Recreational services at a glance

The following information is effective January 1, 2016, except where noted.

HB 1550, Chapter 169, Laws of 2015, simplifies the taxation of “amusement and recreation activities.” Some recreational business activities were moved out of the definition of retail sale and into the service and other activities B&O tax classification. Some recreational business activities remained taxable under the same tax classification.

If you do not see your activity listed, or it is listed but you are still unsure, email us at Rulings@dor.wa.gov with a detailed explanation of the activities your business provides. We will respond to you with a written ruling explaining how your activities are taxable.

This listing provides guidance on activities that are recreational activities subject to the retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax, or associated activities that are subject to the service and other activities B&O tax. Please note that your business may provide some activities that are considered retail sales, and some activities subject to the service and other B&O tax.

Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for admission or access  to an amusement park, theme park, water park facility.  Includes, but is not limited to, locker or cabana rentals at these facilities. 1. A discrete charge for a ride or other attraction or entertainment that is in addition to the charge for admission to an amusement park, theme park, or water park facility. 2. Charges for admission or access to a park or zoo for which the primary purpose is the exhibition of wildlife, or fairs or carnivals, and festivals.  RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(iv) The definition of amusement park, theme park and water park excludes fairs, carnivals and festivals. A fair, carnival, or festival is an event that does not exceed twenty-one days and a majority of the amusement rides, if any, are not affixed to real property.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details

Charges for ballooning, hang gliding, indoor or outdoor sky diving, paragliding, parasailing and similar activities, including lessons.

Note: Skydiving or ballooning activities that take place in federal airways are exempt from sales tax and B&O tax. You can use tools such as http://vfrmap.com/ to determine if any of your business activities take place in a federal airway.

None.

RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(ii)

Designation of Class A, B, C, D, and E Airspace Areas; Air Traffic Routes; and Reporting Points

None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for batting cages, including lessons.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(v) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for bowling/playing a game of bowling, including lessons. Charges to participate in competitive bowling events. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(vi) Even though charges for competitive bowling events are not retail sales, amounts paid by event participants to the bowling alley operator are retail sales. Likewise, amounts paid by the event organizer to the operator of the bowling alley are retail sales if such amounts vary based on the number of event participants. 
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to bungee jump, zip line or ride inside a ball, including lessons.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(ix) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to climb/use an artificial climbing structure - indoors or outdoors, including lessons. None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(vii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged for day trips for sightseeing purposes.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(viii) If an activity is otherwise identified as a retail sale (e.g., river rafting), the charge for that activity is a retail sale regardless of the number of days over which that activity is provided.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to engage in fishing, including guided fishing, charter fishing, and amounts charged for access to private fishing areas, including lessons.  Charges to participate in fishing contests, and fishing licenses/fees imposed by a government entity. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xi) "Fishing derby"… means a fishing contest … wherein prizes are awarded for the species, size, weight, or quality of fish caught in a bona fide fishing or recreational event. (RCW 9.46.0229)
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to engage in motorized activities where the seller provides the vehicle and premises where the buyer will operate the vehicle, including lessons.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xiv) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to play golf, or any variant in which either a golf club or golf ball is used, such as  miniature golf, hitting golf ball at a driving range, and golf simulators, including fees charged to a player for using his own golf cart. Charges for golf lessons, (but only when the charge is stated separately from the green fees/golf facility charges), fees charged to participate in or conduct competitive golf events or tournaments.  RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(i)(A)&(B) Even though charges to participate in or conduct competitive golf events or tournaments are not retail sales, amounts paid by participants of the events to the golf facility operator are retail sales. Likewise, amounts paid by the event organizer to the golf facility are retail sales if such amounts vary based on the number of event participants. 

Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax

Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to the public for horseback riding, including guided rides, where the seller furnishes the horse to the buyer.   Horseback riding  where the primary focus is on providing instruction, and therapeutic horseback riding provided by an instructor certified by a nonprofit organization that offers national or international certification for therapeutic riding instructors. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(x) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for guided hunting, and hunting at game farms and shooting preserves, including lessons. Hunting contests and hunting license fees imposed by a government entity. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged for paintball and airsoft activities, including lessons.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xvii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for providing personal training (e.g. exercise training, conditioning training, strength training, fitness training, sports training, etc.) conducted at an Athletic or Fitness Facility (AFF) operated by the personal trainer. For a definition of AFF please see this website.

Charges to provide personal training at any location other than an Athletic or Fitness Facility (AFF) operated by the personal trainer.

Separately stated charges for nutritional consulting or body composition testing.

