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Definitions for state public utility and other tax classifications are listed below. Use these definitions to determine the classification(s) under which you need to report your sales.


For assistance in determining the correct classification(s) for your business, or if you have received a return that does not have the classification(s) you need, contact us.


 

 

 

 

 

 
  Cigar Tax ($0.69 or more)
Cigar tax is paid at the time the distributor brings (or causes to be brought) cigars into the state for sale. The cigar tax is levied on the total number (quantity) of cigars purchased for $0.69 or more. Cigars purchased for less than $0.69 are included in the Tobacco Products/Cigars (less than $0.69) tax classification. Effective May 1, 2010, the tax increased from 75 to 95 percent of taxable sales price, with the cap per cigar increasing from 50 to 65 cents. Little cigars become a separate category of Other Tobacco Products, taxed at the same rate as cigarettes. See our Special Notice – Tobacco Tax Rate Increases and Definition Changes.
 
 


E911 Prepaid Wireless
Effective January 1, 2014, State and County Enhanced E911 (E911) taxes are imposed on retail transactions of prepaid wireless services. This tax is collected by the retailer of prepaid wireless services.

Prior to January 1, 2014, the E911 tax on prepaid wireless services was imposed on radio access lines and was collected by the service provider.

The State E911 Tax may be imposed at $0.25 per retail transaction. The County E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.70 per retail transaction. RCW 82.14B.030 provides additional information on State and County E911 tax. See our Special Notice.

 
 


E911 Wireline
State and County Enhanced 911 (E911) tax are imposed on switched access lines. Effective January 1, 2011, SSB6846 provides that the County E911 be paid to and administered by the Department of Revenue. Prior to January 1, 2011, County E911 was paid directly to each county.

The State E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.25 per switched access line per month. The County E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.70 per switched access line per month. RCW 82.14B.030 provides additional information on State and County E911 tax.

The Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) and Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) taxes are also imposed on switched access lines.

The TRS tax may be imposed up to $0.19 per switched access line per month. The WTAP tax may be imposed up to $0.14 per switched access line per month. WAC 458-20-270 provides additional information on TRS and WTAP taxes.

For more information, please see our special notice.

 
 


E911 Wireless

State and County Enhanced 911 (E911) tax are imposed on radio access lines. Effective January 1, 2011, SSB6846 provides that the County E911 be paid to and administered by the Department of Revenue. Prior to January 1, 2011, County E911 was paid directly to each county.

The State E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.25 per radio access line per month. The County E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.70 per radio access line per month. RCW 82.14B.030 provides additional information on State and County E911 tax.

For more information, please see our special notice.

 
 


E911 Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)

Effective January 1, 2011, SSB6846 imposes State and County Enhanced 911 (E911) tax on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service lines.

The State E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.25 per VOIP service line per month. The County E911 tax may be imposed up to $0.70 per VOIP service line per month. RCW 82.14B.030 provides additional information on State and County E911 tax.

For more information, please see our special notice.

 
 


Gas Distribution; Telegraph

  • Gas Distribution
    Operation of a plant or system for the production or distribution, for hire or sale, of natural and/or manufactured gas. WAC 458-20-179.
  • Telegraph
    Operation of a telegraph service. WAC 458-20-179; RCW 82.16.010
 
 
Hazardous Substance
Persons first possessing hazardous substances in Washington. The tax is imposed on the value of the goods as defined by federal law as hazardous. WAC 458-20-252
 
 
Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) for the Intellectually Disabled
Facilities certified by the Department of Social and Health Services and the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to provide residential care under 42 U. S. C. Sec. 1396d(d). The tax is based on the gross income attributable to services for the mentally handicapped. For more information call (360) 902-7151. RCW 82.65A
 
 
Litter Tax
Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers making sales in 14 categories of products are subject to the litter tax. The tax rate is .015% and is calculated on the gross proceeds of sales. WAC 458-20-243; RCW 82.19.010
 
 


Little Cigar Tax

An excise tax due and payable by the first distributor who possesses tobacco products in this state. "Little cigar" means a cigar that has a cellulose acetate integrated filter. Effective May 1, 2010, little cigars are taxed at the same rate per unit as cigarettes. See our Special Notice - Tobacco Tax Rate Increases and Definition Changes (pdf)

 
 


Log Hauling Over Public Highways
Transporting logs by truck, other than exclusively upon private roads. RCW 82.16

 
 
