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How To Get A Washington Sales Tax Registration Number

How To Get A Washington Sales Tax Registration Number

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How To Get A Washington Sales Tax Registration Number

Most businesses starting in Washington selling a product or offering certain services will need to obtain a sales tax registration number.  This is commonly referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, or sales tax license.   

Sales tax registration is obtained through the Washington State Department of Revenue as part of the Washington Business License Application. In addition to the sales tax registration, a business can register for Workers’ Compensation (Industrial Insurance) or Unemployment Insurance.

Check out the rest of this guide to determine who needs to register for sales tax, what products and services are taxable, how to register for a permit, and reporting requirements.

Also See: Guide to starting a business in Washington

Who needs a sales tax registration number in Washington?

The state tax registration is required when:

  • Making retail sales in the state.  Generally, a retail sale is considered the sale of tangible personal property in the state of Washington. It also includes the sale of some services such as installation, repair, cleaning, altering, improving, construction, and decorating. Additional services include improving real or personal property, amusement and recreational activities, lawn maintenance, and physical fitness activities.
  • Sales tax nexus.  Even if your business is located in another state, you may still need to register for a sales tax number. Sales tax nexus is a way of saying a business has a significant presence in the state. Economic nexus is not only determined by making retail sales but also by having employees working in Washington, an office, or warehousing products in the state.
  • A business grossing over $12,000 per year.
  • Repairing, installing, altering, decorating, or improving any item or product for another person (auto repair, remodeling, etc.)
  • A remote seller who sells over $100,000 or at least 25% of annual gross receipts come from sales to Washington residents.

What products and services are taxable in Washington?

Physical products

There are a few exceptions, but almost all physical products are taxable when sold at retail in Washington.  Common examples include:

  • General merchandise like furniture, appliances, and clothing
  • Titled or registered items like vehicles

Most non-prepared food items, prescriptions, and certain manufacturing equipment are tax-exempt.  See the full list of sales and use tax exemptions in Washington.

Digital Products

Digital products are taxable in Washington.

Services

Most services aren’t taxable in Washington, however, there are a few exceptions, some of which include:

  • Short-term lodging
  • Construction services
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Retail recreation services (fishing charters, day trips, etc.)
  • Personal services such as personal training, tanning salons, tattooing, etc.
  • Car washes
  • Catering and personal chefs
  • Towing

See the full list of sales taxes on services in Washington.

How to register for a sales tax registration number in Washington

A sales tax registration number can be obtained by registering through the Washington Department of Revenue’s website My DOR, or by mailing in the Business License Application Form (BLS-700-028).

Information needed to register includes:

  • Legal Entity/Owner Name
  • Unified Business Identifier (UBI) (if already registered)
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Type of business entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC)
  • Date business opened
  • Business mailing address and physical address
  • Name, address, SSN, date of birth, percentage ownership, title, and phone number of owners/officers/members
  • Estimated gross annual income in Washington
  • Description of the business activity, including what products or services are being sold

Sales tax reporting

How is sales tax collected in Washington?

When a business sells a taxable product or service, the business charges the appropriate sales tax rate to where the buyer purchases the goods.  This tax is collected by the business, which is then sent to the Washington Department of Revenue.

How much sales tax is charged in Washington?

If the purchase is made at a store or in a mobile location, the sales tax rate varies depending on where the sale took place in Washington. In addition to the statewide sales tax, municipalities may add additional sales taxes. When shipping in-state, the sales tax is based on the purchaser’s address.

To find sales tax rates, see the sales tax lookup from the Washington Department of Revenue.

When are Washington sales tax returns due?

The Washington Department of Revenue will determine a filing frequency based on the expected sales volume, which will be monthly, quarterly, or annually.  Generally, a business collecting over $400 in sales taxes each month will file monthly. 

Filings are due the 25th day of the month following the reporting period unless the 25th falls on a weekend or federal holiday, which would move to the next business day.

Even if the business had no sales during the reporting period, a filing is still required indicating no sales.

Washington Sales Tax FAQs

How much does a Washington sales tax registration number cost?

While there isn’t a cost for a tax registration number in Washington, if the registration is for a new business, there is a $19 Business License Application fee.

Is a business license the same thing as a sales tax license?

No – A business license and a sales tax permit are not the same thing. Here’s how they differ:

A business license gives you the right to operate your business in a specific area, while a sales tax permit allows you to collect sales tax from your customers on behalf of the state.

Learn more about Washington business licenses and permits

How long does it take to get a Washington sales tax registration number?

When registering online, expect 1-2 business days to process the tax registration or up to 3 weeks when applying by mail.

After registering, the Department of Revenue will provide a Unified Business Identifier (UBI).

Do you have to renew your Washington sales tax registration number?

The sales tax registration number is a one-time registration, and no renewals are needed.  Be mindful that if any information about the business changes, such as the mailing address, additional locations, or change in ownership, those changes need to be updated with the Department of Revenue.

How do I get a wholesale license in Washington?

A business can purchase items to resell without paying the retail sales tax.  The tax liability is passed from the wholesaler or distributor to the retailer, who will then charge state sales tax to the end-user of the item. 

Wholesalers and distributors will require a sales tax number, and the reseller will fill out a Washington Reseller Permit (also referred to as a resale certificate or sales tax exemption certificate) to document the items being purchased are for resale. 

Contact information for the Washington Department of Revenue

If you have questions about the sales tax registration number, the Washington Department of Revenue has a helpful guide called New Business Tax Basics.  They can also be contacted by calling 360-705-6741 or emailing BLS@dor.wa.gov.

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

How To Get A Washington Sales Tax Registration Number

How To Get A Washington Sales Tax Registration Number

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