Congress should make state sales-tax deduction permanent
The Seattle Times editorial board urges Congress to make permanent the deductibility of state sales tax on the federal income tax.
Seattle Times Editorial
WASHINGTON residents would be able to deduct their sales tax from their federal income tax under legislation approved for the 2012 and 2013 tax years by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday. The measure still has to go through the full Senate and House and be signed by President Obama for the deduction to continue.
The deductibility of sales taxes is crucial to Washington and the few other states with no state income tax. About 850,000 taxpayers in this state take the sales-tax deduction, saving an average of nearly $500 per return. That is money that would be lost to our taxpayers, and our economy, otherwise.
This is also an issue of fairness. For the federal tax code to favor income-tax states over sales-tax states, which it did when the one was deductible and the other was not, is unfair to taxpayers here.
Keeping sales-tax payments deductible has been a priority of Sen. Maria Cantwell, who is on the Finance Committee. Her work is appreciated.
Still, she and the other senators from no-income-tax states have had to expend political points again and again to keep this deduction alive, while the senators from the income-tax states were home free.
They could use their time to better advantage because their deduction is permanent.
The option to deduct sales tax should also be permanent.