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Proposed Seattle 'head tax' for homelessness could hit real estate too

The Seattle City Council is again considering a "head tax," as recommended by the Progressive Revenue Task Force, that would be placed on Seattle businesses as a means for generating income to help combat homelessness and the housing shortage.

"Head tax" is the hot button phrase being tossed around in the headlines, and in a nutshell, it would charge local employers for every full time employee they have or as a percentage of all payroll. A quick take on it from KOMO News can be found here.

However, further down the report, real estate as a means for additional revenue comes into focus. Here are the specific excerpts from the report as they relate to taxing real estate:

"Seattle should lobby the state legislature for new Real Estate Excise Tax authority, for example an additional 0.25% to 1.00%, with the option to apply this selectively to “luxury” (e.g. over $1 million) or second home purchases. Seattle should also consider whether it is possible without new authority to apply a fee, rather than a tax, to property transfers over an amount such as $1 million."

"Seattle should consider ways to tax the following, lobbying the state legislature for new authority as needed: speculative real estate investment activity, vacant or unoccupied properties, and second homes."

The Seattle City Council has already found plenty of ways to work themselves into real estate, so be on the look out for more things potentially coming down the pike.

Seattle Progressive Revenue Task Force Report on Housing and Homelessness

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