencies, and serves on the group’s executive committee.

Gregoire said she will appoint Tremaine Smith, deputy director at the Department, to serve as interim director. Smith has served with the agency for 32 years.
Holmstrom said she has been proud to lead an agency known for working with businesses to resolve tax issues, streamlining processes, encouraging economic development, and reducing the compliance burden on taxpayers wherever possible. She noted that the agency has won more national tax administration awards than any other state revenue agency.

“I’m very thankful to have had support from the Governor and my staff to make reporting simpler and easier for taxpayers, update our tax laws for the digital age, and increase voluntary compliance,” Holmstrom said.

She outlined several accomplishments during her tenure, many of them secured through legislative action supported by the Governor and Department:

  • Reducing paper work through electronic filing and payment of taxes;
  • Working with a national consortium to streamline sales tax systems across states to make it easier for out-of-state companies to collect and remit sales tax;
  • Replacing the resale certificate system with more tightly controlled reseller permits to ensure that sales tax is paid when businesses buy products for their own use rather than resale;
  • Establishing new economic nexus standards that require certain out-of-state companies that earn revenue from Washington customers to begin paying the same taxes as their in-state competitors;
  • Successfully pursuing greater authority to challenge questionable tax avoidance schemes;
  • Providing more information, including video tutorials, online to taxpayers on demand;
  • Updating state tax laws to accommodate the digital age where goods that once were purchased in a store are now obtained online.

Holmstrom said she is proud that the agency accomplished all this and more as a lean organization that has seen little increase in staffing over the past 16 years despite a doubling of the number of registered businesses it tracks and sharp increases in revenue collections.

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