This section explains Washington's B&O tax and retail sales tax applications to interstate sales of tangible personal property. It covers the outbound sales of goods originating in this state to persons outside this state and of inbound sales of goods originating outside this state to persons in this state. This section does not include import and export transactions.
For purposes of this section the following terms mean:
(a) "State of origin" means the state or place where a shipment of tangible personal property (goods) originates.
(b) "State of destination" means the state or place where the purchaser/consignee or its agent receives a shipment of goods.
(c) "Delivery" means the act of transferring possession of tangible personal property. It includes among others the transfer of goods from consignor to freight forwarder or for-hire carrier, from freight forwarder to for-hire carrier, one for-hire carrier to another, or for-hire carrier to consignee.
(d) "Receipt" or "received" means the purchaser or its agent first either taking physical possession of the goods or having dominion and control over them.
(e) "Agent" means a person authorized to receive goods with the power to inspect and accept or reject them.
(f) "Nexus" means the activity carried on by the seller in Washington which is significantly associated with the seller's ability to establish or maintain a market for its products in Washington.
(3) Outbound sales.
Washington state does not assess its taxes on sales of goods which originate in Washington if receipt of the goods occurs outside Washington.
(a) Where tangible personal property is located in Washington at the time of sale and is received by the purchaser or its agent in this state, or the purchaser or its agent exercises ownership over the goods inconsistent with the seller's continued dominion over the goods, the sale is subject to tax under the retailing or wholesaling classification. The tax applies even though the purchaser or its agent intends to and thereafter does transport or send the property out-of-state for use or resale there, or for use in conducting interstate or foreign commerce. It is immaterial that the contract of sale or contract to sell is negotiated and executed outside the state or that the purchaser resides outside the state.
(b) Where the seller delivers the goods to the purchaser who receives them at a point outside Washington neither retailing nor wholesaling business tax is applicable. This exemption applies even in cases where the shipment is arranged through a for-hire carrier or freight consolidator or freight forwarder acting on behalf of either the seller or purchaser. It also applies whether the shipment is arranged on a "freight prepaid" or a "freight collect" basis. The shipment may be made by the seller's own transportation equipment or by a carrier for-hire. For purposes of this section, a for-hire carrier's signature does not constitute receipt upon obtaining the goods for shipment unless the carrier is acting as the purchaser's agent and has express written authority from the purchaser to accept or reject the goods with the right of inspection.
(4) Proof of exempt outbound sales.
(a) If either a for-hire carrier or the seller itself carries the goods for receipt at a point outside Washington, the seller is required to retain in its records documentary proof of the sales and delivery transaction and that the purchaser in fact received the goods outside the state in order to prove the sale is tax exempt. Acceptable proofs, among others, will be:
(i) The contract or agreement of sale, if any, And
(ii) If shipped by a for-hire carrier, a waybill, bill of lading or other contract of carriage indicating the seller has delivered the goods to the for-hire carrier for transport to the purchaser or the purchaser's agent at a point outside the state with the seller shown on the contract of carriage as the consignor (or other designation of the person sending the goods) and the purchaser or its agent as consignee (or other designation of the person to whom the goods are being sent); or
(iii) If sent by the seller's own transportation equipment, a trip-sheet signed by the person making delivery for the seller and showing:
The seller's name and address,
The purchaser's name and address,
The place of delivery, if different from purchaser's address,
The time of delivery to the purchaser together with the signature of the purchaser or its agent acknowledging receipt of the goods at the place designated outside the state of Washington.
(b) Delivery of the goods to a freight consolidator, freight forwarder or for-hire carrier merely utilized to arrange for and/or transport the goods is not receipt of the goods by the purchaser or its agent unless the consolidator, forwarder or for-hire carrier has express written authority to accept or reject the goods for the purchaser with the right of inspection. See also WAC 458-20-174
for certain statutory exemptions.
(5) Other B&O taxes - Outbound and inbound sales.
(a) Extracting, manufacturing.
Persons engaged in these activities in Washington and who transfer or make delivery of such produced articles for receipt at points outside the state are subject to business tax under the extracting or manufacturing classification and are not subject to tax under the retailing or wholesaling classification. See also WAC 458-20-135
. The activities taxed occur entirely within the state, are inherently local, and are conducted prior to the commercial journey. The tax is measured by the value of products as determined by the selling price in the case of articles on which the seller performs no further manufacturing after transfer out of Washington. It is immaterial that the value so determined includes an additional increment of value because the sale occurs outside the state. If the seller performs additional manufacturing on the article after transferring the article out-of-state, the value should be measured under the principles contained in WAC 458-20-112
(b) Extracting or processing for hire, printing and publishing, repair or alteration of property for others.
