(1) Nature of the tax. The use tax supplements the retail sales tax by imposing a tax of like amount upon the use within this state as a consumer of any article of tangible personal property purchased at retail or acquired by lease, gift, repossession, or bailment, or extracted, produced or manufactured by the person so using the same, where the user, donor or bailor has not paid retail sales tax under chapter 82.08
RCW with respect to the property used.
(2) In general, the use tax applies upon the use of any tangible personal property, the sale or acquisition of which has not been subjected to the Washington retail sales tax. Conversely, it does not apply upon the use of any property if the sale to the present user or to the present user's donor or bailor has been subjected to the Washington retail sales tax, and such tax has been paid thereon. Thus, these two methods of taxation stand as complements to each other in the state revenue plan, and taken together, provide a uniform tax upon the sale or use of all tangible personal property, irrespective of where it may have been purchased or how acquired.
(3) When tax liability arises. Tax liability imposed under the use tax arises at the time the property purchased, received as a gift, acquired by bailment, or extracted or produced or manufactured by the person using the same is first put to use in this state. The terms "use," "used," "using," or "put to use" include any act by which a person takes or assumes dominion or control over the article and shall include installation, storage, withdrawal from storage, or any other act preparatory to subsequent actual use or consumption within the state. Tax liability arises as to that use only which first occurs within the state and no additional liability arises with respect to any subsequent use of the same article by the same person. As to lessees of tangible personal property who have not paid the retail sales tax to their lessors, liability for use tax arises as of the time rental payments fall due and is measured by the amount of such rental payments.
(4) Persons liable for the tax. The person liable for the tax is the purchaser, the extractor or manufacturer who commercially uses the articles extracted or manufactured, the bailor or donor and the bailee or donee if the tax is not paid by the bailor or donor, and the lessee (to the extent of the amount of rental payments to a lessor who has not collected the retail sales tax). A lessor who leases equipment with an operator is deemed a user and is liable for the tax on the full value of the equipment.
(5) The law provides that the term "sale at retail" means, among other things, every sale of tangible personal property to persons taxable under the classifications of public road construction, government contracting, and service and other business activities of the business and occupation tax. Hence, persons engaged in such businesses are liable for the payment of the use tax with respect to the use of materials purchased by them for the performance of those activities, when the Washington retail sales tax has not been paid on the purchase thereof, even though title to such property may be transferred to another either as personal or as real property. Persons engaged in the types of businesses referred to in this paragraph are expressly included within the statutory definition of the word "consumer." (See RCW 82.04.190
.) Also liable for tax is any person who distributes or displays or causes to be distributed or displayed any article of tangible personal property, the primary purpose of which is to promote the sale of products and services except newspapers and except printed materials over which the person has taken no direct dominion and control. (See RCW 82.12.010
(6) Lessors and lessees. Any use tax liability with respect to leased tangible personal property will be that of the lessee and is limited to the amount of rental payments paid or due the lessor. However, when boats, motor vehicles, equipment and similar property are rented under conditions whereby the lessor itself supplies an operator or crew, the lessor itself is the user and the use tax is applicable to the value of the property so used.
(7) Exemptions. Persons who purchase, produce, manufacture, or acquire by lease or gift tangible personal property for their own use or consumption in this state, are liable for the payment of the use tax, except as to the following uses which are exempt under RCW 82.12.0251
of the law:
(a) The use of tangible personal property brought into the state of Washington by a nonresident thereof for use or enjoyment while temporarily within the state, unless such property is used in conducting a nontransitory business activity within the state; or
(b) The use by a nonresident of a motor vehicle or trailer which is currently registered or licensed under the laws of the state of the nonresident's residence and which is not required to be registered or licensed under the laws of this state, including motor vehicles or trailers exempt pursuant to a declaration issued by the department of licensing under RCW 46.85.060
(c) The use of household goods, personal effects, and private automobiles by a bona fide resident of this state or nonresident members of the armed forces who are stationed in this state pursuant to military orders, if such articles were acquired and used by such person in another state while a bona fide resident thereof and such acquisition and use occurred more than ninety days prior to the time such person entered this state.
