Collecting sales tax - Local tax rates

Determining the correct local sales tax rate for sales of photographs

Sales of photos are sourced to the location where the customer receives the photo (i.e., the electronic file) if that location is known. Thus a photo received by a customer in Seattle would be sourced to Seattle (location code 1726), and taxed at Seattle’s sales tax rate.

However, the seller may not always have the information of the location where photos are received. For example, the customer could download the images from their home computer, from a mobile device, or elsewhere without providing a delivery address to the seller. In this case the seller must use an alternate sourcing method as provided by RCW 82.32.730. When the actual place of receipt is not known, then an address available from the seller’s business records is sufficient for sourcing the sale. If that information is not available, then the customer’s billing address may be used.

Sales of photos to out of state customers

You are not required to collect Washington sales tax when the photos are received by the customer at a location outside of Washington. This is true regardless of where the photos were actually taken. The Interstate and Foreign Sales deduction is used when filing your excise tax return to account for these sales.

Note: Selling a photo to an out of state customer is different than licensing the right to use a photo to an out of state customer for B&O tax purposes. See the “Licensing of Photographs” section in this guide for more information. See also “Apportionable B&O Tax Classifications.”