RCW 82.04.050(3)(g)(ii)(C) Personal trainers that provide their services at an AFF operated by another party must pay retail sales tax to the AFF on the charges for the use of the AFF, but they do not charge retail sales tax for the personal training services.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged for indoor or outdoor playground activities, such as inflatable bounce structures or other inflatables, mazes, trampolines, slides, ball pits, laser tag, soft-dart tag, other games of tag, and human gyroscope rides. These are retail sales regardless of whether such activities occur at the seller's place of business.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xv) The definition of retail sale does not include playground activities provided for children by a licensed child day care center or licensed family day care provider as those terms are defined in RCW 43.215.010. See RCW 82.04.2905.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to non-members to engage in shooting sports and activities such as target shooting, skeet, trap, sporting clays, "5" stand and archery. Fees to enter a competitive shooting events, and shooting instruction that is entirely or predominately (greater than 50 percent) classroom based,and membership fees at shooting clubs, shooting ranges and other shooting facilities. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xvi) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to members of the public for skating, such as ice skating, roller skating and inline skating. Skating lessons, competitive skating events, skating team activities, or fees to join or renew a membership at a skating facility, club or other skating organization.  RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xviii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for nonmotorized snow sports and activities such as downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and similar snow sports and activities, whether engaged in outdoors or in an indoor facility with or without snow, but only with respect to discrete charges to the public for the use of land or facilities to engage in nonmotorized snow sports activities. Includes fees, however labeled, for the use of ski lifts and tows and daily or seasonal passes for access to trails or other areas where nonmotorized snow sports are conducted.  Instructional lessons in nonmotorized snow sports and activities, permits issued by a government entity to park vehicles on or to access public lands, and permits or leases granted by an owner of private timberland for recreational access to areas used primarily for growing and harvesting timber. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xix) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
All charges made to members of the public for recreational or fitness swimming, open swim, lap swimming, special pool events like "kids night out"  and pool parties during open swim time, and pool parties for private events such as birthdays, family gatherings and employee outings. Includes swimming lessons provided at an athletic or fitness facility.  Swimming lessons not provided at an athletic or fitness facility, fees charged to participate in swim meets and other swim competitions, and fees charged to join a swim team, swim club or aquatic facility. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xiii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for air hockey, billiards, pool, foosball, darts, shuffleboard, ping pong, and similar games, including lessons.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(iii) None.
Activities subject to retail sales tax and Retailing B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to service and other B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
All charges related to providing scuba diving, snorkeling, river rafting, kayaking, canoeing, longboarding, surfing, kiteboarding, flyboarding, water slides, inflatable water pillows, water trampolines, water rollers and similar water sports and activities, including lessons. 

Charges made by a vocational school for commercial diver training that is licensed by the workforce training and education coordinating board under chapter 28C.10 RCW. 

Fees charged to participate in sailing (excluding daytrips for sightseeing) and recreational and competitive rowing activities using a racing shell or scull where the oars are held in place by oarlocks, often times in a team sport or competitive nature (e.g. crew), including membership dues and classes.

RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xx)

RCW 82.04.050(15)(a)(xiii)

Bare equipment rentals are retail sales.

Other recreational activities

This listing provides guidance on activities that are recreational activities subject to the service and other activities B&O tax, or associated activities that are subject to the retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax. Please note that your business may provide some activities that are considered retail sales, and some activities subject to the service and other B&O tax.

Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, modern, swing, contra, country-western, belly dancing, flamenco, and similar dance classes, or providing the opportunity to dance at a night club or dance facility. Dance classes provided at an athletic or fitness facility.    RCW 82.04.290(2) and RCW 82.04.050(3)(g)(iv)(A) None.

 

Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for day camps offered by a nonprofit organization or state or local government entity that provide youth not older than 18, or that are focused on providing individuals with disabilities or mental illness, the opportunity to participate in a variety of supervised activities.  None. RCW 82.04.050(15)(b)(iv) None.
Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details

Amounts charged to participate in gymnastics where the activity does not take place at an athletic of fitness facility.

Gymnastics classes provided at an athletic or fitness facility. Sales of T-shirts, water bottles, and other tangible personal property.

RCW 82.04.290(2) and RCW 82.04.050(3)(g)(iv)(A)

None.

Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to enter running events (e.g. marathons, half-marathons 5K, etc.), triathlons, and bicycling events. Sales of T-shirts, water bottles, and sales of other tangible personal property, etc.  RCW 82.04.290 and RCW 82.08.020 None.
Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Fees charged to participate in a soccer, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, softball team or other league play, where the league activity takes place at a facility that does not meet the definition of an athletic or fitness facility.  Fees charged to participate in league play taking place at a facility that meets the definition of an athletic or fitness facility.  Sales of T-shirts, water bottles, and sales of other tangible personal property, etc. RCW 82.04.290(2), RCW 82.04.050(3)(g) and RCW 82.08.020 None.
Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to rent soccer fields, baseball fields, hockey rinks, basketball courts, volleyball courts, football fields.  Amounts charged for the use of any facility that meets the definition of an athletic or fitness facility. RCW 82.04.290(2) and RCW 82.04.050(3)(g) None.
Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Charges for providing and operating a trailer fitted out as a video arcade where the customer and their guests enter the trailer to play video games. Sales of T-shirts, water bottles, and sales of other tangible personal property, etc.  RCW 82.04.290(2) None.
Activities subject to service and other activities B&O tax Similar or associated activities subject to retail sales tax and retailing B&O tax Statute / RCW reference Additional details
Amounts charged to participate in yoga, tai chi and chi gong that takes place in a facility that does not meet the definition of an athletic or fitness facility. Effective October 19, 2017, includes martial arts. All charges related to providing yoga, tai chi or chi gong provided at an athletic or fitness facility. Effective October 19, 2017, includes martial arts. RCW 82.04.050(3)(g)(i)(H) and RCW 82.04.050(3)(g)(iv)(A) None.