- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says businesses can add surcharges as a way to cover the costs of new minimum wage laws in some cities, but those charges must be clearly disclosed.

Ferguson released guidelines on the issue Tuesday, following reports that some Seattle businesses, including restaurants, were adding a surcharge in response to the city’s new minimum wage law, which will eventually bring minimum pay to $15 an hour. SeaTac has a similar ordinance.

The attorney general said he wants to make sure customers understand what they’re paying for.

Among the guidelines, businesses must clearly disclose the charge, not mischaracterize the charge as a tax or government mandate, and not use the money for anything other than paying workers’ wages.

They also say the surcharge is subject to the state’s business and occupation tax and retail sales taxes.

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