U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington has introduced a bill that would make the sales tax deduction permanent on federal returns.
Washington is one of seven states without a state income tax. Instead, residents have been allowed to deduct the sales tax they pay, but only on a temporary basis. During the lame-duck session last year, Congress approved an extension for the 2010 and 2011 tax years. But Cantwell says the late approval caused problems for the IRS, and taxpayers in Washington and the other states who itemize won't be able to file their returns until Feb. 14.
Cantwell says making the sales tax deduction permanent would end the uncertainty. She says it lowers the tax bill by about $500 for more than 800,000 Washington taxpayers who itemize.