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82.08.0256  <<  82.08.02565 >>   82.08.025651

RCW 82.08.02565

Exemptions — Sales of machinery and equipment for manufacturing, research and development, or a testing operation — Labor and services for installation — Exemption certificate — Rules.


     *** CHANGE IN 2014 *** (SEE 6505.SL) ***

     *** CHANGE IN 2014 *** (SEE 6440-S.SL) ***

(1)(a) The tax levied by RCW 82.08.020 does not apply to sales to a manufacturer or processor for hire of machinery and equipment used directly in a manufacturing operation or research and development operation, to sales to a person engaged in testing for a manufacturer or processor for hire of machinery and equipment used directly in a testing operation, or to sales of or charges made for labor and services rendered in respect to installing, repairing, cleaning, altering, or improving the machinery and equipment.

     (b) Sellers making tax-exempt sales under this section must obtain from the purchaser an exemption certificate in a form and manner prescribed by the department by rule. The seller must retain a copy of the certificate for the seller's files.

     (2) For purposes of this section and RCW 82.12.02565:

     (a) "Machinery and equipment" means industrial fixtures, devices, and support facilities, and tangible personal property that becomes an ingredient or component thereof, including repair parts and replacement parts. "Machinery and equipment" includes pollution control equipment installed and used in a manufacturing operation, testing operation, or research and development operation to prevent air pollution, water pollution, or contamination that might otherwise result from the manufacturing operation, testing operation, or research and development operation. "Machinery and equipment" also includes digital goods.

     (b) "Machinery and equipment" does not include:

     (i) Hand-powered tools;

     (ii) Property with a useful life of less than one year;

     (iii) Buildings, other than machinery and equipment that is permanently affixed to or becomes a physical part of a building; and

     (iv) Building fixtures that are not integral to the manufacturing operation, testing operation, or research and development operation that are permanently affixed to and become a physical part of a building, such as utility systems for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, communications, plumbing, or electrical.

     (c) Machinery and equipment is "used directly" in a manufacturing operation, testing operation, or research and development operation if the machinery and equipment:

     (i) Acts upon or interacts with an item of tangible personal property;

     (ii) Conveys, transports, handles, or temporarily stores an item of tangible personal property at the manufacturing site or testing site;

     (iii) Controls, guides, measures, verifies, aligns, regulates, or tests tangible personal property at the site or away from the site;

     (iv) Provides physical support for or access to tangible personal property;

     (v) Produces power for, or lubricates machinery and equipment;

     (vi) Produces another item of tangible personal property for use in the manufacturing operation, testing operation, or research and development operation;

     (vii) Places tangible personal property in the container, package, or wrapping in which the tangible personal property is normally sold or transported; or

     (viii) Is integral to research and development as defined in RCW 82.63.010.

     (d) "Manufacturer" means a person that qualifies as a manufacturer under RCW 82.04.110. "Manufacturer" also includes a person that prints newspapers or other materials.

     (e) "Manufacturing" means only those activities that come within the definition of "to manufacture" in RCW 82.04.120 and are taxed as manufacturing or processing for hire under chapter 82.04 RCW, or would be taxed as such if such activity were conducted in this state or if not for an exemption or deduction. "Manufacturing" also includes printing newspapers or other materials. An activity is not taxed as manufacturing or processing for hire under chapter 82.04 RCW if the activity is within the purview of chapter 82.16 RCW.

     (f) "Manufacturing operation" means the manufacturing of articles, substances, or commodities for sale as tangible personal property. A manufacturing operation begins at the point where the raw materials enter the manufacturing site and ends at the point where the processed material leaves the manufacturing site. With respect to the production of class A or exceptional quality biosolids by a wastewater treatment facility, the manufacturing operation begins at the point where class B biosolids undergo additional processing to achieve class A or exceptional quality standards. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, the term also includes that portion of a cogeneration project that is used to generate power for consumption within the manufacturing site of which the cogeneration project is an integral part. The term does not include the preparation of food products on the premises of a person selling food products at retail.

     (g) "Cogeneration" means the simultaneous generation of electrical energy and low-grade heat from the same fuel.

     (h) "Research and development operation" means engaging in research and development as defined in RCW 82.63.010 by a manufacturer or processor for hire.

     (i) "Testing" means activities performed to establish or determine the properties, qualities, and limitations of tangible personal property.

     (j) "Testing operation" means the testing of tangible personal property for a manufacturer or processor for hire. A testing operation begins at the point where the tangible personal property enters the testing site and ends at the point where the tangible personal property leaves the testing site. The term also includes the testing of tangible personal property for use in that portion of a cogeneration project that is used to generate power for consumption within the manufacturing site of which the cogeneration project is an integral part. The term does not include the testing of tangible personal property for use in the production of electricity by a light and power business as defined in RCW 82.16.010 or the preparation of food products on the premises of a person selling food products at retail.

[2011 c 23 § 2; 2009 c 535 § 510; 1999 c 211 § 5; 1999 c 211 § 3; 1998 c 330 § 1. Prior: 1996 c 247 § 2; 1996 c 173 § 3; 1995 1st sp.s. c 3 § 2.]