These activities when performed in Washington are also inherently local and the gross income or total charge for work performed is subject to business tax, since the operating incidence of the tax is upon the business activity performed in this state. No deduction is permitted even though the articles produced, imprinted, repaired or altered are delivered to persons outside the state. It is immaterial that the customers are located outside the state, that the work was negotiated or contracted for outside the state, or that the property was shipped in from outside the state for such work.
(c) Construction, repair.
Construction or repair of buildings or other structures, public road construction and similar contracts performed in this state are inherently local business activities subject to B&O tax in this state. This is so even though materials involved may have been delivered from outside this state or the contracts may have been negotiated outside this state. It is immaterial that the work may be performed in this state by foreign sellers who performed preliminary services outside this state.
(d) Renting or leasing of tangible personal property.
Lessors who rent or lease tangible personal property for use in this state are subject to B&O tax upon their gross proceeds from such rentals for periods of use in this state. Proration of tax liability based on the degree of use in Washington of leased property is required.
It is immaterial that possession of the property leased may have passed to the lessee outside the state or that the lease agreement may have been consummated outside the state. Lessors will not be subject to B&O tax if all of the following conditions are present:
(i) The equipment is not located in Washington at the time the lessee first takes possession of the leased property; and
(ii) The lessor has no reason to know that the equipment will be used by the lessee in Washington; and
(iii) The lease agreement does not require the lessee to notify the lessor of subsequent movement of the property into Washington and the lessor has no reason to know that the equipment may have been moved to Washington.
(6) Retail sales tax - Outbound sales.
The retail sales tax generally applies to all retail sales made within this state. The legal incidence of the tax is upon the purchaser, but the seller is obligated to collect and remit the tax to the state. The retail sales tax applies to all sales to consumers of goods located in the state when goods are received in Washington by the purchaser or its agent, irrespective of the fact that the purchaser may use the property elsewhere. However, as indicated in subsection (4)(b), delivery of the goods to a freight consolidator, freight forwarder or for-hire carrier arranged either by the seller or the purchaser, merely utilized to arrange for and/or transport the goods out-of-state is not receipt of the goods by the purchaser or its agent in this state, unless the consolidator, forwarder or for-hire carrier has express written authority to accept or reject the goods for the purchaser with the right of inspection.
(a) The retail sales tax does not apply when the seller delivers the goods to the purchaser who receives them at a point outside the state, or delivers the same to a for-hire carrier consigned to the purchaser outside the state. This exemption applies even in cases where the shipment is arranged through a for-hire carrier or freight consolidator or freight forwarder acting on behalf of either the seller or the purchaser. It also applies regardless of whether the shipment is arranged on a "freight prepaid" or a "freight collect" basis and regardless of who bears the risk of loss. The seller must retain proof of exemption as outlined in subsection (4), above.
(b) RCW 82.08.0273
provides an exemption from the retail sales tax to certain nonresidents of Washington for purchases of tangible personal property for use outside this state when the nonresident purchaser provides proper documentation to the seller. This statutory exemption is available only to residents of states and possessions or Province of Canada other than Washington when the jurisdiction does not impose a retail sales tax of three percent or more. These sales are subject to B&O tax.
(c) A statutory exemption (RCW 82.08.0269
) is allowed for sales of goods for use in states, territories and possessions of the United States which are not contiguous to any other state (Alaska, Hawaii, etc.), but only when, as a necessary incident to the contract of sale, the seller delivers the property to the purchaser or its designated agent at the usual receiving terminal of the for-hire carrier selected to transport the goods, under such circumstance that it is reasonably certain that the goods will be transported directly to a destination in such noncontiguous states, territories and possessions. As proof of exemption, the seller must retain the following as part of its sales records:
(i) A certification of the purchaser that the goods will not be used in the state of Washington and are intended for use in the specified noncontiguous state, territory or possession.
(ii) Written instructions signed by the purchaser directing delivery of the goods to a dock, depot, warehouse, airport or other receiving terminal for transportation of the goods to their place of ultimate use. Where the purchaser is also the carrier, delivery may be to a warehouse receiving terminal or other facility maintained by the purchaser when the circumstances are such that it is reasonably certain that the goods will be transported directly to their place of ultimate use.
