By Chris Mehrmann and Amy Nogid

The Washington State Supreme Court held that a car dealership’s earnings from a “dealer cash” incentive program, offered by the manufacturer, American Honda Motor Company, to dealers to stimulate sales of certain car models within a specific time period, are taxable under the catchall provision of the business and occupation tax. The court further held that the incentive program did not qualify as a bona fide discount to the wholesale purchase price of the vehicles, which would not be taxable, because the dealer cash payments were not yet quantified or knowable at the time the dealership purchased the vehicles from the manufacturer. This opinion follows and upholds previous decisions on this issue against the taxpayer by the Washington Court of Appeals, the Thurston Superior Court, and the Board of Tax Appeals. (please see our prior coverage). Steven Klein, Inc. v. State of Wash., Dep’t of Revenue, Dkt. No. 91072-3 (Wash. Aug. 27, 2015).