The WA State Checklist

By PRETTY BOOKS ON January 30, 2023
There are a lot of moving parts in your small business. Streamlining your workflow is key to saving time and money- two essential things for a successful small business. These checklists address every corner of your business to set you up for success.

Washington State Tax Checklist

Washington State has three specific categories of taxes: state, city, and county. In order to be better prepared, your checklist is going to include taxes within the city and county, as well as the state excise tax.

What is State Excise tax? These taxes are usually imposed on the services and product you sell. Be aware that certain local jurisdictions require that you maintain a license fee in addition to paying their taxes.

One good example is the City of Seattle. The city requires you pay a license fee annually and in addition, report your city excise tax to them. Whereas in other cities, they may require one or the other. Each local jurisdiction is unique and it’s important to do your research.

3 steps to be prepared for Washington’s state, city, and county taxes

1. What do you need for state excise?

Washington’s excise taxes are assessed in the service or product you sell in your business. As a business owner, you will need to report and pay the tax to the state either monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Washington’s State excise tax is managed by the State of Washington Department of Revenue. The tax can be filed manually on paper or electronically on the department’s website. Here are a few things you’ll need to confirm before starting your first report with the state:

  • UBI
    • The Unified Business Identifier is your businesses’ nine digit number used by all the state agencies to identify, well, your business. It’s purpose is for public and private businesses and their employers.
  • What is my reporting frequency: monthly, quarterly, or annually?
    • Your reporting frequency is determined by the state when you apply for a business license. Be on the lookout for a letter from the state, identifying whether you need to report a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.

2. What do you need to report for city?

Every city within the state is going to tax you a little differently. As long as you have physical presence there, here’s what you need:

  • Confirm and obtain your city account number.
  • Segment revenue based on the city – all revenue earned within that city.
  • Identify whether you need to file a tax or pay for a license fee, or both.

💡 Helpful hint: Each city/locality requires a combination of fees and excise taxes. There are localities within cities that you may also pay a license fee for, such as Pioneer Square and Chinatown.

3. What do you need for county?

Each county has some sort of tax and/or fee. For example, King County imposes personal property taxes on their businesses. King County will access and tax you on fixed assets you own, such as furniture, equipment, and machinery.

In order to report this, you need an updated fixed asset listing that identifies all the equipment you currently own, new purchases in the last year, and any that are sold or disposed of. How much it is, when you bought it, and what it’s for.

💡 Fact: the county does not notify you about setting up an account, so you must do your research and register as needed.

Download our monthly bookkeeping checklist on our resources page

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The information provided in this post is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Consult your financial, business, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Pretty Books assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon this information.
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