When the photographer is the consumer

Photographers are the consumers of equipment and supplies used in conducting their business, and must pay sales tax when purchasing these items. The photographer must pay deferred sales or use tax on the item if sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase. An example of when this can happen is when the photographer purchases equipment from an out of state vendor that does not collect sales tax from Washington customers.
Examples of equipment and supplies upon which the photographer must pay sales tax include:

  • Cameras
  • Lenses
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Computer software (including remote access software, or RAS)
  • Props used for staging
  • Office supplies

Examples of retail services that are subject to sales tax when purchased by a photographer include:

  • Remote access software (RAS) – Means possession of the software is maintained by the seller, who charges the customer for the right to access it (e.g., charges for word processing or spreadsheet software that you access remotely)
  • Digital automated services (DAS) – Means any service transferred electronically that uses one or more software applications (e.g., online searchable databases)