(i) Use by a nonresident. The exemptions set forth in (a) and (b) of this subsection, do not extend to the use of articles by a person residing in this state irrespective of whether or not such person claims a legal domicile elsewhere or intends to leave this state at some future time, nor do they extend to the use of property brought into this state by a nonresident for the purpose of conducting herein a nontransitory business activity.
(ii) The term "nontransitory business activity" means and includes the business of extracting, manufacturing, selling tangible and intangible property, printing, publishing, and performing contracts for the constructing or improving of real or personal property. It does not include the business of conducting a circus or other form of amusement when the personnel and property of such business regularly moves from one state into another, nor does it include casual or incidental business done by a nonresident lawyer, doctor or accountant.
(d) The use of any article of tangible personal property purchased at retail or acquired by lease, by bailment or by gift if the sale thereof to or the use thereof by the present user or its bailor or donor has already been subjected to retail sales tax or use tax and such tax has been paid by the present user or by its bailor or donor; or in respect to the use of property acquired by bailment when tax has been paid by the bailee or any previous bailee, based on reasonable rental value as provided by RCW 82.12.060
, equal to the amount of tax multiplied by the value of the article used at the time of first use, at the tax rate then applicable, or in respect to the use by a bailee of property acquired prior to June 9, 1961, by a previous bailee from the same bailor for use in the same general activity.
(e) The use of any article of tangible personal property the sale of which is specifically taxable under the public utility tax.
(f) In respect to the use of any airplane, locomotive, railroad car, or water craft used primarily in conducting interstate or foreign commerce by transporting therein or therewith property and persons for hire or used primarily in commercial deep sea fishing operations outside the territorial waters of the state, and;
(g) In respect to the use of tangible personal property which becomes a component part of any such airplane, locomotive, railroad car, or water craft, and in respect to the use by a nonresident of this state of any motor vehicle or trailer used exclusively in transporting persons or property across the boundaries of this state and in intrastate operations incidental thereto when such motor vehicle or trailer is registered and licensed in a foreign state; also in respect to the use by a nonresident of this state of any motor vehicle or trailer so registered and licensed and used within this state for a period not exceeding fifteen consecutive days when the user has furnished the department of revenue with a written statement containing the following information:
(i) Name of registered owner.
(ii) Name of the foreign state in which motor vehicle or trailer is registered.
(iii) License number.
(iv) Make and model.
(v) Purpose of use in Washington.
(vi) Date of first use in Washington.
(vii) Date last used in Washington.
(h) For reasons approved by the department of revenue, fifteen additional days may be granted consecutive to the original period of use. Application for such additional use must be made in writing in advance of the expiration of the original period of use and must set out the justification for and the reason why such additional time should be allowed.
(i) This exemption is not available to persons performing construction or service contracts in this state but is limited to casual or isolated use by a nonresident for servicing of its own facilities.
(j) For the purpose of this exemption the term "nonresident" shall include a user who has one or more places of business in this state as well as in one or more other states, but the exemption for nonresidents shall apply only to those vehicles which are most frequently dispatched, garaged, serviced, maintained, and operated from the user's place of business in another state, and;
(k) In respect to the use by the holder of a carrier permit issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission of any motor vehicle or trailer used in substantial part in the normal and ordinary course of the user's business for transporting therein persons or property for hire across the boundaries of this state if the first use of which within this state is actual use in conducting interstate or foreign commerce. Also in respect to use by subcontractors to such interstate carriers, (i.e., persons operating their own vehicles under leases with operator) and;
(l) In respect to the use of any motor vehicle or trailer while being operated under the authority of a trip permit issued by the department of motor vehicles pursuant to RCW 46.16.160
and moving upon the highways from the point of delivery in this state to a point outside this state, and;
(m) In respect to the use of tangible personal property which becomes a component part of any motor vehicle or trailer used by the holder of a carrier permit issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission authorizing transportation by motor vehicle across the boundaries of this state. Also in respect to use by subcontractors to such interstate carriers (i.e., persons operating their own vehicles under leases with operator).
