Retailers to collect tax — Penalty — Contingent expiration of subsection.
(1) Every person who maintains in this state a place of business or a stock of goods, or engages in business activities within this state, shall obtain from the department a certificate of registration, and shall, at the time of making sales of tangible personal property, digital goods, digital codes, digital automated services, extended warranties, or sales of any service defined as a retail sale in RCW 82.04.050 (2) (a) or (g), (3)(a), or (6)(b), or making transfers of either possession or title, or both, of tangible personal property for use in this state, collect from the purchasers or transferees the tax imposed under this chapter. The tax to be collected under this section must be in an amount equal to the purchase price multiplied by the rate in effect for the retail sales tax under RCW 82.08.020. For the purposes of this chapter, the phrase "maintains in this state a place of business" shall include the solicitation of sales and/or taking of orders by sales agents or traveling representatives. For the purposes of this chapter, "engages in business activity within this state" includes every activity which is sufficient under the Constitution of the United States for this state to require collection of tax under this chapter. The department must in rules specify activities which constitute engaging in business activity within this state, and must keep the rules current with future court interpretations of the Constitution of the United States.
(2) Every person who engages in this state in the business of acting as an independent selling agent for persons who do not hold a valid certificate of registration, and who receives compensation by reason of sales of tangible personal property, digital goods, digital codes, digital automated services, extended warranties, or sales of any service defined as a retail sale in RCW 82.04.050 (2) (a) or (g), (3)(a), or (6)(b), of his or her principals for use in this state, must, at the time such sales are made, collect from the purchasers the tax imposed on the purchase price under this chapter, and for that purpose is deemed a retailer as defined in this chapter.
(3) The tax required to be collected by this chapter is deemed to be held in trust by the retailer until paid to the department, and any retailer who appropriates or converts the tax collected to the retailer's own use or to any use other than the payment of the tax provided herein to the extent that the money required to be collected is not available for payment on the due date as prescribed is guilty of a misdemeanor. In case any seller fails to collect the tax herein imposed or having collected the tax, fails to pay the same to the department in the manner prescribed, whether such failure is the result of the seller's own acts or the result of acts or conditions beyond the seller's control, the seller is nevertheless personally liable to the state for the amount of such tax, unless the seller has taken from the buyer a copy of a direct pay permit issued under RCW 82.32.087.
(4) Any retailer who refunds, remits, or rebates to a purchaser, or transferee, either directly or indirectly, and by whatever means, all or any part of the tax levied by this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(5) Notwithstanding subsections (1) through (4) of this section, any person making sales is not obligated to collect the tax imposed by this chapter if:
(a) The person's activities in this state, whether conducted directly or through another person, are limited to:
(i) The storage, dissemination, or display of advertising;
(ii) The taking of orders; or
(iii) The processing of payments; and
(b) The activities are conducted electronically via a web site on a server or other computer equipment located in Washington that is not owned or operated by the person making sales into this state nor owned or operated by an affiliated person. "Affiliated persons" has the same meaning as provided in RCW 82.04.424.
(6) Subsection (5) of this section expires when: (a) The United States congress grants individual states the authority to impose sales and use tax collection duties on remote sellers; or (b) it is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, in a judgment not subject to review, that a state can impose sales and use tax collection duties on remote sellers.
(7) Notwithstanding subsections (1) through (4) of this section, any person making sales is not obligated to collect the tax imposed by this chapter if the person would have been obligated to collect retail sales tax on the sale absent a specific exemption provided in chapter 82.08 RCW, and there is no corresponding use tax exemption in this chapter. Nothing in this subsection (7) may be construed as relieving purchasers from liability for reporting and remitting the tax due under this chapter directly to the department.
(8) Notwithstanding subsections (1) through (4) of this section, any person making sales is not obligated to collect the tax imposed by this chapter if the state is prohibited under the Constitution or laws of the United States from requiring the person to collect the tax imposed by this chapter.
[2011 1st sp.s. c 20 § 103; 2010 c 106 § 221; 2009 c 535 § 1108; 2005 c 514 § 109. Prior: 2003 c 168 § 215; 2003 c 76 § 4; 2001 c 188 § 5; 1986 c 48 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 299 § 11; 1961 c 293 § 11; 1961 c 15 § 82.12.040; prior: 1955 c 389 § 27; 1945 c 249 § 7; 1941 c 178 § 10; 1939 c 225 § 16; Rem. Supp. 1945 § 8370-33; prior: 1935 c 180 § 33.]
| Effective date -- 2010 c 106: See note following RCW 35.102.145.|
Intent -- Construction -- 2009 c 535: See notes following RCW 82.04.192.
Effective date -- 2005 c 514: See note following RCW 83.100.230.
Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2005 c 514: See notes following RCW 82.12.808.
Effective dates -- Part headings not law -- 2003 c 168: See notes following RCW 82.08.010.
Intent -- 2003 c 76: See note following RCW 82.04.424.
Finding -- Intent -- Effective date -- 2001 c 188: See notes following RCW 82.32.087.
Effective date -- 1986 c 48: "This act shall take effect July 1, 1986." [1986 c 48 § 2.]
Effective dates -- Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 299: See notes following RCW 82.04.050.
Project on exemption reporting requirements: RCW 82.32.440.