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Washington State Puts Off Reducing its Tax on Sea Cucumbers and Sea Urchins

1 min readBy: Rob Shrum

In an effort to make sure that no stone, on land or in the sea, is left unturned for revenue, the Washington Department of Revenue has issued a special notice announcing that the reduction in the food fish excise taxAn excise tax is a tax imposed on a specific good or activity. Excise taxes are commonly levied on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soda, gasoline, insurance premiums, amusement activities, and betting, and typically make up a relatively small and volatile portion of state and local and, to a lesser extent, federal tax collections. on sea cucumbers and sea urchins which was supposed to kick in at the end of this year has been delayed until 2013.

The food fish excise taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. is applied on the first commercial possession of sea cucumbers and sea urchins within the state which are caught in Washington State waters. The tax is measured by the value of the fish when first landed. The current food fish tax rate stands at 4.92% and was supposed to be brought down to 2.25% in December of this year, but not anymore.

Substitute House Bill (SHB) 2593 leaves the 4.92% tax rate on sea cucumbers and sea urchins until December 31, 2013 OR until the Department of Fish and Wildlife has notified the Department of Revenue that the number of sea urchin and sea cucumber licenses has been reduced to 20 each, whichever comes first. After that point, the rate will be reduced to 2.25%.

You can’t make this stuff up. At this point, I don’t want to know where else Washington State will try to turn to for short term revenue.

More on Washington State here.