This section explains the manner in which delivery charges are considered for purposes of business and occupation (B&O), retail sales, and use taxes. For information about delivery charges with regard to promotional materials, see WAC 458-20-17803
(Use tax on promotional materials).
(2) What are delivery charges?
"Delivery charges" means charges by the seller for preparation and delivery to a location designated by the purchaser of tangible personal property or services including, but not limited to, transportation, shipping, postage, handling, crating, and packing.
(3) Do the business and occupation (B&O) and retail sales taxes apply to delivery charges?
The measure of the tax is "gross proceeds of sales" for B&O tax (RCW 82.04.070
) and "selling price" for retail sales tax (RCW 82.08.010
). Gross proceeds of sales and selling price include all consideration paid by the buyer, without any deduction for costs of doing business such as material, labor, and transportation costs, including delivery charges. Thus, delivery charges by the seller are a component of these tax measures.
(a) What if delivery charges are separately itemized on the sales invoice?
Amounts received by a seller from a buyer for delivery charges are included in the measure of tax regardless of whether charges for such costs are billed separately, itemized, or whether the seller is also the carrier. Limiting delivery charges to the actual cost of delivery to the seller does not affect taxability.
(b) Does retail sales tax apply to all delivery charges by the seller?
Delivery charges by the seller making a retail sale are a component of the selling price. If the sale of the tangible personal property or service is exempt from retail sales tax, such as certain "food and food ingredients," retail sales tax does not apply to the selling price, including delivery charges, associated with that sale. Similarly, if the product is sold at wholesale, retail sales tax does not apply to the delivery charges of that sale.
If a retail sale consists of both taxable and nontaxable tangible personal property, and delivery charges are a component of the selling price, retail sales tax applies to the percentage of delivery charges allocated to the taxable tangible personal property. Retail sales tax is not due on delivery charges allocated to exempt tangible personal property.
The seller may use either of the following percentages to determine the taxable portion of the delivery charges:
(i) A percentage based on the total sales price of the taxable tangible personal property compared to the total sales price of all tangible personal property in the shipment; or
(ii) A percentage based on the total weight of the taxable tangible personal property compared to the total weight of all tangible personal property in the shipment.
(c) Are there any situations in which delivery charges by the seller may be excluded from the measure of tax?
There is no specific exclusion from the measure of tax for delivery charges by the seller. Actual delivery costs, regardless of whether separately charged, may be excluded from the measure of the manufacturing and extracting B&O taxes when the products are delivered outside the state. For further discussion, refer to WAC 458-20-112
(Value of products). WAC 458-20-13501
(Timber harvest operations) provides guidance regarding this issue for persons engaged in activities associated with timber harvesting.
(d) Delivery charges in cases of payments to third parties.
Delivery charges incurred after the buyer takes delivery of the goods are not part of the selling price when the seller is not liable for payment of the delivery charges. To be excluded from the gross proceeds of sales for B&O tax and selling price for retail sales tax, the seller must document that the buyer alone is responsible to pay the carrier for the delivery charges.
The following examples identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The tax results of other situations must be determined after a review of all of the facts and circumstances. In these examples, if the seller had been required to collect use tax (RCW 82.12.040
) instead of retail sales tax (RCW 82.08.050
), the use tax collection responsibility remains the same as for retail sales tax. This is because, in this context, the "value of article used" has the same meaning as the "purchase price" or "selling price."
(i) Example 1.
Jane Doe orders a life vest from Marine Sales and requests that the vest be mailed by the United States Postal Service to her home. Marine Sales places the correct postage on the package using its postage meter and separately itemizes a charge on the sales invoice to Jane at the exact amount of the postage cost. Marine Sales is subject to the retailing B&O tax on the gross proceeds of the sale and must collect retail sales tax on the selling price, both of which measures of tax include the charge for postage.
(ii) Example 2.
