WSR 05-22-052

EMERGENCY RULES

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE


[ Filed October 28, 2005, 10:30 a.m. , effective October 28, 2005 ]


Other Findings Required by Other Provisions of Law as Precondition to Adoption or Effectiveness of Rule: Emergency rule findings are required; see below.

Purpose: Background: WAC 458-20-141 explains the B&O, retail sales, and use tax reporting responsibilities of persons who engage in duplicating activities or who provide mailing bureau services in Washington. WAC 458-20-144 explains the B&O and retail sales tax reporting responsibilities of persons engaged in printing activities. Both rules were revised in January 2005, each with an effective date of July 1, 2005.

One of the major changes in that revision was the removal of language stating that a deduction from the measure of tax for both B&O tax and the retail sales tax was available where a mailing bureau purchases postage for a customer and charges that customer for the postage. This revision explained that amounts received from a customer for postage costs incurred by the seller are, under the law, included in the measures of both taxes. The change to Rule 141 also identified circumstances under which postage charges are not included in the measure of tax because the charges qualify as advances or reimbursements.

WAC 458-20-17803 explains the use tax reporting responsibilities of persons who distribute or cause to be distributed tangible personal property promoting the sale of products or services are subject to use tax on the value of the property. While the January 2005 rule action had a July 1, 2005 effective date, the rule explains a use tax responsibility that resulted from provisions of chapter 367, Laws of 2002 that became effective June 1, 2002.

Current Rule-making Action: Chapter 514, Laws of 2005, provides a B&O tax deduction and retail sales/use tax exemption for delivery charges made for the delivery of direct mail, if the charges are separately stated. These provisions of chapter 514 became effective May 16, 2005, and supercede the instructions regarding charges for postage costs in these rules.

The department is adopting revisions to Rules 141, 144, and 17803 on an emergency basis to reflect this legislative change. The department plans to proceed with rule making for permanent revisions to these rules.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 458-20-141 Duplicating activities and mailing bureaus, 458-20-144 Printing industry, and 458-20-17803 Use tax on promotional material.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2).

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: An emergency adoption of revised Rules 141, 144, and 17803 is necessary because permanent rules cannot be adopted at this time. This rule action will provide needed tax information to taxpayers and department staff about the seller's and buyer's tax-reporting responsibilities relative to delivery costs for direct mail. The rules being adopted are the same as those adopted on an emergency basis on June 30, 2005 (WSR 05-14-091).

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: October 28, 2005.

Janis P. Bianchi, Manager

Interpretations and

Technical Advice Unit

by Roseanna Hodson


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-03-053, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05)

WAC 458-20-141   Duplicating activities and mailing bureaus.   (1) Introduction. This ((rule)) section discusses the business and occupation (B&O) tax and retail sales and use tax reporting responsibilities of persons who engage in duplicating activities or who provide mailing bureau services in Washington. Persons engaged in printing activities should refer to WAC 458-20-144 (Printing industry).

Chapter 514, Laws of 2005, changed the taxability of delivery charges associated with direct mail. Refer to subsection (3) of this section for further information.

(2) Duplicating activities. Duplicating is the copying of typed, written, drawn, photographed, previously duplicated, or printed materials using a photographic process such as photocopying, color copying, or blueprinting.

(a) Sales of duplicated products. Income from the sale of photostats, photocopies, blueprint copies and other duplicated tangible personal property to consumers is subject to the retailing B&O tax. The measure of tax is the gross proceeds of sale. The seller is also responsible for collecting and remitting retail sales tax on the selling price when making sales to consumers, unless a specific exemption applies. The wholesaling B&O tax applies to the gross proceeds of sale when the buyer purchases the duplicated property for resale without intervening use. The seller must obtain a resale certificate from the buyer to document the wholesale nature of any sale as provided in WAC 458-20-102 (Resale certificates).

If the seller is also the manufacturer of the duplicated products, the seller may be eligible for a multiple activities tax credit. Refer to WAC 458-20-19301 (Multiple activities tax credits) for more information about the credit.

(b) Duplicating as a manufacturing activity. A person duplicating tangible personal property for sale or commercial or industrial use (the use of manufactured property as a consumer) is subject to the manufacturing B&O tax classification. For further information about manufacturing activities, refer to WAC 458-20-112 (Value of products), WAC 458-20-134 (Commercial or industrial use), and WAC 458-20-136 (Manufacturing, processing for hire, fabricating).

(c) Self-service copying. Some persons provide consumers with access to duplicating equipment to make their own copies (frequently referred to "self-service copying"). These customers are generally charged on a per page basis. The gross proceeds of sales made to consumers for self-service copying is subject to the retailing B&O tax. The seller is also responsible for collecting retail sales tax, unless a specific exemption applies. In such cases, the person providing access to duplicating equipment is not engaged in a manufacturing activity and charges for self-service copying are not subject to the manufacturing B&O tax.

(d) Potential litter tax liability. Chapter 82.19 RCW imposes a litter tax on manufacturers (including duplicators), wholesalers, and retailers of certain products. These products include, but are not limited to, newspapers, magazines, and household paper and paper products. Thus, persons who duplicate tangible personal property for sale or who provide facilities for self-service copying may incur a litter tax liability. The measure of the litter tax is the gross proceeds of sale. For further information about the litter tax, refer to chapter 82.19 RCW and WAC 458-20-243 (Litter tax).

