State taxes: Washington
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Washington is 1 of only 9 states that do not tax individual wage income. The state does assess a corporate tax called the business and occupation tax. More on Washington taxes can be found in the tabbed pages below.
Personal income tax
The state of Washington is 1 of only 9 states that do not levy a personal income tax.
Nor does the state collect a corporate income tax. However, Washington businesses are responsible for various other state levies, including the business and occupation tax.
Washington’s state sales tax is 6.5%. It applies to some services, as well.
Since July 1, 2008, the collection of sales tax has been based on the destination of the shipment or delivery. Read more about the destination-based sales tax on the Department of Revenue’s website.
Since Jan. 1, 2004, purchases of certain foods and food ingredients have been exempt from sales tax. However, prepared foods, dietary supplements and soft drinks remain taxable. And when doughnuts are sold with eating utensils, the food product is taxable. Eating utensils include plates, forks, and napkins, but do not include containers or packaging used to transport the item.
The combined state and local retail sales tax rates increase the taxes paid by consumers, depending on the variable local sales tax rates. Look up your specific area’s rate at the Department of Revenue website. The purchaser pays the combined state and local retail sales tax to the retailer, who forwards it to the Department of Revenue.
Personal and real property taxes
Property tax was the first tax levied in the state of Washington and its collection accounts for about 30% of Washington’s total state and local revenue. It continues to be the most important revenue source for public schools, fire protection, libraries, parks and recreation, and other special-purpose districts.
Property tax is administered by local governments. County assessors value and assess the tax, and county treasurers collect it. For questions about paying your property tax or your property valuation, please contact your local county officials.
State law requires assessors to appraise property at 100% of its true and fair market value in money, according to the highest and best use of the property. All real and personal property is subject to tax unless specifically exempted by law.
Details on the property tax system can be found in the homeowner’s guide.
Real property tax deferrals and exemptions are allowed for senior citizens and disabled taxpayers.
Personal property is also taxed, although most personal property owned by individuals is exempt. Personal property tax applies to personal property used when conducting business or to other personal property not exempt by law.
Property tax appeals can be filed in writing with the County Board of Equalization in the county where the property is located. The petition must be filed by July 1 of the assessment year or within 30 days of the date the change of value notice was mailed, whichever is later. Some counties have extended the filing deadline to 60 days. Check with the Board of Equalization in the county where the property is located.
Inheritance and estate taxes
Washington does not collect inheritance taxes.
Washington’s estate tax is decoupled from the federal estate tax laws and therefore still imposes its own estate tax.
Other Washington tax facts
A state litter tax, covering 13 categories of products, is imposed on manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in Washington. Businesses that deal with the production, processing or sale of marijuana must obtain a marijuana license, which is issued by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
Washington does not impose a tax on intangible assets, such as bank accounts, stocks or bonds.
Nor does the state assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state.
For more information, contact the Washington State Department of Revenue through its website. To access the most-requested forms and publications or for taxpayer assistance, call (800) 647-7706.
To download tax forms on this site, you will need to install a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here for instructions.