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Washington Consumer Tax Laws

All states collect some variety of consumer taxes, such as liquor and gambling taxes, to help pay for schools, infrastructure needs, and other shared state resources. Most states, including Washington, also levy sales tax on retail transactions.

Washington State Retail Sales Tax Laws

Retail sales tax is Washington's principal tax source. Businesses making retail sales in Washington collect sales tax from their customers on tangible personal property items and some services.

What Services Must I Pay Taxes On In Washington?

You will have to pay sales tax on services such as installation, repair, cleaning, altering, improving, construction, and decorating. Other services include improving real or personal property, amusement and recreational activities, lawn maintenance, and physical fitness activities.

Exceptions To The Sales Tax Requirement

In some limited circumstances, a consumer may not have to pay Washington state's retail sales tax. Here are some exceptions.

  • Groceries and prescription drugs;
  • Sales to nonresidents;
  • Federal government sales;
  • Interstate and foreign sales;
  • Manufacturers' machinery and equipment exemption;
  • Sales to Indians or Indian tribes;
  • Newspapers.

Are Retail Sales to Tribal Members Subject to Sales Tax?

Retail sales tax is not imposed on sales to Native Americans if the tangible personal property is delivered to the member or tribe on Indian lands or if the sale takes place in Indian land. Contact a tax attorney specializing in Tribal or Indian law to learn more.

Gambling Taxes

Had a victorious night out at the poker room or Indian gaming casino? Fantastic. Now, you'll have to pay taxes on your winnings. Gambling taxes are levied at the local level (through city and/or country jurisdictions).

The highlights of Washington's consumer tax laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Tax Law section for more articles and resources.

Sales Tax 6.5% §82.08.020 (as high as 9.6% with local surtax)
Cigarette Tax $3.025 per pack of 20 §§82.24.020, 027
Marijuana Tax 44% (total effective rate)
Gasoline Tax per Gallon 55.9¢ §82.36.025
Use Tax 6.5% §82.12.020
Liquor Tax Beer $8.08 per barrel; table wine 22.67¢ per liter, fortified wine 45.11¢ per liter; Additional tax on sales of wine and beer at 7% of basic tax rates §§66.24.210, 290; 82.02.030
Gambling Tax Counties, cities, city-counties, and towns may tax within their jurisdiction §9.46.110

Note: Washington State tax and gambling laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington tax attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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