Sales Tax 101 Shipping States WA

Is Shipping Taxable in Washington?

by Mark Faggiano

Shipping Taxability Washington

Many eCommerce sellers struggle with sales tax. It is both time-consuming and confusing, especially when you get to fussy subjects like whether you should charge sales tax on shipping. Let’s take a look at how Washington handles this topic for business owners.

So, is shipping taxable in Washington?

Washington State Legislature has this to say:

Washington shipping sales tax

According to the state of Washington, you will pay tax on shipping. If the items that you are shipping are taxable, the shipping and handling are taxable. If you have taxable and non-taxable items like silverware and food items, there should be two charges and the fee needs to be fairly allocated between the shipping for the taxable silverware and the shipping for the non-taxable food. Only then is the shipping charge for the non-taxable food not taxable.

So in conclusion:

You will most likely pay sales tax on shipping and handling in Washington.

If you are selling an item that is taxable and you ship it, the shipping and handling is taxable. The only way it ISN’T taxable is:

  1. You are shipping non-taxable items like food.
  2. There are two separate charges for shipping, if you are shipping both taxable and non-taxable items. Each shipping fee must be balanced for the items shipped.

Other than that, you are going to have to pay sales tax on shipping and handling.

Need more answers? Ask us in the comments.

  • Mark Budde

    What if I’m selling to a reseller who provides me with a reseller’s permit? None of the items are “taxable” so does that mean also no sales tax collection on the freight?

    • Normally yes. If they have a resellers certificate then you don’t need to charge them sales tax.

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  • Bill Ensley

    Here’s a tough one. Do you need to collect Sales Tax on a postcard that is produced and mailed outside of Washington? We will be subscribing to your API shortly, but this is one corner we need to nail down. Basically say and order of 100 postcards is purchased from a Washington Resident. Our plant is in Portland, Oregon. The Postcards are produced and mailed from the Portland Post Office. Is this taxable?

    • Hi Bill,

      Just to be clear, you’re buying the postcards, not using them as a direct mail campaign? The seller would be required to charge sales tax if the postcards are shipped to a state where they have sales tax nexus. So say they have nexus in Washington, but use all Oregon facilities to make and mail these postcards to a buyer with a Washington address. The shipment would be taxable, even though all of the processing occurred in Oregon, because that seller has sales tax nexus in Washington. Here’s a blog post we’ve written about a situation like this: http://taxjar.wpengine.com/got-sales-tax-nexus-item-ship-from-location-is-irrelevant/ I hope this helps!

    • Hi Bill,

      Just to be clear, you’re buying the postcards, not using them as a direct mail campaign? The seller would be required to charge sales tax if the postcards are shipped to a state where they have sales tax nexus. So say they have nexus in Washington, but use all Oregon facilities to make and mail these postcards to a buyer with a Washington address. The shipment would be taxable, even though all of the processing occurred in Oregon, because that seller has sales tax nexus in Washington. Here’s a blog post we’ve written about a situation like this: http://taxjar.wpengine.com/got-sales-tax-nexus-item-ship-from-location-is-irrelevant/ I hope this helps!

      • Bill Ensley

        Thank you, I think I may have worded incorrectly. It is a direct mail campaign. Say a client purchases 100 postcards, we would print, address (to a created or supplied list) those cards, print our indicia, and them drop the mailing at the Portland post office. It’s not shipped to a location in Washington, the address list could have entries to anyone in any state, yes some would be to Washington homeowners.

      • Bill Ensley

        Thank you, I think I may have worded incorrectly. It is a direct mail campaign. Say a client purchases 100 postcards, we would print, address (to a created or supplied list) those cards, print our indicia, and them drop the mailing at the Portland post office. It’s not shipped to a location in Washington, the address list could have entries to anyone in any state, yes some would be to Washington homeowners.

  • Bill Ensley

    Here’s a tough one. Do you need to collect Sales Tax on a postcard that is produced and mailed outside of Washington? We will be subscribing to your API shortly, but this is one corner we need to nail down. Basically say and order of 100 postcards is purchased from a Washington Resident. Our plant is in Portland, Oregon. The Postcards are produced and mailed from the Portland Post Office. Is this taxable?

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