(iii) A dock receipt, memorandum bill of lading, trip sheet, cargo manifest or other document evidencing actual delivery to such dock, depot, warehouse, freight consolidator or forwarder, or receiving terminal.
(iv) The requirements of (i) and (ii) above may be complied with through the use of a blanket exemption certificate as follows:
(v) There is no business and occupation tax deduction of the gross proceeds of sales of goods for use in noncontiguous states unless the goods are received outside Washington.
(d) See WAC 458-20-173
for explanation of sales tax exemption in respect to charges for labor and materials in the repair, cleaning or altering of tangible personal property for nonresidents when the repaired property is delivered to the purchaser at an out-of-state point.
(7) Inbound sales.
Washington does not assert B&O tax on sales of goods which originate outside this state unless the goods are received by the purchaser in this state and the seller has nexus. There must be both the receipt of the goods in Washington by the purchaser and the seller must have nexus for the B&O tax to apply to a particular sale. The B&O tax will not apply if one of these elements is missing.
(a) Delivery of the goods to a freight consolidator, freight forwarder or for-hire carrier located outside this state merely utilized to arrange for and/or transport the goods into this state is not receipt of the goods by the purchaser or its agent unless the consolidator, forwarder or for-hire carrier has express written authority to accept or reject the goods for the purchaser with the right of inspection.
(b) When the sales documents indicate the goods are to be shipped to a buyer in Washington, but the seller delivers the goods to the buyer at a location outside this state, the seller may use the proofs of exempt sales contained in subsection 4 to establish the fact of delivery outside Washington.
(c) If a seller carries on significant activity in this state and conducts no other business in the state except the business of making sales, this person has the distinct burden of establishing that the instate activities are not significantly associated in any way with the sales into this state. Once nexus has been established, it will continue throughout the statutory period of RCW 82.32.050
(up to five years), notwithstanding that the instate activity which created the nexus ceased. Persons taxable under the service B&O tax classification should refer to WAC 458-20-194
. The following activities are examples of sufficient nexus in Washington for the B&O tax to apply:
(i) The goods are located in Washington at the time of sale and the goods are received by the customer or its agent in this state.
(ii) The seller has a branch office, local outlet or other place of business in this state which is utilized in any way, such as in receiving the order, franchise or credit investigation, or distribution of the goods.
(iii) The order for the goods is solicited in this state by an agent or other representative of the seller.
(iv) The delivery of the goods is made by a local outlet or from a local stock of goods of the seller in this state.
(v) The out-of-state seller, either directly or by an agent or other representative, performs significant services in relation to establishment or maintenance of sales into the state, even though the seller may not have formal sales offices in Washington or the agent or representative may not be formally characterized as a "salesperson."
(vi) The out-of-state seller, either directly or by an agent or other representative in this state, installs its products in this state as a condition of the sale.
(8) Retail sales tax - Inbound sales.
Persons engaged in selling activities in this state are required to be registered with the department of revenue. Sellers who are not required to be registered may voluntarily register for the collection and reporting of the use tax. The retail sales tax must be collected and reported in every case where the retailing B&O tax is due as outlined in subsection 7. If the seller is not required to collect retail sales tax on a particular sale because the transaction is disassociated from the instate activity, it must collect the use tax from the buyer.
(9) Use tax - Inbound sales.
The following sets forth the conditions under which out-of-state sellers are required to collect and remit the use tax on goods received by customers in this state. A seller is required to pay or collect and remit the tax imposed by chapter 82.12
RCW if within this state it directly or by any agent or other representative:
(a) Has or utilizes any office, distribution house, sales house, warehouse, service enterprise or other place of business; or
(b) Maintains any inventory or stock of goods for sale; or
(c) Regularly solicits orders whether or not such orders are accepted in this state; or
(d) Regularly engages in the delivery of property in this state other than by for-hire carrier or U.S. mail; or
(e) Regularly engages in any activity in connection with the leasing or servicing of property located within this state.
