Washington: Sales Tax Handbook
Washington Sales Tax Rate
|State Sales Tax||Local Sales Tax Range||Average Local Tax||Average Combined Tax||Max Combined Tax|
|6.5%||0.5% - 4%||2.21%||8.71%||10.5%|
2020 Washington Sales Tax Handbook
Washington Table of Contents
- List of Local Sales Tax Rates
- Sales Tax Calculator
- Sales Tax Exemption Certificates
- Sales Tax Info For Businessowners
- Taxable vs. Non-Taxable Purchases
- Sales Tax on Cars & Vehicles
- More Information
Washington's Sales Tax By The Numbers:
Washington has a higher-than-average sales tax, including when local sales taxes from Washington's 217 local tax jurisdictions are taken into account.
Rankings by Average State + Local Sales Tax:
Ranked 4th highest by combined state + local sales tax
Ranked 3rd highest by per capita revenue from state + local sales taxes ($1,907 per capita)
Rankings by State Sales Tax Only:
Ranked 5th highest by state sales tax rate
Ranked 3rd highest by per capita revenue from the statewide sales tax ($1,604 per capita)
Printable PDF Washington Sales Tax Datasheet
Washington has a statewide sales tax rate of 6.5%, which has been in place since 1966.
Municipal governments in Washington are also allowed to collect a local-option sales tax that ranges from 0.5% to 4% across the state, with an average local tax of 2.21% (for a total of 8.71% when combined with the state sales tax). The maximum local tax rate allowed by Washington law is 3.1%. You can lookup Washington city and county sales tax rates here.
This page provides an overview of the sales tax rates and laws in Washington. If you are a business owner and need to learn more about things like getting a sales tax permit, filing a sales tax return, or making tax-exempt purchases for resale see the Washington Sales Tax Handbook's Table of Contents above.
What is exempt from sales taxes in Washington?
Many states have special sales tax rates that apply to the purchase of certain types of goods, or fully exempt them from the sales tax altogether. Here's how Washington taxes five types of commonly-exempted goods:
For more details on what types of goods are specifically exempt from the Washington sales tax see Washington sales tax exemptions. To learn more about what types of transactions are subject to the sales tax to begin with, see what purchases are taxable in Washington? Taxation of vehicle purchases in particular are discussed in the page about Washington's sales tax on cars.
Are services subject to sales tax in Washington?
"Goods" refers to the sale of tangible personal property, which are generally taxable. "Services" refers to the sale of labor or a non-tangible benefit. In Washington, specified services are taxable.
About the Washington Sales Tax
In the state of Washington, there is a relatively complex sales tax rate, which utilizes a flat state tax rate. However, in addition to the flat state tax rate, there are county taxes or local city taxes, which will vary significantly depending on which jurisdiction you are in. These local tax rates would be in addition to the state rate. As there are numerous tribes of Native American sovereign nations within the region, the local sales tax rates vary more significantly in Washington than in other states. In certain circumstances, Washington residents may be required to pay a use tax instead of a sales tax.
Is the Washington Sales Tax Destination-Based or Origin-Based?
Washington is a destination-based sales tax state, which means that sales tax rates are determined by the location of the buyer when the transaction is completed. This means that, for orders placed via the internet/mail by a customer within Washington from a Washington vendor, the vendor must collect a sales tax rate applicable at the buyer's address (including any applicable local sales taxes). This can significantly increase the complication of filing your sales tax return, because different sales tax rates must be charged to different buyers based on their location.
Is Washington a Streamlined Sales Tax State?
Washington is a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which means that the Washington Department of Revenue has taken significant steps to simplify Washington's sales tax rules and administration process.
Contact the Washington Department of Revenue
The Washington Sales Tax is administered by the Washington Department of Revenue. You can learn more by visiting the sales tax information website at dor.wa.gov.
Phone numbers for the Sales Tax division of the Department of Revenue are as follows:
- Toll-Free Phone: (800) 647-7706
Learn More: Our Book Recommendations
If you would like to learn more about how to manage your Washington sales taxes, we recommend the following books:
Simplify Washington sales tax compliance! We provide sales tax rate databases for businesses who manage their own sales taxes, and can also connect you with firms that can completely automate the sales tax calculation and filing process. Click here to get more information.
Washington Sales Tax Rates by Zip Code:
Need an updated list of Washington sales tax rates for your business? Download our Washington sales tax database!