Sales and use tax classification definitions

Definitions for each sales and use tax classification are listed below. Use these definitions to determine the classification(s) under which you need to report your sales.

For assistance in determining the correct classification(s) for your business, or if you have received a return that does not have the classification(s) you need, contact us.


King County Food and Beverage Tax

Note: This tax expired on October 1, 2011.

A special stadium sales and use tax on food and beverages sold by restaurants, taverns, and bars in King County. The tax applies only to food and beverage sales that are already subject to retail sales tax, and is in addition to any other sales or use tax that applies to these sales. WAC 458-20-12401

Local Retail Sales Tax

Businesses collect both the state and local sales tax. Local taxes are used by cities and counties to fund services such as police and fire protection, water/garbage/sewer service, and mass transit. For local tax rates and codes, refer to the List of Local Sales Tax Rates or the Department's Tax Rate Lookup Tool. WAC 458-20-145

Local Use Tax/Deferred Sales Tax

For local tax codes and rates, refer to the List of Local Sales Tax Rates. WAC 458-20-145.

Motor Vehicle Sales/Rentals/Leases

Effective July 1, 2003, motor vehicles are subject to an additional sales/use tax of 0.3 percent. The tax applies to sales, rentals and leases of motor vehicles (including trucks and motor homes) licensed for on-road use. This tax does not apply on retail car rentals that are subject to rental car tax. See our Special Notice - Motor Vehicle Tax .

Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Tax

Retail sales occurring within the RTA boundaries (portions of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) are subject to an additional tax of nine-tenths of one percent (.009). Businesses or persons located within the RTA area who owe use tax on tangible personal property will also owe the additional .009 on all items subject to the use tax. Use the Department's Tax Rate Lookup Tool to determine if a location is within the RTA boundary. RCW 81.104.170

Note: Effective January 1, 2008, the RTA tax is no longer reported on a separate line of the excise tax return. It is now reported in the Local City and/or County Sales and Use Tax section of the excise tax return and included in the local rate.

Self-Produced Fuel Used in Operation by Extractor/Manufacturer Use Tax

Extractors and manufacturers owe state use tax on fuel they produce and use directly in those operations; however, local use tax is not due. RCW 82.12.0203.

Self-Produced Refinery Fuel Gas Use Tax

Refineries owe state use tax at a preferential rate on refinery fuel gas they produce and use directly in operations; however, local use tax is not due. RCW 82.12.0203.

State Retail Sales Tax

Retail sales tax applies to the sale, rental, repair, or installation (including labor) of tangible personal property purchased by consumers for their own use (not for direct resale or as an ingredient used to produce or process an article for resale.) Includes transient lodging and some amusement, personal services and recreation activities, landscaping, automobile parking and towing. Construction (materials and labor) performed for a consumer is a retail activity. This line represents the state portion of the total sales tax collected. See list of Services Subject to Sales Tax. RCW 82 04.050; 82.08.020

State Use Tax/Deferred Sales Tax

Use tax applies to all tangible personal property used in Washington when the state's sales tax has not been paid. The tax is based on the value of the goods at the time of first use in Washington. Effective June 1, 2002, the value of goods at time of first use has been changed to include shipping and handling charges. The purchase price usually determines the value of items. No deductions are allowed from use tax. However, there is a credit for the amount of sales and use tax paid by the user in another state (see Other Credits). This line represents the state portion of the total use tax owed. For local and regional taxes, see Local Use /Deferred Sales Tax and Regional Transit Authority Tax. WAC 458-20-178

Over Collected Sales Tax

Occasionally businesses over collect sales tax in error. If the business does not refund the over-collected sales tax directly to the original purchaser, then the business must collect and send the sales tax to the Department of Revenue. RCW 82.08.050