Resources Law by State Washington Sales Tax Rate

Washington Sales Tax Rate

Washington has a 6.5% statewide sales tax. As of December 2, 2010, sales taxes cannot be applied to unprepared food items and prescription medications. Prepared food, over-the-counter medications, and "medical marijuana" are not exempt from sales tax. Individual counties, municipalities and regional transit authorities are entitled to collect a sales tax, which vary from 0.5% to 2.5%. Within King County, the King County Food & Beverage (KCF&B) tax adds an additional .5% to food and beverages purchased in bars, taverns and restaurants resulting in an effective tax rate of 10.0% (9.5% on all other items). Additionally, the sale or lease of motor vehicles for use on the road incur an additional 0.3% tax, rental of a car for less than 30 days has an additional state/local tax of 8.9%. When renting a car for less than 30 days in Seattle, the total sales tax is 18.6%. When purchasing an automobile, if you trade in a car, the state subtracts the price of the trade when calculating the sales tax to be paid on the automobile (e.g., purchasing a $40,000 car and trading a $20,000 car, you would be taxed on the difference of $20,000 only, not the full amount of the new vehicle).

When staying at a hotel (60+ rooms capacity) in Seattle, the sales tax is 15.6%. Residents of Canada and US states or possessions (only US and Canadian locations having a sales tax of less than 3%, e.g., Oregon, Alaska & Alberta) are exempt from sales tax on purchases of tangible personal property for use outside the state. Stores at the border will inquire about residency and exempt qualified purchasers from the tax.Washington also has a Gross receipts tax called the Business and Occupations Tax (B&O).

Also, the seller of a house pays excise taxes on the full sale price. The amount of the varies by county. In King and Snohomish counties, it is up to 1.78%. For example, selling a house for $500K will cost you $8900 in taxes.

Residents of Washington are also obligated to pay a sales and use tax, which is incurred when a resident makes a purchase in another state and uses it within state lines, regardless of whether or not sales tax was paid in another state. This tax is based on an honor system for its residents and is seldom, if ever, paid.

The lowest combined sales tax (statewide and municipality) in Washington is 7.0% in most of Klickitat and Skamania Counties, while the highest combined sales tax in Washington is the aforementioned 10% tax on prepared food and beverages in King County.
April 1, 2008 saw tax increases in King County (+.001), Kittitas County (+.003), Mason County (+.001), and the city of Union Gap (+.002).
On July 1, 2008, Washington stopped charging an origin-based sales tax, and started charging a destination-based sales tax. This change only applies to transactions beginning and ending within state lines and does not apply to other states. Additionally, Washington started collecting taxes from online retailers that have voluntarily agreed to start collecting the sales tax in return for not being sued for back taxes.

The city of Seattle charges a 7.5% tax on charges for parking garages to go toward mass transit.

On November 4, 2008, voters in King County (Seattle) approved a 0.5% increase in the sales tax. Taxes within the city will increase to 9.5% on retail purchases. This increase was supposed to be effective Jan. 1, 2009 but has been pushed back until April. For the first quarter of 2009 the tax rate in Seattle is 9%.

Thanks to Sales Tax Accountants our company was able to avoid an expensive audit and save tens of thousands
James Turner - Retail Supply Services

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