Car tab relief may be on the way as bill passes Senate

Bill now moves to House

VIDEO: Car tab relief bill passes State Senate

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Car tab relief could soon be on the way for drivers hit hard by increased car tab fees.

Voters approved hiking car tab fees to pay for part of the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package, but few people anticipated the backlash once renewals hit mailboxes.

The complaint has been that cars are taxed on a state depreciation scale based on manufacturers suggested retail price, which is usually far higher than a car's real value.

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Senate Bill 5955, which passed legislation in a 30-14 vote overnight, would implement a car tab calculation scale which more accurately reflects true car values and would also provide credit refunds to those who purchased tabs before September 1, 2018.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

Sound Transit provided some examples of how it would impact owners of a popular car in the taxing district, a Honda Accord EX.

The owner of a 2016 model would see the cost drop from $267 to $194.

The bill for a 2011 Accord would go from $152 to $93.

For a 2006 accord, the Sound Transit fee would go from $35 to $52.

The legislation would also ensure that funding for ST3 projects would remain intact by exempting Sound Transit from the sales and use tax offset fee for up to $518 million.

If Sound Transit is able to complete the projects in the time frame approved by voters, the exemption will be lifted and the funds dispersed to the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account.