Commercial fishers are required to register with us and account for the business and occupation (B&O) tax.
If you catch fish in Washington waters, you are subject to B&O tax under the Extracting classification. The amount of tax due is calculated by multiplying this rate times the value of the fish (usually the selling price).
If you catch fish outside of Washington waters but selling your catch within Washington, you are subject to either the Wholesaling, or Retailing, unless the fish are sold in interstate or foreign commerce. The amount of tax due is calculated by multiplying the appropriate rate times the selling price of the fish. (The Wholesaling B&O tax applies to sales for resale; the Retailing B&O tax applies to sales to the final consumer.)
Commercial fisherman that sell fish to others that will resell the fish (wholesaling) must obtain a reseller permit from the buyer. This document must be retained for five years.
If you catch fish in Washington waters and sell them within Washington, other than in interstate or foreign commerce, you are liable for both the Extracting B&O tax and the Wholesaling or Retailing B&O tax. However, you are also entitled to the Multiple Activities Tax Credit (MATC) (pdf). The MATC allows the commercial fisher to take a credit against the Extracting B&O tax in an amount equal to the Wholesaling or Retailing B&O tax due on the selling activity. The effect of the MATC is to eliminate a double tax on a person who both catches and sells fish in Washington.
If you are not registered with us and should be, you must complete a Business License Application. These forms are available at your local department of Revenue, Labor & Industries, Licensing, or Employment Security offices and the Corporation Division of the Secretary of State.