(i) The use tax is imposed upon the use, including storage preparatory to use in this state, of all tangible personal property acquired for any use or consumption in this state unless specifically exempt by statute. The out-of-state seller may have nexus to require the collection of use tax without personal contact with the customer if the seller has an extensive, continuous, and intentional solicitation and exploitation of Washington's consumer market. (See WAC 458-20-221
(ii) Every person who engages in this state in the business of acting as an independent selling agent for unregistered principals, and who receives compensation by reason of sales of tangible personal property of such principals for use in this state, is required to collect the use tax from purchasers, and remit the same to the department of revenue, in the manner and to the extent set forth in WAC 458-20-221
(10) Examples - Outbound sales.
The following examples show how the provisions of this section relating to interstate sales of tangible personal property will apply when the goods originate in Washington (outbound sales). The examples presume the seller has retained the proper proof documents and that the seller did not manufacture the items being sold.
(a) Company A is located in Washington. It sells machine parts at retail and wholesale. Company B is located in California and it purchases machine parts from Company A. Company A carries the parts to California in its own vehicle to make delivery. It is immaterial whether the goods are received at either the purchaser's out-of-state location or at any other place outside Washington state. The sale is not subject to Washington's B&O tax or its retail sales tax because the buyer did not receive the goods in Washington. Washington treats the transaction as a tax exempt interstate sale. California may impose its taxing jurisdiction on this sale.
(b) Company A, above, ships the parts by a for-hire carrier to Company B in California. Company B has not previously received the parts in Washington directly or through a receiving agent. It is immaterial whether the goods are received at either Company B's out-of-state location or any other place outside Washington state. It is immaterial whether the shipment is freight prepaid or freight collect. Again, Washington treats the transaction as an exempt interstate sale.
(c) Company B, above, has its employees or agents pick up the parts at Company A's Washington plant and transports them out of Washington. The sale is fully taxable under Washington's B&O tax and, if the parts are not purchased for resale by Company B, Washington's retail sales tax also applies.
(d) Company B, above, hires a carrier to transport the parts from Washington. Company B authorizes the carrier, or another agent, to inspect and accept the parts and, if necessary, to hold them temporarily for consolidation with other goods being shipped out of Washington. This sale is taxable under Washington's B&O tax and, if the parts are not purchased for resale by Company B, Washington's retail sales tax also applies.
(e) Washington will not tax the transactions in the above examples (a) and (b) if Company A mails the parts to Company B rather than using its own vehicles or a for-hire carrier for out-of-state receipt. By contrast, Washington will tax the transactions in the above examples (c) and (d) if for some reason Company B or its agent mails the parts to an out-of-state location after receiving them in Washington. The B&O tax applies to the latter two examples and if the parts are not purchased for resale by Company B then retail sales tax will also apply.
(f) Buyer C who is located in Alaska purchases parts for its own use in Alaska from Seller D who is located in Washington. Buyer C specifies to the seller that the parts are to be delivered to the water carrier at a dock in Seattle. The buyer has entered into a written contract for the carrier to inspect the parts at the Seattle dock. The sale is subject to the B&O tax because receipt took place in Washington. The retail sales tax does not apply because of the specific exemption at RCW 82.08.0269
. This transaction would have been exempt of the B&O tax if the buyer had taken no action to receive the goods in Washington.
(11) Examples - Inbound sales.
The following examples show how the provisions of this section relating to interstate sales of tangible personal property will apply when the goods originate outside Washington (inbound sales). The examples presume the seller has retained the proper proof documents.
(a) Company A is located in California. It sells machine parts at retail and wholesale. Company B is located in Washington and it purchases machine parts for its own use from Company A. Company A uses its own vehicles to deliver the machine parts to its customers in Washington for receipt in this state. The sale is subject to the retail sales and B&O tax if the seller has nexus, or use tax if nexus is not present.
(b) Company A, above, ships the parts by a for-hire carrier to Company B in Washington. The goods are not accepted by Company B until the goods arrive in Washington. The sale is subject to the retail sales or use tax and is also subject to the B&O tax if the seller has nexus in Washington. It is immaterial whether the shipment is freight prepaid or freight collect.
(c) Company B, above, has its employees or agents pick up the parts at Company A's California plant and transports them into Washington. Company A is not required to collect sales or use tax and is not liable for B&O tax on the sale of these parts. Company B is liable for payment of use tax at the time of first use of the parts in Washington.
(d) Company B, above, hires a carrier to transport the parts from California. Company B authorizes the carrier, or an agent, to inspect and accept the parts and, if necessary, to hold them temporarily for consolidation with other goods being shipped to Washington. The seller is not required to collect retail sales or use tax and is not liable for the B&O tax on these sales. Company B is subject to use tax on the first use of the parts in Washington.
