Business purchases: Retail sales or use tax

You must pay sales or use tax on items or retail services that you purchase for consumption or use in your winery business. Goods used in this state are subject to either sales tax or use tax, but not both.

What is use tax?

Use tax is a tax on the use of goods and certain services in Washington when sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase.

Option to pay sales vs. use tax?

If a seller is registered to do business in Washington, the seller is obligated to collect retail sales tax from the buyer, and the buyer is obligated to pay retail sales tax to the seller (assuming no sales tax exemption applies). Although the buyer has no option to choose which tax to pay, if the seller failed to collect the sales tax properly, that failure does not relieve the buyer from either (1) submitting the sales tax to the seller if subsequently requested by the seller, or (2) submitting use tax directly to the department for goods and services used in Washington.

Credit for sales or use tax paid elsewhere

When a local buyer purchases tangible personal property out of state for use in Washington, a dollar-for-dollar credit against the use tax may be taken for the amount of sales or use tax paid in the other state or country.

Canada’s goods and services tax (GST) is not a sales tax (it is a value added tax) and is not allowed as a credit against use tax.

Amount subject to tax

Use tax is due on the value of the goods or services when they are first put to use in Washington. Items which are purchased without payment of the retail sales tax and put to use in Washington are generally subject to use tax measured by the purchase price. This includes charges for labor, materials, freight, handling, or any other amount paid or accrued, even when separately stated on the invoice.

Rate of use tax

The use tax is separated into two parts just like the retail sales tax. The state portion is 6.5%. The local portion varies depending on where the goods are put to use.

Example: At the current (June 2021 rates), a Woodinville winery will pay 10.0% use tax on bar stools, while a Walla Walla winery will pay 8.9% use tax on the same items.

Intervening use

Sometimes wineries make purchases for resale, but at a later date part of the merchandise is put to the winery’s own use. Use tax is due at that time. For example: a winery may use glassware that was purchased for resale in the tasting room.

Items subject to sales or use tax

Common examples of items subject to sales or use tax include, but are not limited to:

  • Office equipment and furnishings.
  • Paper, promotional materials.
  • Tasting room equipment and furnishings.
  • Security system, landscaping.
  • Construction, repair, maintenance services for office/tasting rooms.
  • Cleaning supplies.
  • Glassware, wine openers, etc., used in tasting room.
  • Dishes, flatware, linens, etc. used in providing catering services.


WAC 458-20-178 Use tax and the use of tangible personal property.

RCW 82.12.035 Credit for retail sales or use tax paid to other jurisdictions with respect to property used.