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PDFWAC 458-20-209

Farming for hire and horticultural services performed for farmers.

(1) Introduction. This rule provides tax reporting information for persons performing horticultural services for farmers. Persons providing horticultural services to persons other than farmers should refer to WAC 458-20-226 (Landscape and horticultural services). Farmers and persons making sales to farmers may also want to refer to the following rules:
(a) WAC 458-20-210 (Sales of tangible personal property for farming—Sales of agricultural products by farmers); and
(b) WAC 458-20-239 (Sales to nonresidents of farm machinery or implements, and related services).
(2) Definitions. For the purposes of this rule, the following definitions apply:
(a) "Farmer" means any person engaged in the business of growing, raising, or producing, upon the person's own lands or upon the lands in which the person has a present right of possession, any agricultural product to be sold. "Farmer" does not include a person growing, raising, or producing such products for the person's own consumption; a person selling any animal or substance obtained therefrom in connection with the person's business of operating a stockyard or a slaughter or packing house; or a person in respect to the business of taking, cultivating, or raising timber. RCW 82.04.213.
(b) "Agricultural product" means any product of plant cultivation or animal husbandry including, but not limited to: A product of horticulture, grain cultivation, vermiculture, viticulture, or aquaculture as defined in RCW 15.85.020; plantation Christmas trees; short-rotation hardwoods as defined in RCW 84.33.035; turf; or any animal including, but not limited to, an animal that is a private sector cultured aquatic product as defined in RCW 15.85.020, or a bird, or insect, or the substances obtained from such an animal. "Agricultural product" does not include animals defined as pet animals under RCW 16.70.020. Effective June 12, 2014, "agricultural product" may not be construed to include cannabis. Cannabis is any product with a THC concentration greater than .3 percent. RCW 82.04.213.
(c) "Horticultural services" include services related to the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, grains, field crops, ornamental floriculture, and nursery products.
(i) The term "horticultural services" includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(A) Soil preparation services such as plowing or weed control before planting;
(B) Crop cultivation services such as planting, thinning, pruning, or spraying; and
(C) Crop harvesting services such as threshing grain, mowing and baling hay, or picking fruit.
(ii) Effective June 12, 2014, horticultural services does not include services related to the cultivation of cannabis. Cannabis is any product with a THC concentration greater than .3 percent.
(3) Business and occupation (B&O) tax. Persons performing horticultural services for farmers are generally subject to the service and other business activities B&O tax upon the gross proceeds. However, if the person providing horticultural services also sells tangible personal property for a separate and distinct charge, the charge made for the tangible personal property will be subject to either the wholesaling or retailing B&O tax, depending on the nature of the sale. Persons making sales of tangible personal property to farmers should refer to WAC 458-20-210 to determine whether the wholesaling or retailing tax applies, and under what circumstances retail sales tax must be collected.
(a) A farmer who occasionally assists another farmer in planting or harvesting a crop is generally not considered to be engaged in the business of performing horticultural services. These activities are generally considered to be casual and incidental to the farming activity. For example, a farmer owning baling equipment which is used primarily for baling hay produced by the farmer, but who may occasionally accommodate neighboring farmers by baling small quantities of hay produced by them, is not considered to be in business with respect thereto.
(b) The extent to which horticultural services are performed for others is determinative of whether or not they are considered taxable business activities. Persons who advertise or hold themselves out to the public as being available to perform farming for hire will be considered as being engaged in business. For example, a person who regularly engages in baling hay or threshing grain for others is engaged in business and taxable upon the gross proceeds derived therefrom, irrespective of the amount of such business or that this person also does some farming of his or her own land.
(c) In cases where doubt exists in determining whether or not a person is engaged in the business of performing horticultural services, all pertinent information should be submitted to the department of revenue (department) for a specific ruling. The department may be contacted using the website and selecting "contact us"; or by telephone at 360-705-6705.
(4) Deferred sales or use tax. If the seller fails to collect the appropriate retail sales tax, the purchaser is required to pay the deferred sales or use tax directly to the department.
(a) Purchases of machinery, machinery parts and repair, tools, and cleaning materials by persons performing horticultural services are subject to retail sales tax.
(b) Persons taxable under the service and other business activities B&O tax classification are defined as consumers of anything they use in performing their services. (Refer to RCW 82.04.190.) As such, these persons are required to pay retail sales or use tax upon the purchase of all items used in performing the service, such as fertilizers, spray materials, and baling wire, which are not sold separate and apart from the service they perform.
(5) Examples. 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.
(a) John Doe is a wheat farmer owning threshing equipment which is generally used only for threshing his own wheat. Occasionally a neighbor's threshing equipment may break down and John will use his own equipment to assist the neighbor in completing the neighbor's wheat harvest. While John receives payment for providing the threshing assistance, this activity is considered to be a casual and isolated sale. John does not hold himself out as being in the business of performing farming (threshing) for hire. John Doe is not considered to be engaging in taxable business activities. The amounts John Doe receives for assisting in the harvest of his neighbors' wheat is not subject to tax.
(b) X Spraying applies fertilizer to orchards owned by Farmer A. The sales invoice provided to Farmer A by X Spraying reflects a "lump sum" amount with no segregation of charges for the fertilizer and the application. When reporting its tax liability, X Spraying would report the total charge under the service B&O tax classification. X Spraying must also remit retail sales or use tax upon the purchase of the fertilizer. The entire amount charged by X Spraying is for horticultural services, and X Spraying is considered the consumer of the fertilizer.
(c) Z Flying aerial sprays pesticides on crops owned by Farmer B. The sales invoice Z Flying provides to Farmer B segregates the charge for the pesticides and the charge for the application. When reporting its tax liability, Z Flying would report the charge for the application under the service B&O tax classification. The charge for the sale of the spray materials is subject to the wholesaling B&O tax provided it is properly documented by a reseller permit. Reseller permits replaced resale certificates effective January 1, 2010. For additional information on reseller permits see WAC 458-20-102. Z Flying's purchase of the pesticides is a purchase for resale and not subject to the retail sales tax. Even though resale certificates are no longer used after December 31, 2009, they must be kept on file by Z Flying for five years from the date of last use or December 31, 2014, whichever first occurs.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.01.060 and 82.32.300. WSR 23-14-002, § 458-20-209, filed 6/21/23, effective 7/22/23; WSR 22-24-096, § 458-20-209, filed 12/6/22, effective 1/6/23. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). WSR 15-01-007, § 458-20-209, filed 12/4/14, effective 1/4/15. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), chapters 82.04, 82.08, 82.12 and 82.32 RCW. WSR 10-06-070, § 458-20-209, filed 2/25/10, effective 3/28/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. WSR 94-07-050, § 458-20-209, filed 3/10/94, effective 4/10/94; WSR 83-08-026 (Order ET 83-1), § 458-20-209, filed 3/30/83; Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-209 (Rule 209), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]
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