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Washington Sales Tax Guide for Businesses

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We wrote this guide for online sellers who want to know if they even have to bother with sales tax in Washington, and if so, how best to tackle the sales tax situation in the Evergreen State.

After reading this, you’ll know:

  • Do you or don’t you need to collect Washington sales tax?
  • Which customers do you collect from?
  • How much do you collect?
  • What do you do with all the sales tax you’ve collected?
  • Way more than you probably ever wanted to know about Washington sales tax!

Do you have sales tax nexus in Washington?

Good news! You only have to begin thinking about Washington sales tax if you have sales tax nexus in Washington.

“Sales tax nexus” is just a fancy way of saying “significant presence” in a state.

Washington considers a seller to have sales tax nexus in the state if any of the following applies to your business:

  • Soliciting sales in this state through employees or other representatives
  • Installing or assembling goods in this state, either by employees or other representatives
  • Maintaining a stock of goods in this state
  • Renting or leasing tangible personal property
  • Providing services
  • Constructing, installing, repairing, maintaining real property or tangible personal property in this state
  • Making regular deliveries of goods into Washington using the taxpayer’s own vehicles

You can click here to read exactly what the Washington Department of Revenue (Washington’s taxing authority) has to say about what constitutes sales tax nexus in Washington.

Do you have sales tax nexus in Washington if you sell on FBA?

If you sell on Amazon FBA, you may have sales tax nexus in Washington. Storing physical products in a state can create sales tax nexus, and Washington is home to three (soon to be four) Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

To determine whether or not you have items stored in an FBA warehouse in Washington, you can do one of two things:

  1. Login to Amazon Seller Central and pull your inventory report
  2. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of TaxJar and find out from where your Amazon inventory ships with our Amazon badge feature

You may find that your inventory is stored in one or all of Washington’s Amazon fulfillment centers in this list:

Warehouse Code Address County Tax Rate
BFI1 1800 140th Ave. E, Sumner, WA 98390 Pierce 8.8%
BFI3 2700 Center Drive, Dupont, WA 98327 Pierce 9.4%
BFI4 21005 64th Ave. S., Kent, Washington, 98032-2423 King 9.5%
#SEA6/#SEA8 1227 124th Avenue Northeast Bellevue, WA, 98005 King 9.5%

Read here for more about Amazon FBA and sales tax nexus. Here’s a list of all Amazon Fulfillment Centers in the country.

Is what you’re selling even taxable?

You’ve probably read this far because you realized you have sales tax nexus in Washington. Your next step is to determine if what you’re selling is even taxable.

Services in Washington are generally not taxable. So if you’re a designer or a computer programmer, you’re in luck and you don’t have to worry about sales tax. But watch out – if the service you provide deals with construction services, you will likely have to deal with sales tax.

Tangible products are taxable in Washington , with a few exceptions. These exceptions include certain groceries, prescription medicine, sales to nonresidents and newspapers.

So if you sell coffee, then charge sales tax to your Washington customers.

But if you’re an accountant, don’t charge sales tax to your Washington customers.

If you have sales tax nexus in Washington and your products are taxable, your next step is to register for a sales tax permit.

How to Register for a Sales Tax Permit in Washington

Sellers with sales tax nexus in Washington must apply for a Washington sales tax permit.

Don’t skip this step! Many states consider it unlawful to collect sales tax in their name without a permit. Go here for more on how to register for a sales tax permit in Washington.

How to Collect Sales Tax in Washington

So you’ve determined that you have sales tax nexus in Washington and what you’re selling is taxable. And you’re all set and registered for your Washington sales tax permit(s).

The next step is to determine how much sales tax to collect.

The sales tax rate you collect in Washington depends on whether you are based in Washington or out-of-state.

How to Collect Sales Tax in Washington

Washington is a destination-based sales tax state. So if you sell an item to a customer through your online store, collect sales tax at the tax rate where your product is delivered. (I.e. the Buyer’s ship to address.)

You can look up your local sales tax rate with TaxJar’s Sales Tax Calculator or by going to on your mobile device.

Example: You live and work in Issaquah, WA 98027, which has a sales tax rate of 9.5%. You sell and ship a product to Puyallup, WA 98374 for a customer. You would charge the Puyallup, WA sales tax rate of 9.4%.

What are the Amazon sales tax settings for Washington?

