Washington’s low-income tax credit available for first time

Up to $1,200 is now available for thousands of low-income working Washington residents, thanks to a 2008 law that has finally been funded.

  • By Wire Service
  • Friday, February 3, 2023 1:20pm
  • Northwest
Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Up to $1,200 is now available for thousands of low-income working Washington residents, thanks to a 2008 law that has finally been funded.

The Working Families Tax Credit is available for individuals and people with children who meet certain eligibility and requirements, The Seattle Times reported.

The money is intended to provide a modest cash boost to Washington workers near the bottom of the economic ladder who pay a far greater portion of their income in state taxes than the wealthy do.

Nearly 400,000 households are eligible for the tax credit, including nearly 100,000 in King County. Eligible families need to apply to receive it.

The state estimates it will pay about $230 million in refunds this year and $257 million next year as more people become aware of it.

The tax credit was signed into law by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2008. But lawmakers, facing a budget deficit, said they’d figure out the funding later.

In 2021, flush with money from the federal government’s emergency COVID-19 packages, state legislators approved funding for the tax credits, saying the popularity of the pandemic-related payments to individuals emphasized the value of cash assistance.

For Nijhia Jackson, of Bremerton, those payments — three separate checks for $1,200, $600 and $1,400, passed under both the Trump and Biden administrations — were lifesavers.

Jackson is a student at Olympic College who lives with her husband and two young sons, and works as a cashier at the Tacoma Dome.

She said she used the COVID-19 payments to pay their internet bill when her boys had to attend school remotely and also used it for rent.

Her family will likely receive $900 from the new tax credit, which will be disbursed in the form of a rebate on sales taxes paid.

“After having those payments, I know this would be helpful,” she said. She plans to use it, again, on the internet bill, on clothes for her kids and maybe to repair her car.

“This money can assist families in whatever their financial needs may be,” said John Ryser, acting director of the state Department of Revenue, calling it “a step in addressing intergenerational poverty and equity in the state.”

Ryser said 10,000 people applied for the tax credit on Wednesday, the first day it was available.

“Our message today is quite simple,” said Emily Vyhnanek, campaign manager for a coalition of about 50 nonprofits, unions and progressive advocacy groups that pushed to fund the tax credit. “If you, your loved ones, your neighbors … your community earned less than $60,000 last year, please don’t miss out. You could be eligible for upwards of $1,200.”

The program is modeled after the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Thirty-two other states offer their own version of the tax credit, but Washington is the only state without a state income tax to do so.

The state Department of Revenue has set up a new division and has allotted 82 full-time employees to run the program.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Breadson John, 8, was found safe in Missouri on Wednesday, Feb. 21, after going missing from Vancouver in June 2022. (FBI)
Vancouver boy, 8, missing since June, found in Missouri

Breadson John was found safe in Jasper County Missouri after being missing for 8 months.

In this image provided by John Odegard, firefighters in Seattle douse flames at a marina on Lake Union, near the city's University District, early on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The fire burned 30 boats on a dry-rack storage facility, and a man found hiding in one vessel was arrested for investigation of arson, authorities said. (John Odegard via AP)
Fire at Seattle marina burns 30 boats on dry rack storage

A man found hiding in one vessel was arrested for investigation of arson, authorities said.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Deputy shot, wounded in Seattle during eviction, 1 dead

A King County Sheriff’s deputy was shot Monday and a person inside the residence was later found dead.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Man pleads guilty to stalking Washington state lawmaker

Isaiah Long, 34, of Bremerton, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony stalking Rep. Michelle Caldier.

Amtrak restores full daily train service to Vancouver, B.C.

Amtrak has restarted direct trips between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leonard Cobb, co-founder of state’s first Medic One, dies at 96

An incident more than 60 years ago helped prompt creation of the groundbreaking emergency medical service.

A Value Village store is seen Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Edmonds, Wash. The company that operates 300 Value Village, Savers and other thrift stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia is suing Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, saying his office has violated its rights by demanding $3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Court rejects deception charges against Savers Value Village

The Washington state Supreme Court handed the thrift store chain Savers Value Village a unanimous win Thursday.

Seattle Council Member Kshama Sawant speaks to supporters and opponents of a proposed ordinance to add caste to Seattle's anti-discrimination laws at a rally at Seattle City Hall, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Seattle. Sawant proposed the ordinance. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination

The Seattle City Council on Tuesday added caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, becoming the first city to pass such a law outside South Asia.

Clay Siegall, cofounder and former CEO of Seagen. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Why prosecutors say former Seagen CEO wasn’t charged after arrest

Edmonds prosecutors said there were contradictory statements on the night Seagen ex-CEO Clay Siegall was accused of domestic violence.

New Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks during an inauguration ceremony for city officials on Jan. 6, 2014, in Seattle. One of Sawant’s earliest memories of the caste system was hearing her grandfather – a man she “otherwise loved very much” – utter a slur to summon their lower-caste maid. Now an elected official in a city thousands of miles from India, she has proposed an ordinance to add caste to Seattle’s anti-discrimination laws. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson, File)
Seattle considers historic law barring caste discrimination

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant wants to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Judge rejects bid to nullify Boeing deal over Max crashes

District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth said federal law doesn’t give courts the power to oversee agreements that prosecutors make with defendants.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Boeing is reporting a money-losing quarter as both its civilian-airplane division and the defense business are struggling. Boeing said Wednesday, April 27, 2022,  that it lost $1.24 billion in the first quarter and took large write-downs for several programs.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Boeing plans to cut about 2,000 finance and HR jobs in 2023

Boeing plans to outsource about a third of the eliminated positions to Tata Consulting Services in Bengaluru, India.