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 June 2024

Draft Det. No. 22-0027
Brief Description

A[n out-of-state] corporation (“Taxpayer”) that sells digital advertising space through its online exchange protests an assessment by the Department of Revenue (“Department”). The Department disallowed deductions from Taxpayer’s gross income subject to Washington’s business and occupation (“B&O”) tax. Taxpayer contends it is a marketplace facilitator and only the income it classifies as commissions is subject to tax. We deny the petition.

Draft WTD
Draft Det. No. 22-0030
Brief Description

An owner of real estate protests the Department’s assessment of real estate excise tax (“REET”). The owner argues that the Department improperly denied his prior REET refund request because the real property at issue was transferred as part of an excluded marital dissolution. We deny the petition.

Draft WTD
Draft Det. No. 22-0026
Brief Description

A business that operates a hotel in Washington seeks a refund of retail sales tax it paid to a water treatment company on charges related to servicing the water in the hotel’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) system. The business argues that the water treatment company provided consulting, testing, and analysis services, which are professional services not subject to retail sales tax. However, because the water treatment company was hired to service the water in the HVAC system, and the water in the system is tangible personal property, we conclude that the services are, indeed, subject to retail sales tax. As such, the business is not entitled to a refund of the tax. Petition denied.

Draft WTD

Public comment period

The Department requests comments and stakeholder feedback related to these proposed WTDs no later than June 30, 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.