(e) Company B, above, instructs Company A to deliver the machine parts to a freight consolidator selected by Company B. The freight consolidator does not have authority to receive the goods as agent for Company B. Receipt will not occur until the parts are received by Company B in Washington. Company A is required to collect retail sales or use tax and is liable for B&O tax if Company A has nexus for this sale. The mere delivery to a consolidator or for-hire carrier who is not acting as the buyer's receiving agent is not receipt by the buyer.
(f) Transactions in examples (11)(a) and (11)(b) will also be taxable if Company A mails the parts to Company B for receipt in Washington, rather than using its own vehicles or a for-hire carrier. The tax will continue to apply even if Company B for some reason sends the parts to a location outside Washington after the parts were accepted in Washington.
(g) Company W with its main office in Ohio has one employee working from the employee's home located in Washington. The taxpayer has no offices, inventory, or other employees in Washington. The employee calls on potential customers to promote the company's products and to solicit sales. On June 30, 1990 the employee is terminated. After this date the company no longer has an employee or agent calling on customers in Washington or carries on any activities in Washington which is significantly associated with the seller's ability to establish or maintain a market for its products in Washington. Washington customers who had previously been contacted by the former employee continue to purchase the products by placing orders by mail or telephone directly with the out-of-state seller. The nexus which was established by the employee's presence in Washington will be presumed to continue through December 31, 1994 and subject to B&O tax. Nexus will cease on December 31, 1994 if the seller has not established any new nexus during this period. Company W may disassociate and exclude from B&O tax sales to new customers who had no contact with the former employee. The burden of proof to disassociate is on the seller.
(h) Company X is located in Ohio and has no office, employees, or other agents located in Washington or any other contact which would create nexus. Company X receives by mail an order from Company Y for parts which are to be shipped to a Washington location. Company X purchases the parts from Company Z who is located in Washington and requests that the parts be drop shipped to Company Y. Since Company X has no nexus in Washington, Company X is not subject to B&O tax or required to collect retail sales tax. Company X has not taken possession or dominion or control over the parts in Washington. Company Z may accept a resale certificate (WAC 458-20-102
A) for sales made before January 1, 2010, or a Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Certificate of Exemption or a Multistate Tax Commission Exemption Certificate (WAC 458-20-102
) for sales made on or after January 1, 2010, from Company X which will bear the registration number issued by the state of Ohio. Company Y is required to pay use tax on the value of the parts. Even though resale certificates are no longer used after December 31, 2009, they must be kept on file by Company Z for five years from the date of last use or December 31, 2014.
(i) Company ABC is located in Washington and purchases goods from Company XYZ located in Ohio. Upon receiving the order, Company XYZ ships the goods by a for-hire carrier to a public warehouse in Washington. The goods will be considered as having been received by Company ABC at the time Company ABC is entitled to receive a warehouse receipt for the goods. Company XYZ will be subject to the B&O tax at that time if it had nexus for this sale.
(j) P&S Department Stores has retail stores located in Washington, Oregon, and in several other states. John Doe goes to a P&S store in Portland, Oregon to purchase luggage. John Doe takes physical possession of the luggage at the store and elects to finance the purchase using a credit card issued to him by P&S. John Doe is a Washington resident and the credit card billings are sent to him at his Washington address. P&S does not have any responsibility for collection of retail sales or use tax on this transaction because receipt of the luggage by the customer occurred outside Washington.
(k) JET Company is located in the state of Kansas where it manufactures specialty parts. One of JET's customers is AIR who purchases these parts as components of the product which AIR assembles in Washington. AIR has an employee at the JET manufacturing site who reviews quality control of the product during fabrication. He also inspects the product and gives his approval for shipment to Washington. JET is not subject to B&O tax on the sales to AIR. AIR receives the parts in Kansas irrespective that JET may be shown as the shipper on bills of lading or that some parts eventually may be returned after shipment to Washington because of hidden defects.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), chapters 82.04, 82.08, 82.12 and 82.32 RCW. 10-06-070, § 458-20-193, filed 2/25/10, effective 3/28/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. 91-24-020, § 458-20-193, filed 11/22/91, effective 1/1/92. Formerly WAC 458-20-193A and 458-20-193B.]