The Department of Revenue (department) and its programs are governed by laws passed by the Washington State Legislature and codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The department drafts and adopts rules to implement new state laws, provide more detail to the laws passed, and provide additional guidance for taxpayers to make understanding their tax reporting responsibility easier. These rules are then codified in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and published by the Office of the Code Reviser.
Pursuant to RCW 34.05.330, you have the right to petition the department to adopt, amend, or repeal any administrative rule. Obtain a copy of the petition online, or call 360-705-6705. The petition process is governed by the Office of Financial Management (Chapter 82-05 WAC).
Generally, rule making takes place in three distinctive steps based on filings required by the Office of the Code Reviser. The rule making process provide several opportunities for the public to comment on proposed rules prior to adoption:
The standard rule making process generally follows the following steps.
A preliminary rule proposal is announced by filing a CR101 Preproposal Statement of Inquiry, which describes the topic the rule will address. At the same time, the department usually provides a preproposal draft rule on its website for discussion purposes only. The CR101 also announces if a Public Meeting will be held or the Public Comment Due Date for comments to be made on the preliminary proposal.
After the CR101, the department files a proposed rule draft and the CR102 Proposed Rule Making form with the Code Reviser. The CR102 also announces the time and date of a Public Hearing to discuss the proposed rule draft.
After the Public Hearing is concluded, the department adopts the final rule by filing the rule and the CR103 Rule Making Order with the Code Reviser. While written and verbal comments are welcome in the first two stages, the CR103 rule filing is final. The rule is effective 31 days later or as otherwise indicated in the filing documents.
While the department generally uses the standard rule making process to adopt and amend interpretive rules, the department also uses an expedited rule making process for adopting legislative changes and updates when there are no substantive interpretive changes. The department uses the emergency rule making process when the department believes a rule needs to be amended or adopted before the standard rule making process can be completed.
The expedited rule making process follows the following steps.
The department starts the expedited rule making process by filing a proposed rule with a CR105 Expedited Rule Making form. This CR105 expedited process announces the proposed rule but does not schedule a Public Meeting or Public Hearing.
If no objections to the expedited rule making process are received within 45 days of filing the CR105, the department may adopt the proposed rule by filing the final rule with a CR103 Rule Making Order. Written comments on the proposed rule are welcome during the 45 days.
If objections to the expedited rule making process are received within 45 days of filing the CR105, then the department will file a CR102 and announce the time and date of a Public Meeting to discuss the proposed rule draft.
The emergency rule making process follows the following steps.
The department starts the emergency rule making process by filing a CR103E Emergency rule adoption form. This CR103E emergency process announces the adoption of a rule. There is not a Public Meeting or Public Hearing.
The emergency rule is effective for 120 days after the filing date. The department will usually begin a standard rule making effort to adopt a permanent rule (see standard rule making process above)
To comment on a proposed rule either in the preproposal or proposed rule making phase, please contact the rule drafter noted on the Rule making agenda.
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Learn how you can take part in the Department of Revenue rule development.