(1) Definitions. As used herein:
(a) The term "prime contractor" means a person engaged in the business of performing for consumers, the constructing, repairing, decorating or improving of new or existing buildings or other structures under, upon or above real property, either for the entire work or for a specific portion thereof. The term includes persons who rent or lease equipment to property owners for use in respect to constructing, repairing, etc., buildings or structures upon such property, when the equipment is operated by the lessor.
(b) The word "subcontractor" means a person engaged in the business of performing a similar service for persons other than consumers, either for the entire work or for a specific portion thereof. The term includes persons who rent or lease equipment to prime contractors or subcontractors for use in respect to constructing, repairing, etc., when such equipment is operated by the lessor. When equipment or other tangible personal property is rented without an operator to contractors, subcontractors or others, the transaction is a sale at retail (see RCW 82.04.040
(c) The terms "prime contractor" and "subcontractor" include persons performing labor and services in respect to the moving of earth or clearing of land, cleaning, fumigating, razing, or moving of existing buildings or structures even though such services may not be done in connection with a contract involving the constructing, repairing, or altering of a new or existing building or structure. The terms also include persons constructing streets, roads, highways, etc., owned by the state of Washington.
(d) The term "buildings or other structures" means everything artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner and attached to real property. It includes not only buildings in the general and ordinary sense, but also tanks, fences, conduits, culverts, railroad tracks, tunnels, overhead and underground transmission systems, monuments, retaining walls, piling and privately owned bridges, trestles, parking lots, and pavements for foot or vehicular traffic, etc.
(e) The term "constructing, repairing, decorating or improving of new or existing buildings or other structures," in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes: The installing or attaching of any article of tangible personal property in or to real property, whether or not such personal property becomes a part of the realty by virtue of installation; the clearing of land and the moving of earth; and the construction of streets, roads, highways, etc., owned by the state of Washington. The term includes the sale of or charge made for all service activities rendered in respect to such constructing, repairing, etc., regardless of whether or not such services are otherwise defined as "sale" by RCW 82.04.040
or "sales at retail" by RCW 82.04.050
. Hence, for example, such service charges as engineering fees, architectural fees or supervisory fees are within the term when the services are included within a contract for the construction of a building or structure. The fact that the charge for such services may be shown separately in bid, contract or specifications does not establish the charge as a separate item in computing tax liability.
(2) Speculative builders.
(a) As used herein the term "speculative builder" means one who constructs buildings for sale or rental upon real estate owned by him. The attributes of ownership of real estate for purposes of this rule include but are not limited to the following: (i) The intentions of the parties in the transaction under which the land was acquired; (ii) the person who paid for the land; (iii) the person who paid for improvements to the land; (iv) the manner in which all parties, including financiers, dealt with the land. The terms "sells" or "contracts to sell" include any agreement whereby an immediate right to possession or title to the property vests in the purchaser.
(b) Where an owner of real estate sells it to a builder who constructs, repairs, decorates, or improves new or existing buildings or other structures thereon, and the builder thereafter resells the improved property back to the owner, the builder will not be considered a speculative builder. In such a case that portion of the resale attributable to the construction, repairs, decorations, or improvements by the builder, shall not be considered a sale of real estate and shall be fully subject to retailing business and occupation tax and retail sales tax. It is intended by this provision to prevent the avoidance of tax liability on construction labor and services by utilizing the mechanism of real property transfers. (RCW 82.04.050
(c) Amounts derived from the sale of real estate are exempt from the business and occupation tax. (RCW 82.04.390
.) Consequently, the proceeds of sales by legitimate speculative builders of completed buildings are not subject to such tax. Neither does the sales tax apply to such sales, since such a sale involves no charge made for construction for a consumer, but the price paid is for the sale of real estate.
(d) However, when a speculative builder sells or contracts to sell property upon which he is presently constructing a building, all construction done subsequent to the date of such sale or contract constitutes a retail sale and that portion of the sales price allocable to construction done after the agreement shall be taxed accordingly. Consequently, the builder must pay business and occupation tax under the retailing classification on that part of the sales price attributable to construction done subsequent to the agreement, and shall also collect sales tax from the buyer on such allocable part of the sales price.
(e) Speculative builders must pay sales tax upon all materials purchased by them and on all charges made by their subcontractors. Deductions for such tax paid with respect to materials used or charges made for that part of the construction done after the contract to sell the building should be claimed by the speculative builder on his tax returns in accordance with WAC 458-20-102
, under the subheading PURCHASES FOR DUAL PURPOSES
(f) Persons, including corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and joint ventures, among others, who perform construction upon land owned by their corporate officers, shareholders, partners, owners, co-venturers, etc., are constructing upon land owned by others and are taxable as sellers under this rule, not as "speculative builders."
(3) Business and occupation tax.
(a) Prime contractors are taxable under the retailing classification, and subcontractors under the wholesaling classification upon the gross contract price.
(b) Where no gross contract price is stated in any contract or agreement between the builder and the property owner, then the measure of business and occupation tax is the total amount of construction costs, including any charges for licenses, fees, permits, etc., required for the construction and paid by the builder.
(4) Retail sales tax.
(a) Prime contractors are required to collect from consumers the retail sales tax measured by the full contract price. Where no gross contract price is stated, the measure of sales tax is the total amount of construction costs including any charges for licenses, fees, permits, etc., required for construction and paid by the builder.
(b) The retail sales tax does not apply to charges made for janitorial services nor for the mere leveling of land used in commercial farming or agriculture. The tax does apply, however, in respect to contracts for cleaning septic tanks or the exterior walls of buildings, as well as to earth moving, land clearing and the razing or moving of structures, whether or not such services are performed as incidents of a contract to construct, repair, decorate, or improve buildings or structures.
(c) Sales to prime contractors and subcontractors of materials such as concrete, tie rods, lumber, finish hardware, etc., which become part of the structure being built or improved are sales for resale and are not subject to the retail sales tax. Sales of form lumber to such contractors are sales for resale provided that such lumber is used or to be used first by such persons for the molding of concrete in a single contract, project or job and the form lumber is thereafter incorporated into the product of that same contract project or job as an ingredient or component thereof. Sales of form lumber not so incorporated as an ingredient or component are sales at retail.
(d) The retail sales tax applies upon sales and rentals to prime contractors and subcontractors of tools, machinery and equipment, and consumable supplies, such as hand and machine tools, cranes, air compressors, bulldozers, lubricating oil, sandpaper and form lumber which are primarily for use by the contractor rather than for resale as a component part of the finished structure.
(e) The retail sales tax applies upon sales to speculative builders of all tangible personal property, including building materials, tools, equipment and consumable supplies and upon sales of labor, services and materials to speculative builders by independent contractors.
(5) Use tax.
The use tax applies generally to the use by prime contractors and subcontractors of tools, machinery, equipment and consumable supplies acquired by them primarily for their own use and upon which the retail sales tax has not been paid. This includes equipment and supplies purchased in a foreign state for use or consumption in performing contracts in this state. The use tax applies generally to the use by speculative builders of all tangible personal property, including building materials, purchased or acquired by them without payment of the retail sales tax (see also WAC 458-20-178
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300
. WSR 87-19-007 (Order ET 87-5), § 458-20-170, filed 9/8/87; WSR 83-07-033 (Order ET 83-16), § 458-20-170, filed 3/15/83; Order ET 71-1, § 458-20-170, filed 7/22/71; Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-170 (Rule 170), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]