On September 30, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s 1.2% Business & Occupation (“B&O”) surtax on large financial institutions. Wash. Bankers Ass’n v. State, No. 98760-2 (Wash. 2021). The surtax, which went into effect January 1, 2020, applies to every “specified financial institution,” which is defined in relevant part as a financial institution that is a member of a consolidated financial institution group with consolidated annual net income of $1 billion or more.
The Washington Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association (collectively, the “Associations”) filed a declaratory relief action seeking to invalidate the surtax on the grounds that the measure discriminates against interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause. In 2020, a Washington trial court entered summary judgment for the Associations, holding that the statute discriminates against interstate commerce in purpose and effect. The trial court also held that the Associations had standing under the state’s Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (the “UDJA”) to bring an action on behalf of their members challenging the surtax. Continue Reading ›