A nonresident is an individual who enters Washington on a transitory basis and does not show an intent to reside in Washington on a full- or part-time basis.

The term "nonresident" does not include:

  1. Persons who maintain residences in more than one state, if one of the states is Washington.
  2. Persons who live in Washington and intend to reside in another state, but who have not established residency in that state.

Three-month limitation

Nonresidents (including students) who are temporarily residing in Washington must pay retail sales tax when purchasing a vehicle, if they intend to use the vehicle in Washington for more than three months.

Sales of motor vehicles to nonresidents

Sales tax does not apply to sales of motor vehicles, trailers, or campers to nonresidents for use outside of this state, even though delivery is made within this state, under the following conditions:

  1. The vehicles will be taken from the point of delivery in this state directly to a point outside this state under the authority of a trip permit; or
  2. The vehicles will be registered and licensed immediately (at the time of delivery) under the laws of the state of the purchaser's residence, will not be used in this state more than three months, and will not be required to be registered and licensed under the laws of this state.
  3. If the vehicle bears Washington state license plates, the dealer must remove the Washington plates before delivering the vehicle and certify that Washington plates were removed by completing and signing the Seller's Certificate (In-State Delivery).
  4. The dealer must retain the following documents:
    1. A copy of the buyer's currently valid out-of-state driver's license or other official picture identification issued by a jurisdiction other than Washington state;
    2. A copy of any one of the following documents, on which there is an out-of-state address for the buyer:
      1. A current residential rental agreement;
      2. A property tax statement from the current or previous year;
      3. A utility bill, dated within the previous two months;
      4. A state income tax return from the previous year;
      5. A voter registration card;
      6. A current credit report; or
      7. Any other document determined by the department to be acceptable, with buyer's street address, such as:
        1. A bank statement issued within the previous two months;
        2. A government check issued within the previous two months;
        3. A pay check issued within the previous two months;
        4. Mortgage documents of current residence;
        5. Current vehicle insurance card;
        6. Letter or other documentation issued by the postmaster within the previous two months;
        7. Other government document issued within the previous two months;
  5. The dealer must retain a properly completed Buyer's Affidavit and Seller's Certificate (In-State Delivery).

A dealer is personally liable for the uncollected sales tax if the dealer:

  • Sells a motor vehicle, trailer, or camper to a person who does not provide the documents required.
  • Fails to retain the documents required for a minimum of five years.

Also see Exempt Vehicle Sales.

Sales of motor vehicles to nonresident corporations

Sales tax does not apply to sales of motor vehicles, trailer, or campers to nonresident corporations for use outside of this state. The sale must meet the same requirements as those stated above for qualified nonresidents. However, in this case, a distinction must be made between the corporation and its employees or officers. Therefore, in addition to the above requirements, the dealer must establish that the corporation is the purchaser (for example, paid for by corporate check and registered in the corporation's name). The exemption still applies, for example, when an officer or employee, purchasing on behalf of the corporation, is a Washington resident when all the other requirements are met.

Sale of vehicle parts and repairs

Component parts are subject to the same exemptions as the vehicle itself if they are:

  • Installed by the auto dealer prior to delivery and acceptance by the buyer.
  • Delivered as part of the vehicle.
  • Documented in the contract of sale.

Starting July 1, 2019, sales of unattached component parts to qualified nonresidents for use outside this state are no longer exempt from retail sales tax at the point of sale. However, qualified nonresidents may request a refund directly from the Department of Revenue of the state portion of the sales tax paid. The seller must certify in writing to the buyer that the charges for parts do not exceed the seller’s current advertised retail price. If the seller does not advertise a price for the part, then the seller must certify that the charges for the parts do not exceed the seller’s cost for the parts.

If the parts are delivered to the customer outside Washington, the sale is exempt from B&O tax and retail sales tax as an interstate and foreign sale.

If the part is included in a repair, the sales invoice must separately state the charges for parts and labor. A refund may be available for tax paid on the parts only; no refund is available for the tax paid on labor.

As of July 1, 2019, only residents of the following qualify:


U.S. possessions

Canadian provinces/territories


American Samoa




Northwest Territories







New Hampshire






Foreign diplomats

See Foreign and Diplomats

Delivery to noncontiguous states

Persons who are residents of noncontiguous states, territories or possessions of the United States (i.e. Alaska, Hawaii) may purchase parts and vehicles exempt from the retail sales tax under certain conditions. The dealer must:

  1. Deliver the property to the purchaser or its designated agent at the usual receiving terminal of the for-hire carrier selected to transport the goods, under such circumstance that it is reasonably certain that the goods will be transported directly to the specified destination.
  2. Receive a certification from the purchaser that the goods or vehicles will not be used in the state of Washington and are intended for use in the specified noncontiguous state, territory or possession.
  3. Receive written instructions signed by the purchaser directing delivery of the goods or vehicle to a dock, depot, warehouse, airport or other receiving terminal for transportation of the goods to their place of ultimate use.

    Where the purchaser is also the carrier, delivery may be to a warehouse receiving terminal or other facility maintained by the purchaser when the circumstances are such that it is reasonably certain that the goods will be transported directly to their place of ultimate use.

  4. Receive a dock receipt, memorandum bill of lading, trip sheet, cargo manifest or other document evidencing actual delivery to such dock, depot, warehouse, freight consolidator or forwarder, or receiving terminal.

    The Buyers' Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (pdf) should be completed to meet part of the above requirements. Please note that the Retailing B&O tax is due on these transactions.

Vehicles shipped to customers outside of Washington

If a nonresident purchases a vehicle in Washington and has it shipped to them outside of Washington as a condition of sale, no B&O or retail sales tax is due. It is considered an interstate sale.

However, if a nonresident signs paperwork indicating that the vehicle is delivered outside the state, when the vehicle is actually delivered to the buyer in Washington, then the B&O tax applies. In other words, the factual events override the terms of the agreement.

If the vehicle had Washington license places, the dealer must keep evidence that the Washington plates were removed from the vehicle before delivery to a nonresident.

If the dealer is involved in obtaining Washington license plates or Washington license plates are attached the dealer must collect the use tax.


The dealer must have documentary proof that the vehicle, as required by the sales contract, was delivered outside the state and that any Washington state license plates have been removed.

The dealer must keep the following information in its records:

  1. The contract or agreement of sale, if any, and
  2. If shipped by a for-hire carrier; a bill of lading or other contract of carriage indicating the seller has delivered the goods to the for-hire carrier for transport to the purchaser or the purchaser's agent at a point outside the state. The seller must be shown on the contract of carriage as the consignor (or other designation of the person sending the goods) and the purchaser or its agent as consignee (or other designation of the person to whom the goods are being sent); or
  3. If sent by the seller's own transportation equipment:
    1. A Buyer's Certificate (Out-of-State Delivery) - in substantially the form prescribed in WAC 458-20-177.
    2. Seller's Certificate (Out-of-State Delivery) - signed by the person who actually delivers the vehicle to the buyer.
    3. These certificates must be completed only after the delivery occurs.

Note: Questionable circumstances or contradictory information may raise questions as to the authenticity or accuracy of the certificates. This may negate the exemption or additional information may be requested.


Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 458-20-177
Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 458-20-193
Excise Tax Advisory (ETA) 3054 (pdf)
Special Notice: Vehicles and Parts Sales to Nonresidents (Issued June 28, 2019) (pdf)
Special Notice: Sales of Auto Parts to Nonresidents (Issued June 27, 2019) (pdf)