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458-20-154  <<  458-20-15501 >>   458-20-15502

WAC 458-20-15501

Agency filings affecting this section

Taxation of computer systems and hardware.

(1) Taxation of computer systems.
(a) What is a computer? A "computer" is an electronic device that accepts information in digital or similar form and manipulates it for a result based on a sequence of instructions. RCW 82.04.215. Examples of a computer include, but are not limited to, mainframe computer, laptop, workstation, and desktop computer. "Computer" also includes automatic data processing equipment, which is a computer used for data processing purposes. "Computer" does not include any computer software or peripheral devices.
(b) Computer systems and computer networks distinguished. A "computer system" is a functional unit, consisting of one computer and associated computer software, whereas a computer network is two or more computers and associated computer software that uses common storage. A computer system may or may not include peripheral devices.
(c) Wholesale sale of computer systems. Gross proceeds of sales of computer systems to persons other than consumers (e.g., sales for resale without intervening use) are subject to B&O tax under the wholesaling classification. To verify the wholesale nature of the sale, the seller should obtain a reseller permit from the buyer as provided by WAC 458-20-102 (Reseller permits).
(d) Retail sale of computer systems. Gross proceeds of sales of computer systems to consumers are subject to B&O tax under the retailing classification. Persons making retail sales are responsible for collecting retail sales tax at the time of sale and remitting the tax to the department, unless the sale is specifically exempt by law. If the seller is required to collect Washington sales tax (such as in the case of the seller having nexus with Washington), but does not collect Washington sales tax, the buyer is responsible for remitting retail sales tax (commonly referred to as deferred sales tax), unless the sale is specifically exempt by law. If the seller is not required to collect Washington sales tax, then the buyer is responsible for remitting use tax, unless the transaction is specifically exempt by law. Separately stated charges for custom software sold with the computer system are subject to service B&O tax.
(e) Manufacturing of computer systems. Persons manufacturing computer systems are subject to manufacturing B&O tax upon the value of the products. See WAC 458-20-112 (Value of products) and 458-20-136 (Manufacturing, processing for hire, fabricating). Manufacturers of computer systems who sell their products at retail or wholesale are also subject to either the retailing or wholesaling B&O tax, as the case may be. In such cases the manufacturer must report under both the "production" (manufacturing) and "selling" (wholesaling or retailing) B&O tax classifications and may claim a multiple activities tax credit (MATC). See WAC 458-20-19301 (Multiple activities tax credits) for detailed information about the MATC.
(i) Separately stated charges for custom programming sold with the computer system are not subject to manufacturing B&O tax, but are subject to service B&O tax.
(ii) Separately stated charges for computer software sold and installed after the sale of a computer system are not subject to manufacturing B&O tax.
(iii) The combining of a computer system with certain peripheral devices is considered a packaging activity not subject to manufacturing B&O tax, when the following occurs:
(A) The peripheral devices remain in the original packaging;
(B) The person does not attach its own label to the peripheral devices;
(C) The person maintains a separate inventory of the peripheral devices for sale apart from the sale of the computer system; and
(D) The charge for the sale of peripheral devices is separately stated from the charge for the sale of computer systems.
(2) Examples.
(a) ABC Computers, Inc., an in-state manufacturer, manufactures and sells at retail computer systems. ABC sells a computer system to Steve for one flat charge. The computer system includes a disk drive, memory, CPU, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and bundled prewritten computer software. ABC is subject to retailing B&O tax and must collect retail sales tax on the sale to Steve. In addition, ABC is subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the product sold (which is generally the sales price). ABC is entitled to claim a multiple activities tax credit.
(b) ADE Computers, Inc., manufactures and sells computer systems at retail to customers. ADE sells to Julie a computer system with certain peripheral devices at separate charges. The computer system without the peripheral devices consists of a disk drive, memory, CPU, and bundled prewritten computer software. The peripheral devices include a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. All peripheral devices remain in the original packaging of the manufacturers. ADE does not attach its own label to the peripheral devices. Finally, ADE maintains a separate inventory of the peripheral devices for sale apart from the sale of ADE's computer systems. ADE is subject to retailing B&O tax and must collect retail sales tax from Julie on the sales of the computer system including the peripheral devices. ADE is subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the computer system excluding the peripheral devices. ADE is entitled to claim a multiple activities tax credit. ADE is not subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the peripheral devices because the combining of a computer system with the peripheral devices in this case constitutes packaging activities.
(c) AFG Computers, Inc., an in-state company, manufactures and sells at retail computer systems. AFG sells a computer system to Joe for a lump sum. Joe purchases from AFG, as part of the sales package, prewritten computer software developed by a third-party software developer. AFG installs the prewritten computer software to Joe's computer. AFG is subject to retailing B&O tax and must collect retail sales tax from Joe on the sale of the computer system, including the bundled prewritten computer software. Also, AFG is subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the computer system, including the value of the prewritten computer software. AFG is entitled to claim a multiple activities tax credit.
