458-20-199  <<  458-20-200 >>   458-20-201

WAC 458-20-200

Leased departments.

(1) Any person leasing departments of the business conducted may include in its tax returns the business done and sales made by the lessee where such lessor keeps the books for the lessee and makes collection on the latter's account: Provided, however, That each lessee must apply for and obtain from the department of revenue a certificate of registration, as provided under WAC 458-20-101. The lessee will remain liable for its tax liability if the lessor fails to make the proper return or fails to pay taxes due.
(2) Business and occupation tax and retail sales tax. Any taxpayer making returns for any leased department shall report the total tax liability thereof under both the business and occupation tax and the retail sales tax, including therein all cash and charge sales. The leased department in such case is not entitled to the taxable minimum provided in WAC 458-20-104.
(a) Where the lessor receives a flat monthly rental or a percentage of sales as rental for a leased department, such income is presumed to be from the rental of real estate and is not taxable. In a determination of whether an occupancy is a rental of real estate, all the facts and circumstances, including the actual relationship of the parties, are to be considered (see: WAC 458-20-118). Written agreements, while not required, are preferred and are given considerable weight in deciding the nature of the occupancy. While the fact that the written agreement may identify the occupancy as a "lease" is not controlling, agreements which contain the following provisions support the presumption that the occupancy is a rental of real estate:
i. The occupant is granted exclusive possession and control of the space.
ii. The occupancy is for a time certain which is more than 30 days, i.e. month to month, yearly, etc.
iii. The parties are required to notify each other in the event of termination of the occupancy.
(b) If the lessor provides any clerical, credit, accounting, janitorial, or other services to the lessee, the lessor must report the income from these services under the service B&O tax classification. The amounts for providing these services must be segregated from the amounts received from the rental of real estate. In the absence of a reasonable segregation, it will be presumed that the entire income is for providing these services.
(3) Examples. The following examples identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion as to whether the situation is a rental of real estate. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The tax status of each occupancy must be determined after a review of the agreement and all of the facts and circumstances.
(a) A retailer enters into a written occupancy agreement for rental of space within a mall for a one year term. The agreement can be terminated upon thirtieth days written notice of either party, subject to some penalty provisions for early termination. The agreement provides that the retailer can decorate the store and arrange the inventory in any manner desired by the retailer so long as the facility does not create a safety hazard to the mall or other tenants and is consistent with the overall decor of the mall. The mall owner may enter the premises of the retailer during nonbusiness hours only with the consent of the retailer except for emergencies where physical property is at risk. The retailer's area is separated from other lessees by walls with the exception of the front area which is open to the mall common area and is used as the entrance by potential customers and the retailer. The retailer does have a movable partition that can be locked and is used to close off the entrance from the mall common area. The agreement calls for the retailer to be open for business at all times during the hours stipulated by the mall.
This is a rental of real estate with the rental term being for a fixed period. The agreement and the facts and circumstances have established a rental of real estate. The retailer has exclusive possession and control over a specific area as indicated by the control the retailer has over the premises, even to the exclusion of the mall owner. The restriction which requires the retailer to maintain the same business hours as other lessees does not make this a license to use real estate. The lessor can exclude from the B&O tax that portion of the income which is from the rental of the real estate. The lessor must identify and pay a B&O tax on the portion of the income which is from providing services such as security, janitorial, or accounting.
(b) A hairdresser enters into an oral occupancy agreement with the operator of a hair salon for the use of a work station. The hairdresser has use of a specific work station during specific hours of every day. A particular work station may be used by more than one hairdresser during a particular month or even during a given day. This work station can not be closed off from other areas within the shop. The hairdresser must obtain advance permission from the owner to make any changes to the work area. This hairdresser also shares a sink, telephone, and other facilities with others in the shop.
This occupancy is not a rental of real estate. The hairdresser does not have exclusive possession and control over the premises to the exclusion of others as is indicated by the requirement that the hairdresser must obtain approval for any changes in the work area. This is further indicated by hairdressers use of a specific work station only during specific hours of every day with multiple users of the same work station. The work station could not be closed off from other areas of the shop, but this in itself is not determinative of whether this is a rental of real estate or a license to use. The presence of walls or the lack of walls is not controlling. The fact that the agreement uses the term "lease" is also not controlling. This is a "license to use" taxable under the service B&O tax classification.
(c) Department store agrees to sell household paint for a paint supplier. The paint supplier checks on the inventory on a monthly basis and provides additional paint as needed. The department store handles stocking of shelves and all aspects of the sale. The department store makes a charge to the paint supplier based on the space required to maintain the inventory. By agreement of the parties, the department store agrees to report the retailing and retail sales tax on paint sales.
This is not a leased department or a rental of real estate. The income is merely tied to the amount of space being used. However, the income is a commission from the sale of merchandise for the paint supplier and held on consignment. The retailing tax is the liability of the paint supplier and is paid by the department store only by agreement. The commission is taxable under the service B&O tax classification. See WAC 458-20-159.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. WSR 91-02-057, § 458-20-200, filed 12/28/90, effective 1/28/91; Order ET 70-3, § 458-20-200 (Rule 200), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]
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