When does litter tax apply?
Litter tax will apply when sales of food and beverages are:
- packaged for sale in to-go containers, or
- wrapped in a way that makes it easy to carry the food away from the seller’s premises, regardless of where a restaurant is located.
When does litter tax not apply?
Litter tax will not apply when food or beverages are served:
- for immediate consumption indoors at the seller's place of business, or
- served for immediate consumption at an eating area that is connected to the seller’s place of business, and that is controlled by the seller (such as a deck or patio), or
- with reusable dishes and utensils to a customer on the seller’s premise for immediate consumption (even if the customer only eats part of the meal and requests “to go” containers to take leftovers home).
The Department assumes that popcorn sales at movie theaters are for consumption at the seller’s premises and are not subject to litter tax.
How are the exempt sales recorded?
To claim exemption from litter tax, sellers must track and distinguish those sales for immediate consumption on its premises from its other sales.
General information about litter tax
Litter tax applies to sales of certain products that contribute to litter problems. The specific products are defined in Chapter 82.19 RCW. The litter tax rate is .00015 (.015 percent).
Taxable products sold by restaurants generally include:
- food served “to go,” or packaged for sale in to-go containers
- beverages served “to go,” or packaged for sale in to-go containers
- cigarettes/tobacco products
- WAC 458-20-243
- Special Notice, Litter Tax Exemptions for Prepared Food and Beverages.