If you are an Amazon pro seller and use Amazon to collect sales tax, be sure you have your Washington sales tax settings entered correctly. Find step-by-step instructions for setting up your Amazon sales tax settings here.

If you are a… State tax County tax City tax District tax Custom rate Is shipping taxable? Is gift wrapping taxable?
Seller living in Washington X X X X N/A Yes No
Seller living outside of Washington X X X X N/A Yes No

Should you collect sales tax on shipping charges in Washington?

According to Washington you will pay tax on shipping. If the item you are shipping is taxable, then the shipping is taxable. If the item isn’t taxable, then the shipping isn’t taxable. If you are shipping both taxable and nontaxable items, then there should be two charges for shipping fairly allocated between the taxable and nontaxable items.

Read a full explanation of sales tax on shipping in Washington here.

Rank City Population County Total SalesTax
1 Seattle 608,660 King 9.60%
2 Spokane 208,916 Spokane 8.70%
3 Tacoma 198,397 Pierce 9.50%
4 Vancouver 161,791 Clark 8.40%
5 Bellevue 122,363 King 9.50%
6 Everett 103,019 Snohomish 9.20%
7 Kent 92,411 King 9.50%
8 Yakima 91,067 Yakima 8.20%
9 Renton 90,927 King 9.50%
10 Spokane Valley 89,755 Spokane 8.70%
11 Federal Way 89,306 King 9.50%
12 Bellingham 80,885 Whatcom 8.70%
13 Kennewick 73,917 Benton 8.60%
14 Auburn 70,180 King 9.50%
15 Marysville 60,020 Snohomish 8.80%
16 Pasco 59,781 Franklin 8.60%
17 Lakewood 58,163 Pierce 9.50%
18 Redmond 54,144 King 9.50%
19 Shoreline 53,007 King 9.60%
20 Kirkland 48,787 King 9.50%

Caption: Top 20 most populous cities in Washington and their sales tax rates

When are Washington Sales Tax Returns Due?

Washington monthly sales tax returns are always due the 25th of the month following the reporting period. Washington quarterly and annually sales tax returns are due at the end of the month. You’ll be assigned a sales tax filing frequency when you apply for your Washington sales tax permit.

To break it down:

2016 Washington Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
January February 25, 2016
February March 25, 2016
March April 25, 2016
April May 25, 2016
May June 27, 2016*
June July 25, 2016
July August 25, 2016
August September 26, 2016*
September October 25, 2016
October November 25, 2016
November December 26, 2016*
December January 25, 2017

2016 Washington Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Q1 (Jan - Mar) May 2, 2016*
Q2 (Apr - Jun) August 1, 2016
Q3 (Jul - Sep) October 31, 2016
Q4 (Oct - Dec) January 31, 2017

2016 Washington Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Year 2016 January 31, 2017

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

Click here for more about Washington sales tax filing due dates in 2016.

How to File Sales Tax in Washington

When it comes time to file sales tax in Washington you must do three things:

  1. Calculate how much sales tax you owe
  2. File a sales tax return
  3. Make a payment

We’ll walk you through these steps.

How to Calculate How Much Sales Tax You Owe in Washington

Calculating how much sales tax you should remit to the state of Washington is easy with TaxJar’s Washington sales tax report.

All you do is connect the channels through which you sell – including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Square and more – and we’ll calculate exactly how much sales tax you collected. All the information you need to file your Washington sales tax return will be waiting for you in TaxJar. All you have to do is login!

How to File and Pay Sales Tax in Washington

You have two options for filing and paying your Washington sales tax:

Other Facts You Should Know about Washington Sales Tax Filing

There are a few more things you should know about sales tax in Washington:


  • Late Filing and Payment Penalty 9 percent penalty due if the tax is not paid by the due date; 19 percent penalty due if the tax is not paid on or before the last day of the month following the due date. A total penalty of 29 percent is imposed if the tax is not paid on or before the last day of the second month following the due date.

Other penalties for fraud or serial offenses include higher penalties and even criminal charges.

“Zero returns”:

Washington requires that any seller with a sales tax permit file a sales tax return on your due date even if you don’t have any sales tax to report or pay. Click here for more about states that require zero returns.

And that’s it. You’ve mastered Washington sales tax filing! Now that sales tax is out of the way, you can get back to what you do best – running your business.

Washington Sales Tax Resources

For more about Washington sales tax, check out the Washington section of the TaxJar blog.

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