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The Washington State Paper Bag Tax


 One way to recycle a paper bag.

To discourage the use of paper bags (and encourage shoppers to use their own, reusable bags), several cities in the State of Washington require retail establishments to charge a small fee for “certain carryout bags.” This small fee is considered a retail sale and is subject to retail sales tax (and the retailing B&O tax).

Seattle, Bellingham, and Bainbridge Island are among the cities that charge for the use of paper bags. They are joined by the cities of Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and unincorporated Thurston County, effective July 1, 2014.

Seattle retail stores are also banned from providing customers with single-use plastic bags. But encouragement only goes so far: there is no sales tax exemption for sales of reusable shopping bags.

Additional information about the Washington State Department of Revenue.

How does your business stay on top of sales tax changes?

photo credit: Finn Frode (DK) via photopin cc


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.