Washington gross sales tax exemption for electrical bikes strikes ahead in Legislature

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A legislative invoice that might eradicate the gross sales tax on electrical bicycles and equipment, crafted to encourage extra sustainable transportation, handed out of a key finance committee on Friday in Olympia.

Sponsors contend e-bikes — that are having a documented increase throughout the pandemic — present an environmentally pleasant and reasonably priced different to vehicles that crowd metropolis streets.

Home Invoice 1330 would promote e-bike use in Washington by exempting gross sales and use taxes for brand new electrical bikes, together with as much as $200 price of associated tools, together with locks, helmets and lights purchased at the side of an e-bike. The tax financial savings would proceed till 2027 or till $500,000 in whole tax exemptions was reached.

Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, an avid e-bike consumer identified for biking to work on the Capitol throughout legislative classes, described the bikes as “transformative,” for the advantages they provide to the consumer and the group.

“They are surely a automotive alternative in the way in which a daily bike isn’t,” she mentioned.

The bikes have rechargeable batteries and electrical motors that energy the rider ahead, both totally or solely so as to add an additional oomph whereas pedaling. Shewmake mentioned they supply bodily and psychological well being advantages, and so they assist relieve Seattle’s congested streets.

New guidelines and requirements for e-bikes had been handed in 2018 in Washington, classifying them by pace and the place they can be utilized.

Carolyn Eaton, proprietor of Montlake Bicycle Store, mentioned she has seen electrical bike recognition take off within the final couple of years, with an increasing number of individuals utilizing them as transportation. She estimates they’re now her third highest-selling bike class.

Washington is persistently ranked the prime bicycle pleasant state within the nation by the League of American Bicyclists.

E-bikes usually price anyplace from $600 to $4,000 relying on high quality and function, which might add a tax of tons of of {dollars} for a buyer.

“I might hope that by not having the gross sales tax, the shopper who solely has that $1,500 price range, perhaps they’re in a position to get one thing a little bit bit nicer in that $2,000 value vary. One thing that’s extra dependable, extra environmentally aware, in the long run being one thing they will maintain on to for a few years,” Eaton mentioned.

Talking in favor of the invoice at a Wednesday’s Home Finance Committee listening to, Tamar Shuhendler, of Washington Bikes, a Seattle advocacy group, mentioned it might open the door for extra individuals to strive e-biking.

In contrast to typical bikes, the electrical propulsion makes them extra usable for individuals with bodily limitations, resulting in extra nontraditional cyclists reminiscent of seniors and people with disabilities. Commuters can haul their groceries dwelling and oldsters can haul their children over troublesome terrain, Shuhendler mentioned.

Shewmake mentioned the tax exemption may assist e-bikes attain potential customers which might be “reluctant to make the leap.”