What's the Sales Tax in Washington State?

Facts about Sales Tax in King and Pierce Counties

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It's a fact of life; when you go to buy something in Washington State, you'll pay sales tax on all but a few items.

Washington State’s retail sales tax is 6.5%, but individual cities add on additional percentages (list of what you will pay below). Washington is one of only nine states without a state income tax, and as such, our sales tax is higher than many other states. Retail sales tax is the state’s principal tax source.

What you pay when you make a purchase is a combined rate—you will pay the state 6.5%, plus the local rate for the city in which you make a purchase, plus any applicable Regional Transit Authority (RTA) rate.

Sales Tax Exemptions

There are some exemptions to retail sales tax. Most grocery items and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax, but junk food, prepared food, dietary supplements and soft drinks are taxable. Prescription drugs and newspapers are not taxable.

Some people are exempt from Washington retail sales tax. These include residents from Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and American Samoa, as well as Alberta, Northwest Territory, Nunavut and Yukon Territory in Canada. Many sales to tribal members in Washington State are also exempt if the sale takes place in Indian Country.

Since Washington shares a border with Oregon, which is a sales-tax-free state, some interesting questions about how and when Washington State residents must pay sales tax can come up, such as: What happens if you buy a car in Oregon and then bring it home to Washington?

The answer is that you will still need to pay sales tax. The idea that you can evade sales tax on major purchases is just one of many myths about sales tax out there. Since Washington is also home to several Internet-based companies, how and when do customers pay online sales tax is also a common question, but many Washington-based online companies (including Amazon) will charge sales tax to state residents by looking at your shipping address.

Sales Tax on Alcohol and Spirits

After June 1, 2012, hard alcohol sales moved from state-owned stores to grocery stores. With the privatization of alcohol sales came an additional sales tax. If you buy alcohol that is more than 24% alcohol by volume, you will pay an additional 20.5% sales tax as well as the regular sales tax. As of summer 2012, some stores write the total cost on price tags while others only put the cost before tax.

City Sales Tax Rates in King County

Cities with a county after them straddle more than one county.

Algona sales tax: 10%
Auburn/King sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Bellevue sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Black Diamond sales tax: 8.6%
Bothell/King sales tax: 10%
Burien sales tax: 10%
Carnation sales tax: 8.6%
Clyde Hill sales tax: 10%
Covington sales tax: 8.6%
Des Moines sales tax: 10%
Duvall sales tax: 8.6%
Enumclaw sales tax: 8.7%
Federal Way sales tax: 10%
Hunts Point sales tax: 10%
Issaquah sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Kenmore sales tax: 10%
Kent sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Kirkland sales tax: 10%
Lake Forest Park sales tax: 10%
Maple Valley sales tax: 8.6%
Medina sales tax: 10%
Mercer Island sales tax: 10%
Milton/King sales tax: 10%
Newcastle sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Normandy Park sales tax: 10%
North Bend sales tax: 8.9%
Pacific/King sales tax: 10%
Redmond sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Renton sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Sammamish sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
SeaTac sales tax: 10%
Seattle sales tax: 10.1%
Shoreline sales tax: 10%
Skykomish sales tax: 8.6%
Snoqualmie sales tax: 8.6%
Tukwila sales tax: 10%
Woodinville sales tax: 10% (non-RTA 8.6%)
Yarrow Point sales tax: 10%

City Sales Tax Rates in Pierce County

Cities with a county after them straddle more than one county.

Auburn/Pierce sales tax: 9.9%
Bonney Lake sales tax: 9.3% (non-RTA 7.9%)
Buckley sales tax: 7.9%
Carbonado sales tax: 7.9%
DuPont sales tax: 9.3%
Eatonville sales tax: 7.9%
Edgewood sales tax: 9.9%
Fife sales tax: 9.9%
Fircrest sales tax: 9.9%
Gig Harbor sales tax: 8.5% (non-RTA 8.5%)
Lakewood sales tax: 9.9%
Milton/Pierce sales tax: 9.9%
Orting sales tax: 9.3%
Pacific/Pierce sales tax: 9.9%
Puyallup sales tax: 9.9%
Roy sales tax: 8%
Ruston sales tax: 9.9%
South Prairie sales tax: 7.9%
Steilacoom sales tax: 9.9%
Sumner sales tax: 9.3%
Tacoma sales tax: 10.1%
University Place sales tax: 9.9%
Wilkeson sales tax: 7.9%

States Without Sales Tax

As of 2017, there are five states that do not charge sales tax at the register.

These are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.