Veterinarians must collect retail sales tax on certain sales of tangible personal property and remit the tax to the state along with their B&O taxes. The retail sales tax is a tax on the consumer or user of tangible personal property and retail services in Washington. Buyers are subject to and must pay the sales tax when making retail purchases, sellers must collect and pay the tax to the Department of Revenue. Sellers are liable for the tax even if they do not collect it from the buyer.
Sales tax rates - Combined state and local sales tax
The state retail sales tax rate is 6.5% and local rates vary from 0.5% to 3%, for a combined rate of 7.0% to over 10% in some areas. Retail sales tax is based on the "selling price" of an item, which includes delivery charges and any other costs whatsoever paid or accrued. An updated list of all local rates is available each quarter.
Which rate to charge?
The location of sale determines the applicable local sales tax rate. In the case of goods delivered to a client, the place where delivery occurs determines the location of the sale. Therefore, veterinarians should collect sales tax at the rate for their business location when the items are picked up by the customer. When items are delivered to the customer, the sales tax is collected based on the rate where the buyer receives or takes possession of the merchandise.
Sales tax rates for any location in Washington can be found using our Tax Rate Lookup Tool.
Itemize sales tax
Sales records and receipts or invoices for sales subject to retail sales tax must separately list the sales tax. It is not sufficient to merely state that tax is included. When tax is not listed separately, the law presumes that the gross amount of the receipt is subject to sales tax and tax will be assessed on that amount.
Itemize sales taxable/non-sales taxable charges
Veterinary customers frequently make retail purchases of medicines and the like in conjunction with receiving veterinary services. For example, a pet owner may purchase pet vitamins at the same time their pet receives its annual checkup. The sales invoice must clearly identify the charge for veterinary services, the charge for the vitamins, and the sales tax charged and collected on the price of the vitamins.
Retail sales tax exemptions and deductions
Washington law provides certain exemptions from the retail sales tax.
Sales tax exemptions and deductions with comparable B&O tax exemptions and deductions
- Interstate and foreign sales
- Returns and allowances
- Bad debts
Sales tax exemptions and deductions without comparable B&O tax exemptions or deductions
- As of July 1, 2019, sales of tangible personal property to qualified nonresidents are no longer exempt at the point of sale. Instead, qualified nonresidents may request a refund directly from the Department of Revenue of state sales tax paid. See our Special Notice, Changes to the sales tax exemption for qualified nonresidents, for more information.
- Sales of feed for purebred livestock used for breeding purposes, providing the veterinarian obtains a completed purebred livestock exemption certificate (pdf) from the buyer.
- Sales of semen for use in artificial insemination of livestock. These sales remain subject to the Retailing B&O tax.
- Sales of USDA or FDA approved animal pharmaceuticals to farmers when such products will be administered to animals raised by farmers to produce agricultural products for sale. The farmer must provide the veterinarian with a completed exemption certificate (pdf).
- You may find complete information about USDA/FDA approved animal pharmaceuticals from the Food and Drug Administration.