The word "florist" means a person engaged in the business of selling flowers and ornamental trees, shrubs or vines from an established business location, or one who peddles the same.
The word "nurseryman" means a person who grows, propagates or produces for sale upon his own lands or upon land in which he has a present right of possession, any flowers, trees, shrubs or vines.
Business and Occupation Tax
Retailing. Florists and nurserymen are taxable under the retailing classification upon gross sales made by them to consumers.
Wholesaling. Florists are taxable under the wholesaling classification upon gross sales for resale of articles which were not produced by them as nurserymen. Nurserymen are exempt from business tax with respect to sales at wholesale of articles produced by them in this state, but this exemption does not extend to the taking, cultivating, or raising of Christmas trees or timber.
Retail Sales Tax
Florists and nurserymen must collect the retail sales tax on sales of cut flowers, bulbs, corsages, bouquets, wreaths, floral designs, displays, potted plants, young trees, shrubs, bushes and other such items of tangible personal property to purchasers for use or consumption. However, sales by nurserymen of fruit and nut trees and berry slips or vines to farmers who use the same for producing fruit, nuts or berries for sale are wholesale sales and are not subject to the retail sales tax.
Telegraphic delivery. Where, through the Florist's Telegraphic Delivery Association, one florist takes an order pursuant to which he gives telegraphic instructions to a second florist for delivery of flowers, the sending florist is a retailer of flowers and must collect the retail sales tax from the customer who placed the order on the basis of the total charge. The receiving florist is selling the flowers which he delivers, to the sending florist for resale and is not required to collect the retail sales tax. Thus:
(1) On all orders taken by a Washington florist and telegraphed to a second florist, either in Washington or at a point outside the state of Washington, the florist taking the order will be responsible for the collection of the retail sales tax from the customer placing the order.
(2) In cases where a Washington florist receives telegraphic instructions from a second florist located either within or without Washington for the delivery of flowers, the Washington florist receiving the telegraphic instructions is making a sale for resale to the sending florist on which no tax is to be collected.
Telephone and telegraph charges. The income derived by a florist from telephone and telegraph charges is construed to be an advance for the customer when such charges are paid by the florist and the amount thereof is billed to the customer as a separate item.
Purchase or supplies, materials, equipment, etc. Sales by supply houses to florists and nurserymen of the following articles are sales for resale upon which the retail sales tax should not be collected:
(1) Sales of paper boxes, wrapping paper, bags, twine, gummed tape or other containers sold to customers along with the flowers, shrubs, etc., sold and contained therein;
(2) Sales of labels, stickers, cards which are permanently affixed to the containers referred to above;
(3) Sales of wire, tin foil, ribbon and other items which are attached to or become a component part of, wreaths, floral displays, bouquets or corsages.
Furthermore, sales to nurserymen of seeds, fertilizers and spray materials for use by them in producing for sale flowers, trees, shrubs or vines, are not subject to the retail sales tax. (See WAC 458-20-122
However, sales by supply houses to florists and nurserymen of fuel for heating green houses or for other purposes, and sales of equipment and supplies for use or consumption by them are taxable under the retail sales tax.
Revised June 1, 1965.
[Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-158 (Rule 158), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]