Military personnel

Military personnel stationed in Washington on more than a temporary basis are subject to sales/use tax on vessels and other property in the same way as nonmilitary Washington residents, regardless of any official "home of record" outside of Washington. If a member of the armed services purchases a vessel from a local dealer or broker, the dealer or broker must collect sales tax on the transaction.

Sales made by the United States government (i.e., the Post Exchange) to an authorized purchaser (military identification card holder) are not subject to retail sales tax. The authorized purchaser is also exempt from use tax.
(Military personnel here on a temporary basis receive the same tax treatment as nonresidents. See the discussion on Nonresidents.)

Vessel and trailer sales to nonresident military personnel

Nonresident military personnel may purchase vessels and take delivery in Washington without paying sales tax or use tax when the vessel is U.S. Coast Guard documented or pre-registered by the state or country where the vessel will be principally used after the sale and the vessel will be removed from Washington within 45 days of delivery.

Boat trailers sold to nonresident military personnel are exempt from retail sales tax if the dealer obtains a completed exemption certificate which establishes:

  • the purchaser is a bona fide nonresident of this state with the requisite identification and the trailer is for use outside of Washington; and
  • the trailer will be removed from their premises under the authority of either a trip permit or valid license plates issued to that property by the state of the purchaser's residence (such plates must be affixed to the trailer upon final delivery).

Reference: WAC 458-20-177