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What is the regional transit authority (RTA) tax?

It is a voter-approved tax that affects most major metropolitan areas of Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. The RTA tax increases the sales and use tax, motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) and the rental car tax rates.

How do I pay the tax?

Businesses report the retail sales tax and rental car tax collected from consumers to the Department of Revenue on the excise tax return.

Consumers pay the MVET when renewing their vehicle tabs with the Washington Department of Licensing.

What rate do I pay?

The sales and use tax rate increase for RTA areas is 0.9 percent through March 31, 2017. The rental car tax rate increase for RTA areas is 0.8 percent. Effective April 1, 2017, the RTA sales and use tax rate increases to 1.4 percent.

For MVET, beginning March 1, 2017, following a voter-approved increase, the rate is 1.1 percent. The motor vehicle excise tax is calculated and collected by the Department of Licensing. Contact the Department of Licensing with questions about the RTA MVET, such as types of vehicles subject to the RTA MVET, vehicle values, depreciation schedules and exemptions.

How is the RTA tax revenue used?

The money is used for building and operating Sound Transit’s expanded light rail, commuter rail and express bus system linking cities throughout the central Puget Sound region, including the greater Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue and Everett areas.



More information


Visit Sound Transit's web site for detailed information, answers to frequently asked questions, and direct contact information.

The Washington Department of Licensing provides information about the RTA Motor Vehicle Excise tax and the valuation used in calculating the MVET tax.