FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2020 - In recognition of financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swinomish Tribal Senate today approved a 30-day waiver of all late penalties, charges, and interest for first-half 2020 Trust Improvement Use & Occupancy Tax payments by individual taxpayers.
This waiver applies to individual residential and commercial taxpayers who pay Use & Occupancy taxes directly to the Tribe on improvements located on leased trust land. Banks and other mortgage lenders that make tax payments from escrow accounts on behalf of their lending customers are not affected by the Senate action.
The Swinomish Tax Administrator has now issued Swinomish Tax Procedure Ruling 2020-001 to enact the waiver. Ruling 2020-001 explains that due to the financial uncertainty currently faced by many members of the community, the Swinomish Tribe will “waive all late penalties, charges, and interest associated with the April 30 payment of Trust Improvement Use & Occupancy Tax for a period of thirty (30) days. Taxpayers who make their first-half payment of 2020 Use & Occupancy taxes on or before May 30, 2020 will not accrue late charges, penalties, or interest.” The Tax Procedure Ruling is available on the Tribe’s website, and the Chairman will send an explanation directly to taxpayers.
For Swinomish Chairman Steve Edwards, the taxpayer relief was an answer to a community in need. “We recognize that people may be struggling right now, and we hope this waiver provides help to the people that need it.” Chairman Edwards noted that the Tribe must also consider the Tribe’s essential government services as well as the schools, library, and fire district that benefit from the tax revenue. “A 30-day waiver was a fair balance, given the crisis. It was the right thing to do for the community as a whole.”
Taxpayers able to pay by the April 30 deadline are encouraged to submit their payments on time, or as soon thereafter as possible. For questions about Tax Procedure Ruling 2020-001 and the 30 day late fee waiver, taxpayers are encouraged to contact Swinomish Tax Administrator Alicia Neely at email@example.com.
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is a federally recognized Indian Tribe with more than 1000 members. Swinomish is a legal successor to aboriginal bands that signed the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Its reservation is located 65 miles North of Seattle, Washington on Fidalgo Island.
Contact: Stephen LeCuyer