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On June 18, 2008, the SSUTA Governing Board voted to adopt a Washington-sponsored amendment that would permit states to have printers collect sales tax on in-state direct mail (mass mailings) based on the printer’s location rather than every location to which the mail is delivered.  The Governing Board will need to approve this amendment a second time before it becomes a part of the agreement, and we do not expect a problem getting a favorable vote at the next Governing Board meeting in September.  We are hopeful that these provisions will be adopted into Washington law during the 2009 session.

Current law as of July 1, 2008:

  • The seller does not need to collect retail sales tax if the purchaser provides the seller with a Direct Pay Permit or an SSUTA Certificate of Exemption claiming direct mail.
  • If the purchaser does not provide a Direct Pay Permit or an SSUTA Certificate of Exemption claiming direct mail, the sale must be sourced to:
    • The "mail to" addresses if the seller receives jurisdictional information; or
    • The "ship from" address (printer's location); if the seller does not receive jurisdictional information.

    For purposes of the interim period prior to anticipated adoption of this amendment into Washington law:

    • Unless the seller says otherwise, the Department will presume that the seller does not have jurisdictional information and the sale will be sourced to the printer's location (Origin Sourcing).
    • If the seller can document that any portion of the direct mail is delivered outside Washington, the seller is not required to collect Washington State sales tax on that portion.
    • If the seller has jurisdictional information, the seller must collect Washington State sales tax on the basis of the "mail to" addresses that are in Washington.

    What is jurisdictional information?

    "Jurisdictional information" is information sufficient to determine the tax jurisdictions where the direct mail will be delivered.  The seller must be able to retain and retrieve the information for purposes of sales or use tax reporting. Examples include:

    • Access to a database which contains address information or a mailing list provided by the purchaser or a third party that does not allow the seller to retain and retrieve the information identifying jurisdictions where the direct mail was delivered to recipients is not "jurisdictional information." 
    • An address database or mailing list owned by the seller is considered "jurisdictional information."