Legal Memorandum: Payment of Sales and Use Tax in WA

Issue: Under Washington law, is a service provider required to pay sales and use tax?

Area of Law: Tax Law
Keywords: Sales and use tax; Service provider; Tangible personal property
Jurisdiction: Washington
Cited Cases: 419 U.S. 560; 277 U.S. 436
Cited Statutes: Wash. Rev. Code §§ 82.08.020 (1), 82.08.010 (4), 82.04.050 (2); WAC 458-20-207; Wash. Rev. Code § 82.12.020; Wash. Rev. Code § 82.08.020; Wash. Rev. Code § 82.12.010 (1); Wash. Rev. Code § 82.04.220; Wash. Rev. Code § 82.04.290; Wash. Rev. Code § 82.04.460
Date: 04/01/2001

Washington sales tax apples to, among other things, sales at retail of tangible personal property, installing, repairing, altering, or improving tangible personal property; janitorial services; automobile touring; credit bureau services and automobile parking and garage businesses.  Wash. Rev. Code §§ 82.08.020 (1), 82.08.010 (4), 82.04.050 (2) (1991 Supp.)  They are required as consumers to pay sales tax on items purchased at retail within the state.  Cf., WAC 458-20-207 (1987).

The Washington use tax is imposed “on every person who uses within the state any article of tangible personal property purchased at retail, or acquired by lease, gift, repossession or bailment.  Wash. Rev. Code § 82.12.020 (1991 Supp.).  The use tax is levied and collected in an amount equal to the value of the article used by the taxpayer multiplied by the rate in effect for the retail sales tax under Wash. Rev. Code § 82.08.020.  If an item is acquired by bailment, the value of the article 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 character and quality . . .”  Wash. Rev. Code § 82.12.010 (1) (1991 Supp.).  Although Washington does not have a corporate income tax, it has a broadly based business and occupation tax.  The tax is measured by a rate applied against the value of products, gross proceeds of sale or the gross income of the business as […]

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