Sales tax on alarm monitoring services

What are alarm monitoring services?

Alarm monitoring involves people using computers, software, and telecommunications to monitor homes and businesses for break-ins, fires, and other unexpected events. Alarm monitoring may involve a combination of automation and human effort.

Sometimes, alarm monitoring is called home or business security, home or business monitoring, or security systems. Regardless of the name, this type of service is generally subject to retailing business and occupation (B&O) tax and retail sales tax.

Clarification of sales tax collection

Alarm monitoring is generally a digital automated service (DAS), as the service is transferred electronically and uses one or more software applications. As such, an alarm monitoring service provider must pay retailing B&O tax and collect and remit retail sales tax on sales of alarm monitoring services to consumers.

Human effort exclusion

If a service provider believes that its alarm monitoring activity is not a DAS because of the primarily human effort exclusion, then the service provider must overcome the presumption using the time and cost factors analysis detailed in WAC 458-20-15503.


ETA 3189.2018

RCW 82.04.192