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Curious Washington State Exemptions

  • Aug 15, 2013 | Gail Cole

 Is this person an eligible apiarist in Washington State?

The breadth and diversity of state tax law is fascinating. Scan the Department of Revenue and certain topics jump out at you: hog fuel, vegetable oil, and trail grooming, for example.

A colorful little "New!" is placed next to topics impacted by recent legislative changes. A number of recent Washington State exemptions are explained here. Other topics begging for attention include:

  • Charcoal,
  • Clay Targets, and
  • Honey Bees.

Changes, explained


Thanks to engrossed substitute senate bill 5882, there is now a sales and use tax exemption for purchases of "[i]tems used to flavor food that are substantially or completely consumed during the cooking process." Only purchases made by restaurants qualify for the exemption.

Qualifying purchases include wood chips, charcoal, charcoal briquettes and grape vines. "Items used to support the food during cooking," such as cedar grilling planks, are also exempt from sales tax. However, "sales of gas fuel for cooking remain subject to sales tax," even when purchased by a restaurant.

Sadly for backyard barbecuers, charcoal briquettes purchased for home use are not exempt.

Clay Targets

Nonprofit gun clubs in Washington State will soon be able to purchase clay targets free from sales tax, so long as "a fee is charged by the nonprofit gun club for the activity of clay target shooting." The exemption takes effect October 1, 2013 and is set to expire July 1, 2017.

Honey Bees

Apiarists in the Evergreen State will be pleased to learn that the sales and use tax exemption for eligible apiarists has been "modified and extended to July 1, 2017."

Not just any beekeeper may claim the exemption. Eligible apiarists:

  • Own or keep one or more bee colonies;
  • Grow, raise or produce honey bee products for sale at wholesale; and
  • Register their hives/colonies with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Is your bee colony big enough? Exempt colonies must have at least 7,000 worker bees and at least one queen, and they must be kept in a man-made hive with moveable frames. That's a lot of bees.

The sales and use tax exemption applies to purchases of bees by eligible apiarists and purchases of feed (by eligible apiarists) used to raise bees to make honey.

Protective clothing is advised for anyone working with bees, eligible apiarist or not. However, protective clothing is not exempt from sales tax.

Every state taxes and exempts items in their own unique way. How does your business manage sales tax changes? And can you say "eligible apiarists" five times, fast?

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photo credit: The Year of Mud via photopin cc

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.