XYZ Corporation orders equipment from ABC Distributors and provides ABC with a properly completed resale certificate (WAC 458-20-102
A), for purchases made before January 1, 2010, or a reseller permit (WAC 458-20-102
), for purchases made on or after January 1, 2010. ABC ships the equipment using overnight air delivery and itemizes the actual amount of its shipping costs on the sales invoice. ABC must remit wholesaling B&O tax on the gross proceeds of sale, which includes the amount billed as shipping charges. Since the equipment is purchased for resale, ABC does not collect or report retail sales tax.
(iii) Example 3.
The facts in this example are the same as those in (ii) of this subsection except that XYZ provides ABC with a properly completed exemption certificate. Retail sales tax does not apply to the delivery charge because the selling price, of which the delivery charge is a component, is exempt from retail sales tax. However, the delivery charge is included in the gross proceeds of the sale, and thus, is subject to retailing B&O tax.
(iv) Example 4.
Jones Computer Supply, a distributor, makes retail sales of computer products primarily by mail order. It is the practice of Jones Computer Supply to add a ten-dollar handling charge for each order. No separate charge is made for actual transportation. The handling charge is part of the measure of tax for the retailing B&O and retail sales taxes.
(v) Example 5.
ABC Construction in Seattle purchased a new saw from XYZ, Inc. The sales contract specifies that ABC will contract with MNO, Inc. for shipping to Seattle and that MNO, Inc. will pick up the saw in Spokane. ABC does contract with MNO for the shipping and is shown as the consignor on the bill of lading. The transportation charge is not included in the measure of tax for purposes of the retailing B&O and retail sales taxes because ABC, the buyer, is liable for payment to MNO, for shipping the new saw.
(4) Delivery charges and use tax.
"Value of article used," which is the measure of the use tax for tangible personal property, includes the amount of any delivery charge paid or given to the seller or on behalf of the seller with respect to the purchase of such article. Beginning July 1, 2004, both the "value of the article used" and the "value of the service used" will be the "purchase price" in instances where the seller is required under RCW 82.12.040
to collect use tax from the purchaser. RCW 82.12.010
. "Purchase price" has the same meaning as "selling price" as described in subsection (3) of this section. Consumers responsible for remitting use tax directly to the department should refer to WAC 458-20-178
The following examples identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The tax results of other situations must be determined after a review of all of the facts and circumstances. Presume that all transactions in the following examples occur July 1, 2004, or later.
(a) Example 1.
ABC Construction ordered replacement parts for a saw from XYZ, Inc., a business located in Chicago that is not required to collect Washington taxes. XYZ contracted with MNO Freight to ship the parts from Chicago. ABC is subject to use tax on the value of the article used (presumed to be the purchase price of the parts) including the cost of the transportation, regardless of whether the transportation costs are itemized.
(b) Example 2.
The facts in this example are the same as those in (a) of this subsection except that instead of ordering a replacement part, ABC Construction sends a broken part to XYZ, Inc. in Chicago for repair. ABC is subject to use tax on the repair service. The cost of transportation is included in the value of the service used, regardless of whether the transportation costs are itemized.
(c) Example 3.
ABC Construction ordered replacement parts for a saw from XYZ, Inc., a business located in Chicago that is not required to collect Washington taxes. ABC hired MNO Freight to ship the parts from Chicago and was responsible for payment. ABC may exclude the cost of the transportation from the value on which use tax is due. The transportation costs ABC pays MNO are not a component of the value of the article used because the cost is not part of the consideration paid to XYZ for the replacement parts. ABC is subject to use tax on the value of the parts, which is presumed to be their purchase price.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), chapters 82.04, 82.08, 82.12 and 82.32 RCW. 10-06-069, § 458-20-110, filed 2/25/10, effective 3/28/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and chapters 82.04, 82.08 and 82.12 RCW. 08-14-026, § 458-20-110, filed 6/20/08, effective 7/21/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). 05-02-039, § 458-20-110, filed 12/30/04, effective 1/30/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. 91-23-037, § 458-20-110, filed 11/13/91, effective 12/14/91; Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-110 (Rule 110), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]