Determining tax rate/sourcing retail sales

When you make retail sales, you must collect sales tax. You will determine the correct sales tax rate for retail sales by the destination of the sale – that is, the location where the buyer takes delivery of the goods.

For sales where you ship the goods to a buyer in Washington, you must charge the sales tax rate for the location where the goods are shipped – the destination of the sale.


  • Dave purchases and takes possession of a case of wine at the winery location in unincorporated Benton County. The winery will charge Dave the sales tax for unincorporated Benton County, where the winery is located and where he took delivery of the wine.
  • Lori is a wine club member of ABC Winery. The winery ships two bottles of wine every 4 months to her home in Tacoma. The winery will charge Lori the sales tax rate for her Tacoma home, since this is the destination of the sale and where she takes delivery of the wine.


Several tools are available on our web site to verify the correct location codes and sales tax rates for your sales, including:

  • Tax rate lookup tool: A tool where you type in the address and the tool displays the correct tax rate and location code.
  • Excel workbook: A downloadable tax calculator workbook using Microsoft Excel that displays tax rates and location codes, calculates totals, and summarizes sales by city or county without an online connection.
  • Rate flyer in Excel or QuickBooks file: An Excel or QuickBooks file with sales tax flyer information
  • Real-time Automated Lookup: Places a real-time look up tool directly into your system (programming required.)
  • Downloadable databases: Databases you can download to create your own lookup tools.
  • Customer database conversion: A service where a business with a consistent customer base sends a file of addresses and receives correct location codes and tax rates in return.