A Guide to Washington Sales Tax

Sales tax in Washington is also challenging to maintain due to the many complex levels of local and special purpose taxes. Sales tax in Washington is currently at 6.5%. Many local municipalities have taxes up to 10.4%. Washington sales tax can be levied at city/county/school and even SPD levels.

When do you need to register to Collect Sales Tax?

You need to begin thinking about Washington sales tax in the event of having a sales tax nexus in Washington. You are considered to have a sales tax nexus if you are:

  • Soliciting sales through others
  • Maintaining a stock of goods
  • Renting personal property
  • Installing or assembling goods
  • Providing services
  • Making regular deliveries of goods into Washington using the taxpayer’s own vehicles

If it is determined that you have nexus in Washington, it is essential for you to collect, file, and pay sales tax. Prior to selling of taxable goods or offering taxable service, a business that has an established nexus within the state should be registered for a Certificate of Registration. Businesses may register for a Washington Certificate of Registration online by visiting the Washington Department of Revenue.

What does it mean to file a Washington Sales Tax return?

Filing sales tax return in Washington is a two-step process which is all about submitting the required sales tax and remitting collected tax dollars to state and local tax authorities. There are many ways to submit the sales tax to the state.

  • Complete a sales tax filing form and mail it to the Washington Department of Revenue.
  • File sales tax returns electronically online

When you file for sales tax, you have to give details of total sales, amount of sales tax collected etc. The department needs to be kept up to date on the growth of your business. By completing filing of monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual, or annual sales tax returns, they stay in touch of your growing company.

When should you file a Sales Tax return?

The Washington Department of Revenue will give you a filing frequency determined by the size of your business.

What’s taxable in Washington?

Services in Washington are generally not taxable. So if you’re a fashion designer or a software programmer, you don’t have to worry about sales tax. However, if the service deals with construction services, you will likely have to deal with sales tax. Tangible products are taxable in Washington except for certain groceries, prescription medicine, and newspapers. For accountants, you don’t need to charge sales tax to your Washington customers.

When is the Sales Tax due?

The Washington Department of Revenue requires sales tax filing to be done by the 25th of every month following the assigned filing period in the case of monthly filers. For both annual and quarterly filers, the due date is the last day of the month following the assigned close of the assigned filing period.

What happens if you miss filing on time?

Filing a sales tax return in Washington late may result in a late filing penalty. In the event of a missed a filing deadline due to circumstances beyond your control (weather, accident, an act of God), you may be asked to provide evidence supporting your claim.