Sunday, December 15, 2013

Combined Excise Tax Return Due to Washington State Department of Revenue January 31

Washington State imposes retail sales tax on the sale of items of tangible personal property and retail services to consumers, but some exemptions exist.  These depend on the purpose for which the items are purchased by the PTA, and the kind of event at which they are sold by the PTA.

Items purchased by PTAs for their own use
When PTAs purchase items for their own use (such as tablecloths for a banquet, supplies for cleaning, etc.) they pay sales tax in the same manner as any other individual or company.

Items sold by PTAs
PTAs are exempt from paying sales tax on items purchased for resale as long as they have a reseller permit, PTAs are required to collect sales tax and submit to the Department of Revenue, on taxable items sold that are sold at a student store or regular place of business (see below for the significance of these terms).  To take advantage of this exemption, PTAs may either obtain a reseller’s permit from the Washington State Department of Revenue, or pay the tax and then apply to the Department of Revenue for a refund.  More information about applying for a reseller’s permit or applying for a refund of taxes is available in a “Frequently asked Questions” (FAQ) document on the WSPTA website,, under the “PTA and the Law resources” tab in the leadership resources section, and the Department of Revenue’s website,

Sales at periodic fundraising activities by most PTAs are exempt from the sales tax
A PTA that qualifies as tax-exempt under federal law (as either a Section 501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(4) organization) is also exempt from paying Washington’s business and occupation and retail sales taxes on income generated through periodic nonrecurring fundraising activities. Fundraising activities include directly soliciting money or other property, or selling goods or services to further the PTA’s goals.

Regular ongoing sales activities by PTAs are not exempt from sales tax
Some PTAs conduct activities with regular hours such as student stores, concession stands at school sporting events, weekly or bi-weekly popcorn sales, or similar business activities.  Under Washington law, such activities when held on a regular ongoing basis (even if the activity occurs as infrequently as once a month) constitute a “regular place of business” and are required to collect sales tax on the same basis as similar sales by a for-profit company. PTAs that engage in these activities should collect the applicable sales tax (the rate varies form on geographic area to another). The sales tax collected should be held in the PTA account and then paid to the Department of Revenue along with quarterly or annual return.

If you have questions, please contact Tatia Vasbinder at the WSPTA office at