It is a tax on the fair market value of non-commercial boats, 16 feet and over, used on Washington waters. This tax is in lieu of the property tax.
Some commercial vessels that are not subject to the watercraft excise tax may be subject to personal property tax, commonly referred to as the Commercial Vessel Tax (pdf).
The Department of Licensing and its agents, including county auditors and authorized private firms, collect the tax. The tax is paid annually by boat owners and is due by June 30 each year. The tax for newly registered boats is prorated to the following June 30.
The rate is .005 of the fair market value. There is a minimum fee of $5.00.
The fair market value of a vessel is calculated based on the year of ownership, using a depreciation schedule located in WAC 458-20-23801.
Funds are distributed to the state general fund.