(n) The use of any article of tangible personal property which the state is prohibited from taxing under the constitution of the state or under the constitution or laws of the United States;
(o) The use of motor vehicle fuel used in aircraft by the manufacturer thereof for research, development, and testing purposes, and special fuel purchased in this state upon which a refund is obtained as provided in RCW 82.38.180
(2), and motor vehicle and special fuel if:
(i) The fuel is used for the purpose of public transportation and the purchaser is entitled to a refund or an exemption under RCW 82.36.275
(ii) The fuel is purchased by a private, nonprofit transportation provider certified under chapter 81.66
RCW and the purchaser is entitled to a refund or an exemption under RCW 82.36.285
(iii) The fuel is taxable under chapter 82.36
RCW: Provided, That the use of motor vehicle and special fuel upon which a refund of the applicable fuel tax is obtained shall not be exempt under this subsection, and the director of licensing shall deduct from the amount of such tax to be refunded the amount of use tax due and remit the same each month to the department of revenue.
(p) In respect to the use of any article of tangible personal property included within the transfer of the title to the entire operating property of a publicly or privately owned public utility, or a complete operating integral section thereof by the state or a political subdivision thereof in conducting any business defined in RCW 82.16.010
(1) through (11).
(q) The use of tangible personal property (including household goods) which has been used in conducting a farm activity, but only when that property was purchased from a farmer at an auction sale held or conducted by an auctioneer upon a farm and not otherwise.
(r) The use of tangible personal property by corporations which have been incorporated under any act of the Congress of the United States of America and whose principal purposes are to furnish volunteer aid to members of the armed forces of the United States and also to carry on a system of national and international relief and to apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same. (The Red Cross is the only existing organization that qualifies for this exemption.)
(s) The use of purebred livestock for breeding purposes where said animals are registered in a nationally recognized breed association, and in respect to the use of cattle and milk cows used on the farm.
(t) The use of poultry in the production for sale of poultry or poultry products.
(u) The use of fuel by the extractor or manufacturer thereof when used directly in the operation of the particular extractive operation or manufacturing plant which produced or manufactured the same.
(v) The use of motor vehicles, equipped with dual controls, which are loaned to accredited schools and used in connection with their driver training programs.
(w) The use by a bailee of any article of tangible personal property which is entirely consumed in the course of research, development, experimental and testing activities conducted by the user, provided the acquisition or use of such articles by the bailor was not subject to sales or use tax.
(x) The use by residents of this state of motor vehicles and trailers acquired outside this state and used while such persons are members of the armed services and are stationed outside this state pursuant to military orders, but this exemption does not apply to the use of motor vehicles or trailers acquired less than thirty days prior to the discharge or release from active duty of such person from the armed services. This exemption is not permitted to persons called to active duty for training periods of less than six months.
(y) The use of sand, gravel, or rock to the extent of the cost of or charges made for labor and services performed in respect to the mining, sorting, crushing, screening, washing, hauling, and stockpiling such sand, gravel, or rock, when such sand, gravel, or rock is taken from a pit or quarry which is owned by or leased to a county or a city, and such sand, gravel, or rock is (a) either stockpiled in said pit or quarry for placement or is placed on the street, road, place or highway of the county or city by the county or city itself (i.e., by its own employees), or (b) sold by the county or city to a county or a city at actual cost for placement on a publicly owned street, road, place, or highway. This exemption shall not apply to the use of such material to the extent of the cost of or charge made for such labor and services, if the material is used for other than public road purposes or is sold otherwise than as here indicated.
(z) The use of form lumber by any person engaged in the construction, repairing, decorating or improving of new or existing buildings or other structures under, upon or above real property of or for consumers: Provided, That such lumber is used or to be used first by such person for the molding of concrete in a single such contract, project or job and is thereafter incorporated into the product of that same contract, project or job as an ingredient or component thereof.
(aa) The use of wearing apparel only as a sample for display for the purpose of effecting sales of goods represented by such sample.