Moist Snuff

An excise tax due and payable by the first distributor who possesses tobacco products in this state. "Moist snuff" means tobacco that is finely cut, ground, or powdered. It is not for smoking and is intended to be placed in the oral, but not the nasal, cavity. Effective October 1, 2010, the tax rate and classification changed for moist snuff. The tax is based on the net weight by the manufacturer at the rate of $2.526 per single unit of 1.2 ounces or less and at a proportionate rate for larger single units. See our Special Notice - Moist Snuff Tax Rate and Classification Changes (pdf)
 
 


Motor Transportation; Railroad; Railroad Car

  • Motor Transportation
    Operation of any motor propelled vehicle by which persons or property of others are moved for hire. Note: See Urban Transportation. WAC 458-20-180
  • Railroad
    Operation of any railroad used for transportation of property or persons upon the line of any railroad operated in this state when such railroad is not owned or leased by the person engaging in such business. WAC 458-20-179
  • Railroad Car
    Operation of cars used for transportation of property or persons upon the line of any railroad operated in this state when such railroad is not owned or leased by the person engaging in such business. WAC 458-20-179
 
 
Other Public Service Business
Businesses not otherwise classified, subject to control by the state, or declared by law to be of a public service nature, such as certain airplane transportation, ferry, toll bridge, tugboat, or wharf businesses. WAC 458-20-179
 
 
Petroleum
Persons first possessing petroleum products in Washington. Note: This is a special fund. Once a predetermined amount has been reached, this line will be shaded and no tax will be due. When the fund falls below the predetermined amount, the shading will be removed and the tax will be due again. WAC 458-20-252
 
 
Power
Operation of a plant or system for the generation, production, or distribution of electrical energy for hire or sale. The tax is levied on the person making the final distribution within the state. WAC 458-20-179
 
 
Quality Maintenance Fee on Nursing Facility Operators
From July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2007, nursing home operators were subject to a monthly fee of $6.50 per patient – per patient day. The fee was repealed on July 1, 2007. See Nursing Facility Quality Maintenance Fee Repealed (pdf).
 
 
Refuse Collection
Refuse tax is paid by customers and remitted by the refuse collectors on the charge for refuse collection only. Landfill charges are subject to the refuse collection tax. Note: Gross income is also taxable on line 13, service and other activities B&O tax. WAC 458-20-250
 
 
Rental Car Tax
Rental cars are subject to a 5.9% rental car tax on retail car rentals, for periods not in excess of 30 consecutive days. The 5.9% rental car tax applies in addition to the retail sales tax. All counties are authorized to collect an additional 1% tax on retail car rentals. "Rental car" means a passenger car used solely by a rental car business for rental to others without a driver provided by the rental car business. "Rental car" does not include a car licensed and operated as a taxi cab or a leased car that, at the time the lease is entered, is rented for a continuous poeriod of 30 days or more. (Leased cars are subject to motor vehicle excise tax.) For more information, see our Rental Car Tax page.
 
 
Sewer Collection
Collection of sewerage. Note: The transfer, storage, treatment and disposal of sewerage is subject to the service and other activities B&O tax. WAC 458-20-251
 
 
Solid Fuel Burning Device Fee
Retailers making sales of solid fuel burning devices collect the $30 per unit fee from consumers. These devices include wood stoves, coal stoves, fireplaces, including masonry and zero clearance fireplace inserts, and other similar devices which burn solid fuel. RCW 70.94.483
 
 


Spirits Liter Sales to Consumers
This tax applies to the retail sale of spirits in their original container to consumers. The spirits liter tax is based on the net number of liters being sold.

The net number of liters sold is the total number of liters sold, minus liters associated with Bad Debts, Returns, Sales to the U.S. Government or Interstate and Foreign Sales.

The tax rate is $3.7708 per liter. RCW 82.08.150

Please note this tax does not apply to the sale of spirits sold by the glass or drink for on-premises consumption. Sales of poured drinks containing spirits are subject to the general retail sales tax under RCW 82.08.020.

 
 
Spirits Liter Sales to On-Premises Licensees

This tax applies to the sale of spirits in their original container to on-premises licensees. The spirits liter tax is based on the net number of liters being sold.

The net number of liters sold is the total number of liters sold, minus liters associated with Bad Debts, Returns, Sales to the U.S. Government or Interstate and Foreign Sales.

The tax rate is $2.4408 per liter. RCW 82.08.150

An on-premises licensee is a business such as a restaurant, bar, tavern, etc., that is licensed by the Liquor Control Board under Title 66 RCW to sell spirits by the individual glass or drink for on-premises consumption.

