Guided hunting and fishing trips

Guided hunting and fishing trips are amusement and recreation activities and therefore classified as retail sales. Persons providing guided hunting and fishing trips are required to collect and remit sales tax on their charges for this service. It doesn't matter whether the hunting or fishing guide provides the necessary equipment or gear to the customer, or the customer uses his or her own equipment and gear.

Hunting and fishing guides must be registered with the Washington State Department of Revenue. In addition, income from providing guided hunting and fishing services is subject to business and occupation (B&O) tax under the retailing classification, though this B&O tax liability may be eliminated or reduced by the small business tax credit (See WAC 458-20-104). To register, complete a Business License Application.

What sales tax rate to collect

The sales tax rate to collect is based on the place where the guide services begin in this state.

  1. For example, if you and your customer begin the fishing trip at a boat ramp on the Skookumchuck river in unincorporated Thurston County, and from there you travel by boat to other locations on the river to begin and continue fishing, you would collect the sales tax rate applicable for the boat ramp, which is the rate for unincorporated Thurston County (location code 3400). The fact that the fishing may occur in other taxing jurisdictions (locations) is immaterial.
  2. Likewise, if a hunting guide and customer began a hunting trip at a trailhead in Kittitas County, and from there pack by horse to set up a hunting camp in Chelan County, the hunting guide would collect the sales tax rate applicable for the trailhead location at which the hunting trip began, which is the rate for unincorporated Kittitas County (location code 1900). The fact that the actual hunting may occur either entirely in Chelan County, or partly within Chelan County and Kittitas County, is immaterial.

For a complete list of location codes and tax rates, see our Local Sales and Use Tax Rates and Changes flyer.

Package Deals

One Non-Itemized Charge or Separately Itemized Charges – For sales tax purposes, when a guided hunting or fishing trip is sold as a package deal (one non-itemized charge) that includes retail sales taxable products such as prepared meals, or lodging accommodations, and non-retail sales or services such as transportation, internet access, or resort fees, sales tax applies to the total charges. The seller is also subject to B&O tax under the retailing classification on the total charge and may be subject to other relevant taxes and charges, such as lodging taxes.

Example 1: Jerry’s Fishing Excursions offers a package deal that includes two days of guided fishing, overnight lodging accommodations,  two prepared meals per day, and internet access for one non-itemized charge of $500.

In this case, Jerry’s must collect sales tax on the $500 charge and would owe retailing B&O tax on the same amount.

Example 2: Assume the same facts, except that the charges are separately itemized for the purchaser.

In this case, Jerry's must collect sales tax on itemized charges for guided fishing services, lodging accommodations, and prepared meals. These charges are also subject to retailing B&O tax.

Sales tax would not apply to the separately itemized charge for Internet access. However, the income received for providing Internet access is subject to B&O tax under the Service and Other Activities classification.

Sales tax is due on all equipment used in providing your guide services

Persons providing guided hunting and fishing services must pay sales tax on all equipment, gear, and supplies used in providing such services. You may not use a reseller permit to make these purchases without paying sales tax. If you have not paid Washington state sales tax on your equipment, gear, or supply purchases, you are responsible for remitting sales or use tax directly to the Department on those items.