Notes:

     Findings -- 2011 c 23: "(1) In 1995, the legislature enacted a sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment, commonly referred to as the "M&E exemption." The legislature finds that the purposes of this exemption were to encourage the growth and development of the state's private sector manufacturing industry and improve this state's ability to compete with other states for manufacturing investment. The legislature further finds that it was not the purpose of the M&E exemption to provide tax breaks to state agencies and institutions, nor to public utilities and other businesses with respect to machinery and equipment primarily used for activities that are taxable under the state public utility tax or are otherwise not considered to be manufacturing for business and occupation tax purposes.

     (2) The legislature further finds that despite previous attempts at clarifying the M&E exemption, significant ambiguity persists, particularly with respect to the scope of the exemption. Such ambiguity results in costly appeals and litigation and may result in significant unanticipated revenue losses for the state and local governments.

     (3) Therefore, the legislature finds it necessary to reaffirm its original intent in establishing the M&E exemption. The legislature declares that the amendments to the existing M&E exemption and to RCW 82.04.120 in this act are clarifying and, as such, apply retroactively as well as prospectively.

     (4) The legislature finds that Washington is home to premier public research institutions. The legislature recognizes that the state's public universities provide cutting-edge research and development, which helps stimulate growth in the private sector and is vital to the economic well-being of our state. University research leads directly to new products, companies, production methods, and ways of organizing work. The legislature further recognizes that our public universities will play an important role in shaping the next generation of Washington industries, including biofuels and other renewable energy, global health, and advanced manufacturing. Therefore, because the amendments to the existing M&E exemption in this act clarify that state agencies and institutions are not eligible for the M&E exemption, this act provides a new, stand-alone sales and use tax exemption for machinery and equipment used primarily in technological research and development operations by the state's four-year institutions of higher education." [2011 c 23 § 1.]

     Intent -- 2011 c 23: "The legislature declares that the only reason why the phrase "the production of electricity by a light and power business as defined in RCW 82.16.010" was deleted from the definition of "manufacturing operation" in RCW 82.08.02565(2)(f) in section 2 of this act is because that language is superfluous." [2011 c 23 § 7.]

     Application -- 2011 c 23: "Sections 2 and 3 of this act apply both prospectively and retroactively to any tax period open for assessment or refund of taxes." [2011 c 23 § 9.]

     Effective date -- Construction -- 2011 c 23: See notes following RCW 82.08.025651.

     Intent -- Construction -- 2009 c 535: See notes following RCW 82.04.192.

     Finding -- Intent -- 1999 c 211: "The legislature finds that the application of the manufacturer's machinery and equipment sales and use tax exemption has, in some instances, been difficult and confusing for taxpayers, and included difficult reporting and recordkeeping requirements. In this act, it is the intent of the legislature to make clear its intent for the application of the exemption, and to extend the exemption to the purchase and use of machinery and equipment for businesses that perform testing of manufactured goods for manufacturers or processors for hire." [1999 c 211 § 1.]

     Intent -- 1999 c 211 §§ 2 and 3: See note following RCW 82.04.120.

     Effective date -- 1999 c 211 §§ 1-4: See note following RCW 82.04.120.

     Findings -- Intent -- 1996 c 247: See note following RCW 82.08.02566.

     Findings -- Intent -- 1996 c 173: "The legislature finds that the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state of Washington are heavily dependent upon the continued encouragement, development, and expansion of opportunities for family wage employment in the state's manufacturing industries.

     The legislature also finds that sales and use tax exemptions for manufacturing machinery and equipment enacted by the 1995 legislature have improved Washington's ability to compete with other states for manufacturing investment, but that additional incentives for manufacturers need to be adopted to solidify and enhance the state's competitive position.

     The legislature intends to accomplish this by extending the current manufacturing machinery and equipment exemptions to allow a sales tax exemption for labor and service charges for repairing, cleaning, altering, or improving machinery and equipment, and a sales and use tax exemption for repair and replacement parts with a useful life of one year or more." [1996 c 173 § 1.]

     Findings -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 3: "The legislature finds and declares that:

     (1) The health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state of Washington are heavily dependent upon the continued encouragement, development, and expansion of opportunities for family wage employment in our state's private sector;

     (2) The state's private sector must be encouraged to commit to continuous improvement of process, products, and services and to deliver high-quality, high-value products through technological innovations and high-performance work organizations;

     (3) The state's opportunities for increased economic dealings with other states and nations of the world are dependent on supporting and attracting a diverse, stable, and competitive economic base of private sector employers;

     (4) The state's current policy of applying its sales and use taxes to machinery, equipment, and installation labor used in manufacturing, research and development, and other activities has placed our state's private sector at a competitive disadvantage with other states and serves as a significant disincentive to the continuous improvement of products, technology, and modernization necessary for the preservation, stabilization, and expansion of employment and to ensure a stable economy; and

     (5) It is vital to the continued development of economic opportunity in this state, including the development of new businesses and the expansion or modernization of existing businesses, that the state of Washington provide tax incentives to entities making a commitment to sites and operations in this state." [1995 1st sp.s. c 3 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 1995 1st sp.s. c 3: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1995." [1995 1st sp.s. c 3 § 16.]