Sales Tax Updates in Washington

Tax Professionals' Resource
January 26, 2013 — 1,419 views  
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Following are recent sales tax updates for Washington State:

City of Sequim

Sales and use tax rates in the City of Sequim will increase by one-tenth of one percent. This tax increase will be used for public safety and criminal justice projects. Businesses that neglect to collect the increased amount of tax will be liable for it.

Also, thirty six months of motor vehicle leases are now exempt from Sequim's public safety tax.

San Juan County

Sales and use taxes here will also increase three tenths of one percent. Criminal justice and public safety projects will benefit from this increase.

Spirit Sales Privatized

Initiative 1183 required Washington to close all state liquor stores by May 31, 2012, and to allow private retailers to begin public sales beginning June 1, 2012. Many new taxes apply to this change, so retailers should consult their tax professional for advice.

By the way, any beverage that contains over 24 percent alcohol by volume is considered a spirit as opposed to a fermented malt beverage. If a restaurant spirits retailer has incorrectly paid taxes, they can ask for a refund.

The alcohol taxes paid by consumers will not change according to Initiative 1183. Although spirits taxes were itemized at state run liquor stores, private vendors are no longer required to do this. Businesses are required to inform consumers of the amount of state taxes paid if the buyer specifically requests this information.

Spokane News

The City of Spokane is partnering with the BLS in order to become more effective in streamlining business registration and permit renewals. Now Spokane businesses can go directly to the BLS site to access forms.

There are over 16,000 local businesses in Spokane and many will greatly benefit from this new streamlined registration process.

Tax Workshops

Washington State holds workshops for new business owners to help them understand business tax collection and tax reporting duties. Tax classifications, sales tax collections, requirements for record keeping and other sales and use tax issues will be explored. These classes will be held in Spanish and in English.

Registration Requirements

Any business is legally required to register with the Department of Revenue if:

1) The business is legally required to collect sales tax.
2) The gross income of the business is more than $12,000 per year.
3) The business is legally required to transfer fees and/or taxes to the Department of Revenue.
4) The business buys or processes wood products.

Washington State sales and use tax laws are complicated, so due diligence is necessary.


Tax Professionals' Resource