Public service announcement for Seattle area taxpayers: Some transit taxes can be itemized and deducted

If you itemize your taxes, there are some taxes you can claim on Schedule A line 7 that you may not be aware of.

  • Seattle monorail tax ("Monorail")
  • Sound Transit tax ("RTA Tax")

These taxes are special because they are based on the value of the vehicle and therefore qualify as a "personal property tax" from the IRS's point of view.

While you're on Schedule A, don't forget to claim your deduction for state sales tax on line 5. You can look up the local sales tax rate for any Washington address by using this handy web form on the State of Washington Department of Revenue site. If you prefer doing it the slow way, you can download all the local sales tax rates. If you live in King County†, for example, the local rate is 1.9%, or 2.3% if you live in an RTA area. (That's in addition to the state-wide 6.5% rate.)

Nitpicker's corner

†That's King County, Washington, USA of course. I would have thought that was clear from context (it's the county that Seattle is a member of, and I've been talking about the state of Washington the whole time), but I can never tell with you folks.

Comments (11)
  1. Starfish says:

    †That’s King County, Washington, USA of course.

    Okay, but which planet are we referring to here? ;) Not being pedantic, just highlighting that nitpicking can go to ridiculous lengths – if they can’t work out context from something reasonably unambiguous, ignore them. To me and many others, I’m sure, we’d rather have you spend your time writing your excellent & valuable blog than taking care of every nitpick.

  2. jwf says:

    Yes! Ignore the nitpickers that have nothing better to do but miss the whole point of the post and instead focus on some pedantic little thing. Use the blinders. Otherwise you’ll just be dragged down to their level.

    That’s one thing I don’t miss about the days of my CS degree years ago. All the people that seemed to think the rest of the class thought they were soooo smart for finding a missing semicolon when the last 20 minutes were actually discussing some larger higher level design tradeoff.

  3. David Brooks says:

    Or you can try the IRS’s calculator at This has the advantage of calculating the proration if you have moved house during 2006. It shares with the state site the inability to find my house (the road has been there over a year but isn’t in GIS yet) and it requires reading popup help to determine which definition of income is used, but it’s otherwise pretty user-friendly.

    If you bought a car/boat/etc, you may be able to add that to the standard deduction. If you want to be really slow, you can add up all the store receipts you kept for the entire year and use that number instead.

    The above is only my opinion and should not be construed as actual tax advice.

  4. Peter says:

    <i>While you’re on Schedule A, don’t forget to claim your deduction for state sales tax on line 5.</i>

    Just be warned that if you do this and if you get a state tax refund then you’ll have to declare that refund on your 2007 federal return so that the IRS can claw back the deduction next year. If you already have a larger-than-normal number of deductions for 2006 (say, if you just moved across the country or something) it actually might not be worth it; you just end up shifting a chunk of your tax burden forward a year.

    Why yes, I did get burned by that particular snafu once, why do you ask?

  5. Jeremy says:

    Yes, but Washington doesn’t have a state income tax, so if you live in Washington you can’t get burned by this snafu.

  6. JD says:

    ‘I’ll have four tax burgers…one IRS-wich, withhold the lettuce…’

  7. Peter says:

    Yes, but Washington doesn’t have a state income tax…

    Niiice. Point taken, I guess.

  8. Al says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Nitpickers’ corner”? :)

    Unless there’s only one nitpicker, of course…

    [It’s also called a pitcher’s mound even though there’s more than one pitcher. -Raymond]
  9. Cody says:

    [It’s also called a pitcher’s mound even though there’s more than one pitcher. -Raymond]

    Sorry, I have to pick this nit:  Only one pitcher is active there at a time. (To prevent the resultant nitpicking:  normally active…)  However, there can be, and often is, more than one nitpicker active at a time.

    [Lover’s lane. Even if there’s mnore than one nitpicker active, the corner deals with them individually. -Raymond]
  10. Cody says:

    Blast you, English language!  I am defeated by Lover’s Lane.

    [And Reader’s Digest. -Raymond]
  11. Dean Harding says:

    [And Reader’s Digest. -Raymond]

    Wow, is there nothing it CAN’T do?

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