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Q:  When do I owe use tax?

A: 
    Use tax is due if:
    • goods are purchased in another state that does not have a sales tax or a state with a sales tax lower than Washington’s. For example, items you purchase in Oregon that are used in Washington are subject to use tax.
    • goods are purchased from someone who is not authorized to collect sales tax. For example, purchases of furniture from an individual through a newspaper classified ad or a purchase of artwork from an individual collector.
    • goods are purchased out-of-state by subscription, through the Internet, or from a mail order catalog company. Many of these companies collect Washington’s sales tax, but if the company from which you order does not, you owe the use tax.
    • personal property is acquired with the purchase of real property.

    Use tax is also due on:

    • the price of the lease, when goods are leased.
    • goods purchased for use by a business and sales tax has not been paid. (Example: Supplies, fixtures, magazine subscription, etc.)
    • gifts or prizes. Tax is determined on the value of the gift or prize unless the donor has paid the sales or use tax. (Example: You win a car in a raffle. The donor did not pay sales tax to the vendor, so use tax will be due when you license the vehicle.)
    You owe use tax when:
    • the goods are first used in Washington.
    Use tax is not due if:
    • goods are purchased for resale without intervening use;
    • goods purchased are to be used as an ingredient or part of a new product for sale;
    • goods purchased are feed, seed, seedlings, fertilizer, spray materials, or agents for enhanced pollination, for use in producing agricultural products for sale.
    • goods purchased are machinery and equipment used directly in a manufacturing operation.
More information
WAC 458-20-178
More information about use tax
Consumer Use Tax return (pdf)
Related questions & answers
Is freight subject to retail sales tax or use tax?
I bought some items over the Internet and was not charged sales tax. Do I owe sales tax on these items?
Are gifts subject to use tax?
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