A measure in effect since July 1 prevents Oregonians from using their state ID to get a pass on paying Washington sales tax, at least over the counter. The state changed their exemption to a reimbursement system, meaning Oregon shoppers will need to keep their receipts and make annual requests to be paid back.
This new policy of reimbursement causes worry for southwest Washington business owners who rely in large part on interstate business, especially given Oregon shoppers’ well-known aversion to paying sales taxes in any form. Some believe Oregon consumers, even those who were loyal customers of Washington businesses, will keep their money in Oregon simply to avoid paying the upfront sales tax.
Washington’s state government emphasizes that they did not remove the exemption, just changed the way in which it is “carried out,” according to one state senator.
The state projects to make $54 million from this change. A fiscal analysis of the new policy estimated that only 21 percent of Oregonian shoppers would remember or care enough to file for reimbursement on these sales taxes, and the $54 million comes from those who did not request reimbursement.
By Ian MacRonald