The 10 Basics Every Washington Business Should Know About Sales Tax

What is the Sales Tax Rate in Washington?

The state general sales tax rate of Washington is 6.5%. Cities and/or municipalities are allowed to collect their own rate that can add up to 3.9% to the state rate.

What is Sales Tax in Washington?

Sales tax in Washington is tax on the sale of tangible personal property and on the sale of certain services.

Are All Goods and Services Taxable?


How Do I Know What’s Taxable and What’s Not?

The following link can help you determine what is taxable and what isn’t in Washington. Click here.

Who Pays Sales Tax?

Consumers pay sales tax.  Merchants do not pay sales tax out of their own pockets.  It’s commonly referred to as a pass through tax.

What Am I Responsible For?

You are required to collect sales tax, hold it secure and send it to the State on-time and in-full.

When Is My Sales Tax Payment Due in Washington?

Washington Sales Tax is due on the 25th of the month following the reporting period. Filing frequency is determined by your estimated yearly business income. Click here for more information.

How Do I Know How Much Sales Tax to Charge? 

The state sales tax rate in Washington is 6.5%. Cities and/or municipalities of Washington can collect their own rate that can add up to 3.9% to the state sales tax rate. Find more information here.  The final and definitive answer is always the sales tax rate posted on the State Department of Revenue website.  Rates posted on the web are often not up-to-date and incorrect. It’s always the merchant’s responsibility to charge the correct sales tax rate.

Who Gets the Sales Tax Money?

In Washington all sales tax is paid directly to the State.

How Do I Manage Tax Exempt Sales?

In Washington, nonprofit organizations are generally taxed like any other business. They must pay business and occupation tax on gross revenues generated from regular business activities and sales tax on all goods and retail services they purchase as consumers, such as supplies, lodging, equipment, and construction services. However, limited exemptions exist for certain types of nonprofits and activities. Find more information here.

What if I Forget to Pay or Spend the Money and Can’t Pay?

Washington has severe penalties for missing tax payments. You can find the penalties for late payments here. If sales tax goes unpaid, states will seize the assets of the business or owner and auction them off to pay the debt.  In extreme cases owners will be prosecuted and sent to jail. Even if the business closes, sales tax is a personal liability that will follow the owner until paid.

Washington Sales and Use TAX HELP:

Washington Department of Revenue

(877) 345-3353