Wide range of legislative and tax changes become effective October 1

A number of new laws take effect on October 1, the first day of Fiscal Year 2015. The following legislative and budgetary changes passed earlier this year will now become effective:

  • Government Family Leave Program Amendment Act of 2014 – employees of the District government will now receive 8 weeks of paid leave upon birth of child or similar major life event.
  • Manufacturer Tasting Permit Amendment Act of 2014 – allows breweries to apply for on-site consumption permits; visitors could drink beer on site between 1-9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys Establishment Act of 2014 – creates a 12-member commission to develop recommendations and strategies for the issues and needs of men in the District.
  • Consumer Procedures and Protections Enforcement Amendment Act of 2014 – makes it an unlawful trade practice to harass a consumer on electronic/social media.
  • Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Amendment Act of 2014 – expands the “Schedule H” income tax credit for seniors older than 70, to offset rent or property taxes.
  • Residential Real Property Equity and Transparency Revised Amendment Act of 2014 – makes various modifications to the tax sale process to provide fairness for residential homeowners who are delinquent on their real property taxes.
  • Healthy Tots Act of 2014 – provides for improved nutrition at preschools.

The next set of legislation became law earlier this Council period, but since it was not funded at the time of passage, had yet to be actually implemented.  The funds necessary to implement these bills were included in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, so they will now take effect.

  • Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 – extends existing “sick and safe” protections to tipped restaurant workers, allows workers to start accruing leave sooner, and better protects workers from potential retaliation by their employers.
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 – increased the minimum wage in the District from $8.25 to $9.50 on July 1, 2014, with subsequent $1 increases to follow each July until it reaches $11.50 in 2016, and annual cost of living increases thereafter.
  • Smoking Restriction Amendment Act of 2013 – prohibits smoking in playgrounds, recreation facilities, and at bus stops.  Funding for required “no smoking” signs included in Fiscal Year 2015 budget, finally allowing implementation of legislation passed back in October of 2013.
  • Electric Company Infrastructure Improvement Financing Act of 2013 – allows for the issuance of revenue bonds to begin financing the undergrounding of Pepco electrical wires.

An additional set of changes that technically apply as of October 1 are revisions to DC tax law that were included in the budget bill. (Note that the benefits of some of these changes do not kick in until the new tax year starts on January 1.)  These include:

  • Establishing an individual income tax middle bracket of $40K to $60K at 7.0%
  • Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to single workers
  • Raising the standard deduction to $5,200 for singles; $8,350 for married couples
  • Applying the sales tax to health club services
  • Unifying the taxation of tobacco products by extending the existing sales tax to some newer tobacco products not previously included in the definition of this class of products