Motor and urban transportation

A business that performs hauling for hire within the state of Washington is subject to the Public Utility Tax (PUT) under either the Motor Transportation or the Urban Transportation classification. The PUT on hauling for hire is generally due only on those trips that begin and end within Washington.

What is hauling for hire?

The term “hauling for hire” means the business of operating any motor vehicle to transport people or property owned by others, for a fee.

Examples include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle as an auto transportation company.
  • Operating a motor vehicle as a common carrier.
  • Operating a motor vehicle as a contract carrier.
  • Operating taxicabs or ride share vehicles.
  • Operating armored cars.
  • Renting or leasing motor vehicles with a driver, for use in hauling for hire.
  • Hauling extracted or manufactured materials over the state’s highways and private roads.

Hauling for hire does not include:

  • Operating auto wreckers or towing vehicles.
  • Operating school busses or ambulances.
  • Collecting or hauling garbage for disposal.
  • Transporting logs or other forest products exclusively upon private roads.
  • Hauling earth or other substance by a person taxable under the public road construction B&O tax classification.

What is the difference between Motor Transportation and Urban Transportation?

The Motor Transportation PUT classification applies to all in-state hauls unless the haul qualifies as an Urban Transportation haul.

The Urban Transportation PUT classification applies when the origin and destination of a haul are within any of the following:

  • The corporate limits of the same city.
  • Five miles of the corporate limits of the same city.
  • Five miles of the corporate limits of any two cities whose corporate limits are no more than five miles apart.

Mileage between cities, and between pickup and delivery points are determined by a straight line distance rather than road miles.

The motor and urban transportation classifications of the PUT rates are:

Classification Rate
Motor Transportation 1.926% (.01926)
Urban Transportation 0.642% (.00642)

You must maintain detailed records for any hauls that you report under the Urban Transportation PUT classification. In the event of an audit, any hauls reported under the Urban Transportation PUT classification that cannot be verified may be reclassified to the Motor Transportation PUT classification.


You must report your total gross income from hauling for hire under either the Motor Transportation PUT classification or the Urban Transportation PUT classification. The two most common deductions available for these classifications are described below. You cannot deduct your costs of doing business, or any amounts retained by freight brokers.

Amounts Paid to Another for Services Jointly Provided

This deduction is available for amounts you pay to another hauler for hire to complete a portion of a haul you are contracted to complete.

Example: You are hired to haul goods from Olympia to Spokane. You haul the goods from Olympia to North Bend. You hire another transportation company to haul the goods from North Bend to Spokane. You may deduct the amount you pay to the other transportation company.

Interstate and Foreign Sales

This deduction is available for hauls any of the following types of hauls:

  • Hauls that either begin or end outside Washington.
  • Hauls that end at an export facility, if the products are then shipped outside Washington in vessels.
    • Note: this deduction does not apply if the haul begins in the same city where the export facility is located.
  • Hauls within Washington that are related to imported or exported goods that have technically ceased movement in interstate commerce. These goods are shipped under a “through freight” billing.