Retail sales tax is Washington’s principal tax source. Businesses making retail sales in Washington collect sales tax from their customer.
Here is some more helpful information
- Generally, a retail sale is the sale of tangible personal property. It is also the sale of services such as installation, repair, cleaning, altering, improving, construction, and decorating. Other services include improving real or personal property, amusement and recreational activities, lawn maintenance, and physical fitness activities. See Services Subject to Sales Tax for examples of retail services. Further, sales of digital products to consumers are retail sales.
- Retail sales tax includes the state and local components of the tax.
- Sales tax amounts collected are considered trust funds and must be remitted to the Department of Revenue.
- The seller is liable to the Department of Revenue for sales tax, whether or not it is collected.
- Use tax is paid by the consumer when the retail sales tax was not collected by the seller/service provider.
- Businesses that make a purchase for resale must provide a reseller permit to the seller. If not, the seller must charge the buyer retail sales tax on the total purchase.
- Businesses also pay the retail sales tax on purchases of items for their own use (such as supplies or equipment) that will not be resold in the regular course of business.
Similarly, when a business purchases a retailing service for its own use, it must pay sales tax on the purchase.
Common exemptions include:
For a complete list of exemptions, see our list of retail sales and use tax exemptions.
Retail sales tax is not imposed on sales to Indians if the tangible personal property is delivered to the member or tribe in Indian Country or if the sale takes place in Indian Country. See our Indian Tax Guide for more information.
Effective January 1, 2018, certain marketplace facilitators, remote sellers and referrers, will be required to collect and remit retail sales tax or use tax on their sales into Washington or to provide certain notifications related to such sales. For more information, see our Marketplace Fairness webpage.
The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) is a cooperative effort of multiple states, local governments and the business community. SSUTA provides for a simpler and more uniform sales and use tax structure for businesses selling into multiple states. For more information, see our Streamlined sales tax webpage.
Effective July 1, 2008, retailers must collect local sales tax based on the destination of the shipment or delivery – “destination-based sales tax.” For more information, see our Destination-based sales tax webpage.
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