Paying sales tax

Taxable purchases

Restaurants and similar businesses are considered consumers when purchasing goods or retail services for its own use and must pay retail sales or use tax when purchasing the following:

  • Cash registers, computer equipment and maintenance contracts.
  • Chairs, tables and other furnishings.
  • Dishes, silverware and plastic trays.
  • Equipment (ovens, grills, coffee makers, etc.).
  • Guest checks.
  • Inventory withdrawals (usually shirts and caps worn by employees).
  • Janitorial supplies.
  • Leasehold or building equipment.
  • Matches, pens and magazine subscriptions.
  • Pest control.
  • Punchboard and pull tabs.
  • Repair parts and labor.
  • Signs, lighted and unlighted advertising items and pictures.
  • Supplies and other items used in operation that are not for resale.
  • Tangible personal property purchased as prizes for punchboard winners.
  • Tap and vent cleaning.
  • Vending machines (purchases or rentals).

Goods for resale

Restaurants and similar businesses may use a reseller permit to purchase the following tax exempt:

  • Apparel and merchandise.
  • Inventory/meal ingredients.
  • Liquor, beer, and wine.
  • Paper napkins, toothpicks and straws.
  • Paper/plastic plates, cups, lids, and plastic utensils.
  • Soft drinks.
  • “To-go” food containers.

References: RCW 82.08.0293, WAC 458-20-124; WAC 458-20-244; WAC 458-20-102; and WAC 458-20-178.