(bb) The use of tangible personal property held for sale and displayed in single trade shows for a period not in excess of thirty days, the primary purpose of which is to promote the sale of products or services.
(cc) The use of pollen.
(dd) The use of the personal property of one political subdivision by another political subdivision directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from the annexation or incorporation of any part of the territory of one political subdivision by another.
(ee) The use of prescription drugs, including the use by the state or a political subdivision or municipal corporation thereof of drugs to be dispensed to patients by prescription without charge.
(ff) The use of returnable containers for beverages and foods, including but not limited to soft drinks, milk, beer, and mixers.
(gg) The use of insulin, prosthetic devices, or orthotic devices prescribed for an individual by a chiropractor, osteopath, or physician, ostomic items, medically prescribed oxygen, and hearing aids which are prescribed or are dispensed and fitted by a licensee under chapter 18.35
(hh) The use of food products for human consumption (see WAC 458-20-244
), including the use of livestock for personal consumption as food.
(ii) The use of ferry vessels of the state of Washington or of local governmental units in the state of Washington in transporting pedestrian or vehicular traffic within and outside the territorial waters of the state. Also, the use of tangible personal property which becomes a component part of any such ferry vessel.
(jj) Alcohol that is sold in this state for use solely as fuel in motor vehicles, farm implements and machines, or implements of husbandry. This exemption expires December 31, 1986.
(kk) The use of vans used regularly as ride sharing vehicles, as defined in RCW 46.74.010
(3), by not less than seven persons, including passengers and driver, if the vans are exempt under the motor vehicle excise tax for thirty-six consecutive months beginning within thirty days of application for exemption under the use tax. This exemption expires January 1, 1988.
(ll) The use of used mobile homes as defined in RCW 82.45.032
and the use of mobile homes acquired by renting or leasing for more than thirty days, except for short term transient lodging.
(mm) The use of special fuel purchased in this state upon which a refund of special fuel tax is obtained as provided in RCW 82.38.180
(2), by reason of such fuel having been purchased for use by interstate commerce carriers outside this state. Also, the use of motor vehicle fuel or special fuel by private, nonprofit transportation providers who are entitled to fuel tax refund or exemption under chapter 82.36
(nn) The lease of irrigation equipment if:
(i) The irrigation equipment was purchased by the lessor for the purpose of irrigating land controlled by the lessor;
(ii) The lessor has paid tax under RCW 82.08.020
in respect to irrigation equipment;
(iii) The irrigation equipment is attached to the land in whole or in part; and
(iv) The irrigation equipment is leased to the lessee as an incidental part of the lease of the underlying land to the lessee and is used solely on such land.
(oo) The use of computers, computer components, computer accessories, or computer software irrevocably donated to any public or private school or college, as defined in chapter 84.36
RCW, in this state.
(pp) The use of semen in the artificial insemination of livestock.
(qq) The use of feed by persons for the cultivating or raising for sale of fish entirely within confined rearing areas on the persons own land or on land in which the person has a present right of possession.
(rr) The use by artistic or cultural organizations of:
(i) Objects of art;
(ii) Objects of cultural value;
(iii) Objects to be used in the creation of a work of art, other than tools; or
(iv) Objects to be used in displaying art objects or presenting artistic or cultural exhibitions or performances.
(ss) The use of used floating homes as defined in RCW 82.45.032
upon which sales tax or use tax has once been paid.
(tt) The use of feed, seed, fertilizer, and spray materials by persons raising agricultural or horticultural products for sale at wholesale including the use of feed in feeding animals at public livestock markets.
(uu) The use of prepared meals or food products used in prepared meals provided to senior citizens, disabled persons, or low income persons by not-for-profit organizations organized under chapter 24.03
(vv) The use of property to produce ferrosilicon for further use in the production of magnesium for sale, where such property directly reacts chemically, with ingredients of the ferrosilicon.
