The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context requires otherwise.
(1) "Leasehold interest" means an interest in publicly owned real or personal property which exists by virtue of any lease, permit, license, or any other agreement, written or verbal, between the public owner of the property and a person who would not be exempt from property taxes if that person owned the property in fee, granting possession and use, to a degree less than fee simple ownership. However, no interest in personal property (excluding land or buildings) which is owned by the United States, whether or not as trustee, or by any foreign government may constitute a leasehold interest hereunder when the right to use such property is granted pursuant to a contract solely for the manufacture or production of articles for sale to the United States or any foreign government. The term "leasehold interest" includes the rights of use or occupancy by others of property which is owned in fee or held in trust by a public corporation, commission, or authority created under RCW 35.21.730 or 35.21.660 if the property is listed on or is within a district listed on any federal or state register of historical sites. The term "leasehold interest" does not include road or utility easements, rights of access, occupancy, or use granted solely for the purpose of removing materials or products purchased from a public owner or the lessee of a public owner, or rights of access, occupancy, or use granted solely for the purpose of natural energy resource exploration. "Leasehold interest" does not include the preferential use of publicly owned cargo cranes and docks and associated areas used in the loading and discharging of cargo located at a port district marine facility. "Preferential use" means that publicly owned real or personal property is used by a private party under a written agreement with the public owner, but the public owner or any third party maintains a right to use the property when not being used by the private party.
(2)(a) "Taxable rent" means contract rent as defined in (c) of this subsection in all cases where the lease or agreement has been established or renegotiated through competitive bidding, or negotiated or renegotiated in accordance with statutory requirements regarding the rent payable, or negotiated or renegotiated under circumstances, established by public record, clearly showing that the contract rent was the maximum attainable by the lessor. However, after January 1, 1986, with respect to any lease which has been in effect for ten years or more without renegotiation, taxable rent may be established by procedures set forth in (g) of this subsection. All other leasehold interests are subject to the determination of taxable rent under the terms of (g) of this subsection.
(b) For purposes of determining leasehold excise tax on any lands on the Hanford reservation subleased to a private or public entity by the department of ecology, taxable rent includes only the annual cash rental payment made by such entity to the department of ecology as specifically referred to as rent in the sublease agreement between the parties and does not include any other fees, assessments, or charges imposed on or collected by such entity irrespective of whether the private or public entity pays or collects such other fees, assessments, or charges as specified in the sublease agreement.
(c) "Contract rent" means the amount of consideration due as payment for a leasehold interest, including: The total of cash payments made to the lessor or to another party for the benefit of the lessor according to the requirements of the lease or agreement, including any rents paid by a sublessee; expenditures for the protection of the lessor's interest when required by the terms of the lease or agreement; and expenditures for improvements to the property to the extent that such improvements become the property of the lessor. Where the consideration conveyed for the leasehold interest is made in combination with payment for concession or other rights granted by the lessor, only that portion of such payment which represents consideration for the leasehold interest is part of contract rent.
(d) "Contract rent" does not include: (i) Expenditures made by the lessee, which under the terms of the lease or agreement, are to be reimbursed by the lessor to the lessee or expenditures for improvements and protection made pursuant to a lease or an agreement which requires that the use of the improved property be open to the general public and that no profit will inure to the lessee from the lease; (ii) expenditures made by the lessee for the replacement or repair of facilities due to fire or other casualty including payments for insurance to provide reimbursement for losses or payments to a public or private entity for protection of such property from damage or loss or for alterations or additions made necessary by an action of government taken after the date of the execution of the lease or agreement; (iii) improvements added to publicly owned property by a sublessee under an agreement executed prior to January 1, 1976, which have been taxed as personal property of the sublessee prior to January 1, 1976, or improvements made by a sublessee of the same lessee under a similar agreement executed prior to January 1, 1976, and such improvements are taxable to the sublessee as personal property; (iv) improvements added to publicly owned property if such improvements are being taxed as personal property to any person.
(e) Any prepaid contract rent is considered to have been paid in the year due and not in the year actually paid with respect to prepayment for a period of more than one year. Expenditures for improvements with a useful life of more than one year which are included as part of contract rent must be treated as prepaid contract rent and prorated over the useful life of the improvement or the remaining term of the lease or agreement if the useful life is in excess of the remaining term of the lease or agreement. Rent prepaid prior to January 1, 1976, must be prorated from the date of prepayment.
(f) With respect to a "product lease", the value is that value determined at the time of sale under terms of the lease.
(g) If it is determined by the department of revenue, upon examination of a lessee's accounts or those of a lessor of publicly owned property, that a lessee is occupying or using publicly owned property in such a manner as to create a leasehold interest and that such leasehold interest has not been established through competitive bidding, or negotiated in accordance with statutory requirements regarding the rent payable, or negotiated under circumstances, established by public record, clearly showing that the contract rent was the maximum attainable by the lessor, the department may establish a taxable rent computation for use in determining the tax payable under authority granted in this chapter based upon the following criteria: (i) Consideration must be given to rental being paid to other lessors by lessees of similar property for similar purposes over similar periods of time; (ii) consideration must be given to what would be considered a fair rate of return on the market value of the property leased less reasonable deductions for any restrictions on use, special operating requirements or provisions for concurrent use by the lessor, another person or the general public.
(3) "Product lease" as used in this chapter means a lease of property for use in the production of agricultural or marine products to the extent that such lease provides for the contract rent to be paid by the delivery of a stated percentage of the production of such agricultural or marine products to the credit of the lessor or the payment to the lessor of a stated percentage of the proceeds from the sale of such products.
(4) "Renegotiated" means a change in the lease agreement which changes the agreed time of possession, restrictions on use, the rate of the cash rental or of any other consideration payable by the lessee to or for the benefit of the lessor, other than any such change required by the terms of the lease or agreement. In addition "renegotiated" means a continuation of possession by the lessee beyond the date when, under the terms of the lease agreement, the lessee had the right to vacate the premises without any further liability to the lessor.
(5) "City" means any city or town.
(6) "Products" includes natural resource products such as cut or picked evergreen foliage, Cascara bark, wild edible mushrooms, native ornamental trees and shrubs, ore and minerals, natural gas, geothermal water and steam, and forage removed through the grazing of livestock.
[2012 2nd sp.s. c 6 § 501; 1999 c 220 § 2; 1991 c 272 § 23; 1986 c 285 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 196 § 11; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 61 § 2.]
| Reviser's note: Pursuant to RCW 43.135.041, chapter 6, Laws of 2012 2nd special session was subject to an advisory vote of the people in the November 2012 general election on whether the tax increase in such session law should be maintained or repealed. The advisory vote was in favor of repeal.|
Existing rights, liabilities, or obligations -- Effective dates -- Contingent effective dates -- 2012 2nd sp.s. c 6: See notes following RCW 82.04.29005.
Effective dates -- 1991 c 272: See RCW 81.108.901.
Effective date -- 1979 ex.s. c 196: See note following RCW 82.04.240.