(d) Same facts as (c) of this subsection, except that AFG sells and installs the prewritten computer software after Joe purchases and takes possession of the computer system. AFG is subject to retailing B&O tax and must collect retail sales tax from Joe on the sale of the computer system and the prewritten computer software. Also, AFG is subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the computer system. AFG is entitled to claim a multiple activities tax credit. AFG is not subject to manufacturing B&O tax on the value of the prewritten computer software because the installation of the software by AFG is not a part of AFG's manufacturing activity.
(3) Taxation of computer hardware, both internal and external peripheral devices.
(a) What is computer hardware? For purposes of this section, "computer hardware" includes, but is not limited to, the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, or electrical components of a computer system such as towers, motherboards, central processing units (CPU), hard disk drives, memory, as well as internal and external peripheral devices such as compact disk read-only memory (CD-ROM) drives, compact disk rewritable (CD-RW) drives, zip drives, internal and external modems, wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) devices, floppy disks, compact disks (CDs), digital versatile disks (DVDs), cables, mice, keyboards, printers, monitors, scanners, web cameras, speakers, and microphones.
(b) Wholesale sale of computer hardware. Gross proceeds of sales of computer hardware to persons other than consumers (e.g., sales for resale without intervening use) are subject to B&O tax under the wholesaling classification. To verify the wholesale nature of the sale, the seller should obtain a reseller permit from the buyer as provided by WAC 458-20-102 (Reseller permits).
(c) Retail sale of computer hardware. Gross proceeds of sales of computer hardware to consumers are subject to B&O tax under the retailing classification. Persons making retail sales are responsible for collecting retail sales tax at the time of sale and remitting the tax to the department, unless the sale is specifically exempt by law.
(d) Manufacturing of computer hardware. Persons manufacturing computer hardware are subject to manufacturing B&O tax upon the value of the products. See WAC 458-20-112 (Value of products) and 458-20-136 (Manufacturing, processing for hire, fabricating). Manufacturers of computer hardware who sell their products at retail or wholesale are also subject to either the retailing or wholesaling B&O tax, as the case may be. In such cases the manufacturer must report under both the "production" (manufacturing) and "selling" (wholesaling or retailing) B&O tax classifications and may claim a multiple activities tax credit (MATC). See WAC 458-20-19301 (Multiple activities tax credits) for detailed information about the MATC.
(4) Examples.
(a) ALM Computers, Inc., purchases used computers. ALM replaces a built-in CD-ROM drive with a CD-RW drive and adds a zip drive, additional memory, and an upgraded CPU. ALM is engaged in manufacturing activity subject to manufacturing B&O tax with respect to that computer.
(b) AJK Computers, Inc., acquires damaged computers for refurbishment and sale. AJK removes damaged hardware components and replaces them with new components without upgrading these components. Refurbishing computers in this manner is not a manufacturing activity. Retail sales of such refurbished computers are subject to retailing B&O tax and retail sales tax.
(c) APQ Computers, Inc., purchases computers for refurbishment and sale. APQ replaces the failed zip drive on one of the computers with an upgraded zip drive because the upgrade is the nearest version of the failed component that is available. The manufacturer has discontinued manufacturing the original version of the zip drive because of a flaw in the design. APQ is not engaged in manufacturing activity with respect to that computer. Retail sale of that refurbished computer is subject to retailing B&O tax and retail sales tax.
(d) ATV Computers, Inc., is hired by a call center company to repair damaged computers. ATV removes damaged hardware components and replaces them with new components without upgrading these components. Refurbishing computers in this manner is not a manufacturing activity; however, it is a retail service. Refurbishing computers in this manner is subject to retailing B&O tax and retail sales tax must be collected. See WAC 458-20-173 (Installing, cleaning, repairing or otherwise altering or improving personal property of consumers) for more information on repairs and maintenance.
(5) Taxation of other activities associated with computer hardware.
(a) Installing computer hardware. Gross proceeds of sales for installing computer hardware are subject to wholesaling or retailing B&O tax, as the case may be. Installation of computer hardware for consumers is subject to retail sales tax. See RCW 82.32.730 (sourcing) for more information on sourcing retail sales of computer services. See WAC 458-20-173 (Installing, cleaning, repairing or otherwise altering or improving personal property of consumers) for more information on installations.
(b) Repairing or maintaining computer hardware. Gross proceeds of sales for repair or maintenance of computer hardware are subject to wholesaling or retailing B&O tax. Repair of computer hardware for consumers is subject to retail sales tax. See RCW 82.32.730 for more information on sourcing. See WAC 458-20-173 (Installing, cleaning, repairing or otherwise altering or improving personal property of consumers) for more information on repairs and maintenance. Also, see WAC 458-20-257 (Warranties and maintenance agreements) for information about repair performed as part of a warranty or maintenance agreement.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.200 and 82.01.060. WSR 13-06-015, § 458-20-15501, filed 2/25/13, effective 3/28/13. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). WSR 09-01-088, § 458-20-15501, filed 12/16/08, effective 1/16/09.]