(ww) In respect to lease payments by a seller/lessee to a purchaser/lessor after April 3, 1986, under a sale/leaseback agreement covering property used by the seller/lessee primarily in the business of canning, preserving, freezing, or dehydrating fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish; nor in respect to the purchase amount paid by the lessee pursuant to an option to purchase such property at the end of the lease term: Provided, That the seller/lessee paid the retail sales tax or use tax at the time of its original acquisition of the property.
(8) In addition to the exemptions listed earlier, the use tax does not apply to the value of tangible personal property traded in on the purchase of tangible personal property of like kind used in this state. (See WAC 458-20-247
.) Also, the use tax does not apply to the use of precious metal bullion or monetized bullion acquired under such conditions that the retail sales tax would not apply to such things in this state. (See WAC 458-20-248
(9) See WAC 458-20-24001
for provisions for certain use tax deferrals on materials, labor, and services rendered in the construction of qualified buildings, machinery, and equipment used in new manufacturing and research/development facilities.
(10) RCW 82.08.0251
provides expressly that the exemption therein with respect to casual sales shall not be construed as exempting from the use tax the use of any article of tangible personal property acquired through a casual sale. Thus, while casual sales made by persons who are not registered with the department of revenue are exempt from the retail sales tax (for the obvious reason that the procedure for collection of that tax is impractical in those cases), the use of property acquired through such sales is not exempt from the use tax, except as provided in RCW 82.12.0251
(11) See also WAC 458-20-106
regarding the use tax on the use of articles purchased at a casual sale.
(12) Credit. When property purchased elsewhere is brought into this state for use or consumption the use tax will apply upon the use thereof, but a credit is allowed for the amount of sales or use tax paid by the user or its bailor or donor on such property to any other state or political subdivision thereof, the District of Columbia, or any foreign country, prior to the use of the property in this state.
(13) Value of the article used. The tax is levied and collected on an amount equal to the value of the article used by the taxpayer. The term "value of the article used" is defined by the law as being the total of the consideration paid or given by the purchaser to the seller for the article used plus any additional amounts paid by the purchaser as tariff or duty with respect to the importation of the article used. In case the article used was extracted or produced or manufactured by the person using the same or was acquired by gift or was sold under conditions where the purchase price did not represent the true value thereof, the value of the article used must be determined as nearly as possible according to the retail selling price, at the place of use, of similar products of like quality, quantity and character. In case the articles used are acquired by bailment, the value of the use of the articles so used shall be in an amount representing a reasonable rental for the use of the articles so bailed, determined as nearly as possible according to the value of such use at the places of use of similar products of like quality and character. In case the articles used are acquired by lease or rental, use tax liability is measured by the amount of rental payments to a lessor who has not collected the retail sales tax.
(14) In the case of an article manufactured or produced for purposes of serving as a prototype for the development of a new or improved product, the value of the article used shall be determined by: (a) The retail selling price of such new or improved product when first offered for sale; or (b) the value of materials incorporated into the prototype in cases in which the new or improved product is not offered for sale. See: RCW 82.04.450
, WAC 458-20-112
(15) In the case of articles owned by a user engaged in business outside the state which are brought into the state for no more than ninety days in any period of three hundred sixty-five consecutive days and which are temporarily used for business purposes by the person in this state, the value of the article used shall be an amount representing a reasonable rental for the use of the articles, unless the person has paid tax under this chapter or chapter 82.08
RCW upon the full value of the article used.
(16) Returns and registration. Persons subject to the payment of the use tax, and who are not required to register or report under the provisions of chapters 82.04
, or 82.28
RCW, are not required to secure a certificate of registration as provided under WAC 458-20-101
. As to such persons, returns must be filed with the department of revenue on or before the fifteenth day of the month succeeding the end of the period in which the tax accrued. Forms and instructions for making returns will be furnished upon request made to the department at Olympia or to any of its branch offices.
(17) See WAC 458-20-221
for liability of certain selling agents for collection of use tax.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. 87-01-050 (Order ET 86-19), § 458-20-178, filed 12/16/86; Order ET 71-1, § 458-20-178, filed 7/22/71; Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-178 (Rule 178), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]