Washington Sales Tax Information, Sales Tax Rates, and Deadlines

Washington Sales Tax

Washington Sales Tax At a Glance

Washington Sales Tax State rate: 6.5%
Maximum combined rate: 9.6%
Sourcing: Destination
Tax Holidays: None
Governing Body: Washington Department of Revenue

Retailers who make sales to Washington customers may be required to collect sales tax in the state. Making a determination of nexus and then figuring out Washington sales tax rates can be complicated. This guide will help you determine whether you are on the hook for Washington sales tax.

Washington Sales Tax Rates

Washington sales tax rates vary by location. There is a state sales tax as well as various local rates.

Washington (WA) Sales Tax Rate: 6.5%
Maximum rate for local municipalities: 9.6%

Washington is one of the more complicated states for determining sales tax. This is due to the way Washington defines tax boundaries and the multiple rates within the state. Washington uses destination-based sourcing rules, meaning that for orders shipped to a customer’s home, the rate is determined by the customer’s address.

Washington Sales Tax Nexus

Having nexus within a state means that a retailer becomes responsible for collecting and remitting that state’s sales tax.

There are several activites that cause a business to have a Washington state sales tax nexus. The most obvious and well-known is, of course, having an office or place of business within the state. However, other business activities may not be as obvious. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Having an employee or other representative in-state who solicits sales
  • Installing or assembling goods within the state
  • Warehousing product in the state, such as having a Washington-based warehouse, fulfillment house, or using Fulfillment by Amazon and having stock in one of the FBA warehouses
  • Renting or leasing property
  • Providing certain services within the state

Retailers who operate an affiliate program may also have nexus in Washington if they pay affiliates a commission and if they made $10,000 or more in gross sales into the state of Washington under the agreement during the previous calendar year. This is known as a click-through nexus.

Sellers should also be aware of a provision known as trailing nexus. This says that a retailer who had nexus but stops the business activity that created the nexus, is still considered to have nexus for the remainder of that year, as well as one additional calendar year after.

Registering for a Washington Sales Tax Permit

Washington businesses are required to apply for a license if they:

  • sell any retail items
  • gross over $12,000 per year
  • repair, alter, decorate, or improve a product for another customer, or
  • are liable for any other state taxes

Applying for a business license can be done online, by mail, or in person at any business licensing office.

Check out the Department of Revenue’s site for:

Filing Washington Sales Tax Returns

Sales tax returns can be filed electronically online, or by completing a paper return and sending it in by mail. Information about filing your sales tax return can be found here. Make sure of the rules that apply to you, however, as most businesses are required to file online. The Washington Department of Revenue accepts payment online via EFT (electronic funds transfer), eCheck, and credit card.

If you have no business activity within a given period, you may file such online, by phone or by mail. Details for filing no business activity can be found here.

Washington Sales Tax Deadlines

Washington requires businesses to file and pay sales tax either monthly, quarterly, or annually. The frequency with which you must file is determined by your business’s estimated yearly income. Your designation can be found in the packet provided when you registered to collect sales tax for Washington state.

Monthly Filers

Monthly tax returns are due on the 25th of the following month.

PeriodDue Date
JanuaryFebruary 25
FebruaryMarch 25
MarchApril 25
AprilMay 25
MayJune 25
JuneJuly 25
JulyAugust 25
AugustSeptember 25
SeptemberOctober 25
OctoberNovember 25
NovemberDecember 25
DecemberJanuary 25

If the due date falls on a weekend or a legal holiday, it is extended to the following business day.

Quarterly Filers

Quarterly tax returns are due the end of the month following the tax quarter. For example, Quarter 1 taxes are due April 30th.

PeriodDue Date
January – March (Q1)April 30
April – June (Q2)July 31
July – September (Q3)October 31
October – December (Q4)January 31

Annual Filers

Annual sales tax returns are due January 31st.

If any of the due dates fall on a weekend or legal holiday, the new due date is the following business day. Here is a list of Washington’s state holidays.

Amending Washington Tax Returns

A sales tax return amendment may by filed electronically or by paper. The state also allows tax payers to provide a schedule of amended figures if multiple periods of a year or more need to be amended. Find more information about amending your return here.

Penalties and Interest on Late Filing/Payments

The penalty for filing a late sales tax return in Washington is

  • 9% after the last day of the month following the return’s due date
  • 29% after the last day of the second month following the return’s due date

The mimumum penalty is $5. Waivers may be granted in certain cases.

The state of Washington also charges interest, in addition to the penalty fees. Interest rates vary by year, and can be found on the Washington Department of Revenue’s website at this location.

Other things to note:

Washington collects destination based sales tax, that is, local sales tax based on the destination of shipment or delivery within the state by businesses. This was changed on July 1, 2008; prior to that, Washington was an origin-based state. There is no sales tax charge for deliveries outside the state. Learn more details at their web page.

Resources:

Washington Sales Tax Software

AccurateTax’s TaxTools products completely handle all aspects of Washington’s sales tax rate lookup and calculation for all destinations within the state of Washington, and all special tax classes such as prepared food. Configuring sales tax on your ecommerce store has never been easier. Contact us for more information or register for a free trial of the TaxTools software.

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You can also use our free sales tax calculator to look up the rate for any address in the state of Washington.