Please note that sellers of spirits must keep adequate documentation to show that their spirits sales were to an on-premises licensee subject to the lower spirits liter tax rate of $2.4408 per liter. If sellers do not keep adequate documentation, the Department will presume all of their sales are to consumers subject to the spirits liter tax at the rate of $3.7708 per liter.

 
 


Spirits Sales to Consumers

This tax applies to the retail sale of spirits in their original container to consumers. The spirits sales tax rate on retail sales to consumers is 20.5% of the gross selling price of the spirits. RCW 82.08.150

Spirits sales to consumers are also subject to Retailing B&O tax. Add the gross amount for Spirits Sales to Consumers to any gross amounts reported under the Retailing B&O tax classification.

Note: This tax does not apply to the sales of spirits sold by the glass or drink for on-premises consumption. Sales of poured drinks containing spirits are subject to the general retail sales tax under RCW 82.08.020.

 
 


Spirits Sales to On-Premises Licensees
This tax applies to the sale of spirits in their original container to on-premises licensees. The spirits sales tax rate on these sales is 13.7% of the gross selling price of the spirits. (RCW 82.08.150)

An on-premises licensee is a business such as a restaurant, bar, tavern, etc., that is licensed by the Liquor Control Board under Title 66 RCW to sell spirits by the individual glass or drink for on-premises consumption.

Sellers of spirits must keep adequate documentation to show that their spirits sales were to on-premises licensees subject to the lower spirits sales tax rate of 13.7 %. If sellers do not keep adequate documentation, the Department will presume all of their sales are to consumers subject to the spirits sales tax at the rate of 20.5 %.

Spirits Sales to On-Premises Licensees is also subject to Wholesaling Business & Occupation (B&O) tax. Please add the gross amount for Spirits Sales to On-Premises Licensee to any gross amounts reported under the Wholesaling B&O tax classification.

 
 
State Enhanced 911 Tax
Telecommunication companies are required to collect and remit a 20 cent per month fee on switched access lines to fund the Enhanced 911 (E911) telephone system. RCW 82.14B
 
 


Syrup Tax

The syrup tax is $1.00 per gallon on each gallon of product sold, with fractional amounts taxed proportionally. The buyer pays the tax to the wholesaler, who collects it from the buyer unless prohibited from doing so under the state Constitution. When there are such prohibitions, the wholesaler is liable for the tax. When a retailer sells carbonated beverages or uses syrup purchased from a wholesaler who has not collected the tax, the retailer must report and pay the tax. WAC 458-20-255.

 
 


Tire Fee
A $1 per tire fee on the retail sale of new replacement vehicle tires. The tire fee must be paid by the buyer to the seller. The tire fee is not subject to sales tax. Tire sellers may retain ten percent of the fee and must remit the remainder to the Department. The amount that must be remitted to the Department is calculated by multiplying the number of tires sold by the rate of $0.90. See our Special Notice - Tire Fee Reimposed on New Replacement Vehicle Tires (pdf) .

 
 
Tobacco Products/Cigars (less than $0.69)
An excise tax due and payable by the first distributor who possesses tobacco products in this state.  "Tobacco products" means all tobacco products, except cigarettes, as defined in RCW 82.26.010, including, but not limited to cigars, pipe tobacco, roll your own or chewing tobacco, etc.  The tax is paid by the distributor at the time the distributor brings (or causes to be brought) the tobacco products into the state for sale. In most instances, the measure of the tax is levied on the actual price the distributor paid for the tobacco products and cigars, including shipping and handling.  Only cigars purchased for less than $0.69 are included in this classification.  Cigars purchased for $0.69 or more are entered separately under the Cigar Tax ($0.69 or more) classification.  Effective May 1, 2010, moist snuff became a separate category of Other Tobacco Products. See our Special Notice - Tobacco Tax Rate Increases and Definition Changes (pdf).
 
 


Urban Tranporation; Vessels Under 65 Feet

  • Urban Transportation
    Operation of any motor propelled vehicle by which persons or property of others are moved for hire within five miles of the corporate limits or entirely within the corporate limits of a city. WAC 458-20-180
  • Vessels Under 65 Feet
    Operation of vessels under 65 feet upon waters entirely within Washington, except tugboats. WAC 458-20-181
 
 
Water Distribution
Operation of a plant or system, including nonprofit, for the distribution of water for hire or sale. WAC 458-20-179