Motorized wheelchairs and other mobility-improving equipment would become tax-exempt under legislation passed 48-0 today by the Senate. The proposal, Senate Bill 5218, was introduced by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden.
“This bill will help people with disabilities by removing the sales tax from motorized wheelchairs or other technological equipment, which will help them save money while also helping maintain their independence,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “It can be very costly for someone to buy such equipment that they need for their daily lives, and the sales tax only adds to the high cost. This bill helps make such purchases more affordable for those who need this needed equipment.”
During his Senate floor speech in favor of the proposal, Padden mentioned that written testimony supporting the bill was provided by Steve Gleason, a former Gonzaga Prep, Washington State University and New Orleans Saints football player who contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“He indicated how important this legislation would be, not only for those who have ALS or MS but those who need what I would call high-tech wheelchairs that can do so much and can cost $30,000 and up,” said Padden. “The sales tax portion is a large amount of money for this equipment. Steve pointed out that if people have this equipment, they are less likely to go into hospitals and require more expensive medical care.”
The proposal states that to claim the sales-tax exemption, the purchaser must provide the seller with an exemption certificate as prescribed by the state Department of Revenue. The tax exemption would apply to mobility-enhancing equipment sold or used on or after Aug. 1, 2023.
SB 5218 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to end April 23.