Washington: Making Change, Streamlined Style

On July 1st, 2008, when Substitute Senate Bill 5089 takes effect, Washington will join twenty-one other states that have conformed to the “Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement”. The bill will change the way retail sales tax is collected for some Washington businesses. Beginning July 1st, 2008, any business with nexus in Washington must pay sales tax based on the destination of the shipped order. Previously, Washington businesses that shipped orders to Washington residents could pay sales tax based on where the order was originating from, making local taxes fairly easy to calculate.

The new taxing regulation requires Washington wineries to pay local taxes to every destination to which they ship (via a single sales/use tax return). This could be a bit of a jolt for Washington wineries. With over 300 different tax rates and location codes, based on special districts that cannot be defined solely by city and county designations, filling out the periodic tax return could become significantly more difficult.

Out-of state wineries will see no changes in their tax payments. Destination-based sales tax in Washington should be nothing new for them; out-of-state wineries have had to pay destination-based sales tax since July 1st, 2006, when the Wine Shipper’s License first became available.

If you are a Washington business that ships or delivers goods, be sure to check the Washington DOR’s website for useful information about the change. On this page, you can use a number of different tax lookup tools as well as watch online tutorials.

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