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Q:  Why can an Oregon resident purchase clothing in a Washington store, present some identification, and not have to pay sales tax?

A: 

RCW 82.08.0273, provides an exemption from the retail sales tax to certain nonresidents of Washington for purchases of tangible personal property, digital goods, and digital codes, for use outside this state. This statutory exemption is available only to residents of states other than Washington, US possessions, or Canadian territories or provinces that do not impose or have imposed on their behalf, a generally applicable retail sales tax, use tax, value added tax, gross receipts tax on retailing activities, or similar generally applicable tax of 3% or more. Qualifying nonresident buyers must present picture identification noting their out-of-state address to the seller at the time of purchase.

Currently, residents of the following jurisdictions qualify for this exemption:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • American Samoa
  • Alberta
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon Territory

 

Purchases of meals, hotel rooms, laundry services, or other services or products the nonresident uses while in Washington do not qualify for the exemption.

More information
More information about sales to nonresidents
Excise Tax Advisory 3054.2011 (pdf)
RCW 82.08.0273
Buyers' Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (pdf)
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