|Seattle Monorail Tax|
What is the Monorail Tax?
At the November 2002 General Election, Seattle voters approved a motor vehicle excise tax of up to 1.4 percent (1.4%) on Washington licensed vehicles registered within the City of Seattle.
What vehicles are/are not subject to the Monorail Tax?
*The monorail tax, for Antique and Collector Vehicles, only pertains to the original application for current registration. Antique vehicles - vehicles that are 40 years old or more and display horseless carriage license plates. Collector Vehicles - vehicles that are more than 30 years with a collector Vehicle plate or RES use class. Antique, restored and collector vehicles are not assessed annual registration fees.
Other exemptions may apply.
For help estimating your Monorail Tax, click here.
When is the Monorail Tax due?
Monorail Tax is assessed and collected at the time of renewal of Washington registration or at the time of transfer of a Washington certificate of ownership when registration is being purchased. Used vehicles coming in from another state or jurisdiction being registered in Washington State for the first time are also subject tax if the owner of the vehicle resides in the City of Seattle.
The Monorail Tax is not collected for new vehicles being sold on a Manufacturer's Statement/Certificate of Origin. Monorail Tax does not apply to vessels.
How much Monorail Tax will I pay for my vehicle?
Below are several examples of different vehicles and the amount of Monorail Tax that would be collected as part of the total annual licensing fees:
For help estimating your Monorail Tax, click here.
How is the amount of monorail excise tax owed determined?
The monorail special motor vehicle exise tax collected under RCW 35.95A.130 requires the valuation of motor vehicles must be consistent with chapter 82.44 RCW. The vehicle valuation schedule established in this chapter was set by the State Legislature in RCW 82.44.041 and establishes the vehicle value for purposes of taxation. This value is not based on fair market value and could be either higher or lower than the vehicle's current fair market value. The taxable value depends upon a vehicle's age (year of service) and a base value generally established by the vehicle Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, light-duty trucks (scale weight of 6,000 pounds or less) and small trailers. Purchase price and purchase year are used for non-powered commercial or log use units and trucks with a scale weight of 6,001 pounds or more.
For passenger vehicles, motorcycles, light-duty
trucks and small trailers:
For example: If the current year is 2004 and the vehicle is manufactured in 1992 with an original MSRP of $20,000 would be considered to be in its 13th year of service and depreciated to 10 percent (10%) of its original value. This depreciated value of $2,000 multiplied by 1.4 percent (1.4%) results in $28 Monorail Tax due.
For non-powered units licensed for commercial or log use and trucks with a scale weight of 6,001 pounds or more:
Take the vehicle's last purchase price and purchase year, find the Year of Service (current calendar year - purchase year + 1 year = Year of Service) in the chart below and apply the corresponding percentage. The resulting depreciated value can now be used to calculate the 1.4 percent (1.4%) Monorail Tax.
For example: If the current year is 2004, a large truck purchased in 1992 for $35,000 would be considered to be in its 13th year of service and depreciated to 10 percent (10%) of its original value. This depreciated value of $3,500 multiplied by 1.4 percent (1.4%) results in $49 Monorail Tax due.
Why can't I find RCW 82.44.041?
When Initiative 776 (I-776) passed in 2002, RCW 82.44.041 was repealed and removed from the text of state law. However, I-776 did not repeal the laws that authorize the Seattle Monorail Project and Sound Transit to use this law and the valuation schedule it contained. Even though the actual language of 82.44.041 was removed from the text of state law, it will continue to exist for the purposes of collecting these two local taxes. This common principle, which has been tested by the courts, indicated that when one law specifically references a second law, it is the legal equivalent of incorporating the complete text of the second law into the first. This means that the reference to Chapter 82.44 in the Seattle Monorail Project laws creates the authority to use that method for determining the taxable value for the special motor vehicle excise tax. Click here to review the table used to determine taxable value.
Where does the money collected for the Seattle Monorail Project go?
The revenue collected by the Department of Licensing is sent to the Office of the State Treasurer. The funds are then disbursed quarterly to the Seattle Monorail Project for the general purpose of constructing a public monorail transportation project in the City of Seattle. The first phase is to build the fourteen-mile "Green Line". For detailed information about how the funds will be used, please contact the Seattle Monorail Project Hotline at (206) 587-1700 or visit their website.
I'm already paying RTA/Sound Transit Tax. Do I have to pay the Monorail Tax too?
Both taxes are due for certain vehicles registered within the City of Seattle. The RTA/Sound Transit tax and the Monorail Tax are two totally different taxes that fund different transportation projects. The RTA/Sound Transit Tax funds Sound Transit's regional transportation plan to design, build and operate a high-capacity transit system located within King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties to help reduce traffic congestion. Monorail Tax will fund the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a monorail system in the City of Seattle.
Can I avoid paying the tax by using a post office box or other address located outside of the City of Seattle if my address for registration is located within the City of Seattle?
No, you cannot avoid paying the tax by using a post office box or other address located outside the City of Seattle if you reside within the City of Seattle. RCW 35.95A.080 states that the monorail tax will be levied on the "value of every motor vehicle owned by a resident of the authority area." If you reside in the City of Seattle, then the special motor vehicle excise tax is due.
Effective January 2005, in accordance with administrative rule (WAC) 308.56A.030, vehicle owners are required to provide DOL with their primary Washington State residence street address. If the vehicle is owned by a business, the principal place of business street address must be provided. The growing use of local, voter-approved vehicle taxes and fees to fund transportation projects is a statewide issue and makes it critical to know where the registered owners of vehicles live to ensure the equitable collection of these revenues.
Who can I contact for more information about what I owe for the Monorail Tax?
You can contact our Customer Service Unit at (360) 902-3770, Option 7, or by e-mail.
Who can I contact for more information about the Seattle Monorail Project?
You can call the Seattle Monorail Project Hotline at (206) 587-1700 or visit the Seattle Monorail Project website.