Fire protection districts are subject to the business and occupation (B&O) tax on certain income. However, they are not subject to the B&O tax on amounts derived from activities that are exclusively governmental.
Fire protection districts were created to provide fire protection for citizens and property within their geographic district. However, there needed to be a plan in place to deal with disasters beyond the resources of a single fire district. Thus, RCW 52.12.111 permits a fire protection district to use its equipment and personnel beyond the boundaries of the district. The law goes on to say that “any use made of the equipment or personnel... shall be deemed an exercise of a governmental function of the district.”
Since the use of equipment and personnel by a fire protection district beyond the boundaries of the district constitutes a governmental function, income received for such services are not subject to B&O tax. Refer to RCW 82.04.419 and WAC 458-20-189.