Other taxes

Litter tax

Litter tax is imposed on those industries whose products are reasonably related to the litter problem. The tax applies to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of products falling into the following thirteen categories:

  • Food for human or pet consumption
  • Groceries
  • Cigarettes and tobacco products
  • Soft drinks
  • Beer and other malt beverages
  • Wine
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Household paper and paper products
  • Glass containers
  • Metal containers
  • Plastic or fiber containers made of synthetic material
  • Cleaning agents
  • Non-drug drugstore sundry products

The rate of the litter tax is 0.00015 (.015%) and it applies to sales of items falling in the above categories made within this state. It is imposed in addition to any other taxes and is reported on the Litter Tax line on the Excise Tax Return. Food, groceries, soft drinks, etc., are generally subject to the litter tax. Additional items that are subject to litter tax include prepared food and beverages, such as take-out, to-go and carry-out which will be eaten away from the seller’s place of business. WAC 458-20-243; Special Notice Litter Tax Exemptions for Prepared Food & Beverage

Personal property tax

Unless specifically exempt, all tangible personal property is subject to the personal property tax. Personal property tax rates are the same as for real property. Personal property includes machinery, equipment, furniture, and supplies of businesses.

In general, the characteristic that distinguishes personal property from real property is mobility. Household goods, certain intangibles, and business inventories are specifically exempt from personal property tax. However, if used in a business activity, the tax applies.

County assessors and treasurers levy and collect the property tax. Everyone who uses personal property in a business or has taxable personal property must complete a personal property affidavit by April 30 each year. The affidavit must list the taxable personal property located in the county as of 12:00 noon on January 1. The affidavit must include the acquisition cost and year acquired for all taxable property. The assessor uses the affidavit to value personal property for taxes due the following year.

Every January, county assessors mail personal property affidavits to people who have previously listed personal property. Businesses that do not receive an affidavit or that have questions regarding paying real and/or personal property taxes should contact their local county treasurer’s office. The number is listed in the county government section of the telephone directory.

Leasehold excise tax

The leasehold excise tax is in lieu of county property tax when persons or businesses lease or occupy publicly-owned real or personal property.

Public property is property owned by the federal government, Washington State, counties, school districts and other municipal corporations.

The amount subject to tax is generally the amount of rent, although certain expenses and improvement may also be included in the taxable amount.

Generally, the tax is collected by the public entity that leases the property. However, the federal government does not collect the tax. Therefore, persons leasing federal property must report and pay the tax directly to the Department.

Note: For more information regarding leasehold excise tax, contact the Department’s Taxpayer Account Administration Division. RCW 82.29A