Not just Amazon: Seattle ‘head tax’ to hit these major companies

The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a new “head tax” on its largest businesses, and while being termed the “Amazon tax,” many other prominent U.S. corporations stand to take a hit as well.

The tax comes out to 14 cents per employee per hour, or $275 per employee annually, on for-profit companies that net at least $20 million annually. The rationale for the tax is to raise money to pay for housing for the city’s homeless.

It was unanimously approved by council members. The initial proposal was nearly double that amount, but was pared down after public opposition from both local workers and Amazon, which said late Monday it was “disappointed” by the results.

The e-commerce giant, which employs about 40,000 people in the metropolitan area, also said it remained “apprehensive” about the future of a new construction project in the city that is expected to create 7,000 jobs.

While Seattle hopes to use the revenue to help relieve its homeless problem, Amazon called the city’s policy “anti-business.”

Here are some other big companies in the area that could be affected by the tax:


Coffee retailer Starbucks has its headquarters located in Seattle as well. The company only has about 3,500 employees in Seattle, but came out in opposition to the decision.

"If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a 5-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction," John Kelly, Starbucks's senior vice president of global public affairs, said in a statement.


Boeing – the world’s largest aerospace company – while headquartered in Chicago, is also one of the Seattle area’s biggest employers.

The company has had manufacturing locations in Washington state since 1916, and today says it is the state’s largest private employer.

It manufactures the single- aisle 737 MAX and parts of the 777X at its Washington sites.

Nearly half of Boeing’s global workforce is located in Washington.

Boeing had not commented on the tax at the time of publication.


High-end retailer Nordstrom is another large U.S. company headquartered in Seattle. The retailer has more than 370 store locations across the U.S. and more than 66,500 employees working at those stores. Last year, it reported record sales across store locations.

Nordstrom did not return FOX Business’ request for comment at the time of publication and data about the number of Seattle-area employees was not immediately available.


Costco Wholesale is another of Seattle’s largest employers. It is a multi-billion global retailer with operations across eight countries. The company has nearly 240,000 employees.

The company has not yet issued a statement on the new Seattle tax.


Tree grower and forest product manufacturer Weyerhaeuser has been a Seattle-area staple for more than a century.

The company, which has been in the region since 1900, employs at least 700 people at its corporate headquarters.

Weyerhaeuser did not respond to requests for comment on the newly approved head tax at the time of publication.