(e) Purchases for resale. The purchase of tangible personal property for resale as tangible personal property or as a component or ingredient of duplicated property is a purchase at wholesale. Examples of items that may be purchased at wholesale include paper, ink, toner, and staples. Refer to WAC 458-20-113 (Ingredients or components, chemicals used in processing new articles for sale). Wholesale purchases are not subject to retail sales tax when the buyer provides a resale certificate to the seller as provided by WAC 458-20-102 (Resale certificates).

(f) Purchases subject to retail sales or use tax. A person who engages in duplicating activities and acquires tangible personal property for use as a consumer must pay retail sales tax (commonly referred to as "deferred sales tax") or use tax directly to the department when the seller fails to collect retail sales tax. Examples of purchases by a person engaged in duplicating activities that are subject to retail sales tax or use tax include photocopiers, cutting boards, computers, cash registers, and office furniture. For further information about the use tax, refer to WAC 458-20-178 (Use tax).

Persons who engage in duplicating products for sale should refer to WAC 458-20-13601 (Manufacturers and processors for hire -- Sales and use tax exemption for machinery and equipment) for information about the sales and use tax exemptions for certain machinery and equipment used directly in a manufacturing operation.

(g) Example. Copy Company provides a public area with photocopying equipment and materials (paper, toner, and staples) to allow customers to make their own copies. Copy Company has a separate area where Copy Company employees make copies for customers. The income attributable to copies made both by the customers and by Copy Company employees is subject to the retailing B&O and retail sales taxes. The value of the copies made by Copy Company employees is also subject to the manufacturing B&O tax, and Copy Company may claim a multiple activities tax credit as described above in subsection (2)(a). Litter tax may be due as explained above in subsection (2)(d).

Copy Company may purchase the paper, toner, and staples that are used or provided in both areas at wholesale, if the seller receives a resale certificate. Retail sales or use tax applies to the purchase of photocopying equipment in both areas. The purchase and/or use of the equipment where Copy Company employees make copies may qualify for the machinery and equipment exemption described in WAC 458-20-13601.

(3) Mailing bureau services. Mailing bureaus, also referred to as mail houses, prepare for distribution mail pieces such as bulletins, form letters, advertising material, political publications, and flyers as directed by their customers. The customer may provide the mail pieces to be prepared for distribution or the mailing bureau itself may sell the material to the customer. Mailing bureaus that duplicate the material being prepared should also refer to subsection (2), above. Mailing bureaus that print the material being prepared should also refer to WAC 458-20-144.

(a) Mailing bureau activities. Activities conducted by mailing bureaus include, but are not limited to, picking up, addressing, labeling, binding, folding, enclosing, sealing, tabbing, and mailing the mail pieces. The mailing bureau generally charges the customer on a per-piece basis for each separate service provided plus the actual cost of any postage.

Charges for labor and services rendered in respect to altering, imprinting, or improving tangible personal property of or for consumers are retail sales. RCW 82.04.050 (2)(a). Thus, the retailing B&O tax applies to income received from consumers for services that include addressing, labeling, binding, folding, enclosing, sealing, and/or tabbing. Mailing bureau businesses are also responsible for collecting and remitting retail sales tax when making sales to consumers, unless a specific exemption applies.

(b) Measure of tax. The measure of the B&O and retail sales taxes is the gross proceeds of sale and selling price, respectively. These terms include all consideration paid by the buyer, however identified, without any deduction for costs of doing business, such as material, and labor((, and)). Except as noted below, the measure of tax also includes delivery costs. RCW 82.04.070 and 82.08.010.

For purposes of computing the B&O tax, chapter 514, Laws of 2005, provides a deduction from the measure of tax for amounts derived from delivery charges for direct mail. Similarly, the law provides retail sales and use tax exemptions for delivery charges made for the delivery of direct mail.

(i) ((Postage. Charges for postage or other delivery costs are included in the measure of tax for both B&O tax and retail sales tax if the costs are part of the consideration paid by the customer. It is immaterial if the amounts charged for postage are stated or shown separately on the sales invoice or reflect actual mailing costs to the mailing bureau. Amounts charged for postage and other delivery costs are not included in the measure of tax only if the amounts are not part of the consideration paid by the customer.

(A) When is postage part of the consideration paid? Charges for postage costs are considered part of the consideration paid if the permit to use precancelled stamps, a postage meter, or an imprint account for bulk mailings is in the name of the mailing bureau. The mailing bureau is liable to the post office for payment and the customer's payment of such amounts represents a payment on the sale of tangible personal property or the services provided. For further information, refer to WAC 458-20-111 (Advances and reimbursements).

(B) When is postage not part of the consideration paid? Charges for postage are not considered part of the consideration paid if the permit to use precancelled stamps or a permit imprint account for bulk mailings is in the customer's name. The mailing bureau in these cases has no primary or secondary liability for payment of the postage costs. (Refer to WAC 458-20-111 for information about advances and reimbursements.)

(ii) Examples. The following examples identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The tax results of any situation must be determined after a review of all facts and circumstances. For purposes of the following examples, sales invoices to the customer separately identify charges for postage.

(A) Example 1. Mailing Bureau receives mail pieces from Department Store to prepare and mail. Mailing Bureau advises Department Store of the estimated amount of postage. Department Store deposits an amount equal to the estimated cost of postage in its own permit imprint account. The estimated postage is not part of the total consideration paid because the Department Store is personally liable to the post office for postage. The total charge, excluding postage, is the consideration paid by Department Store and subject to tax.

(B) Example 2. Assume facts as described above in Example 1. The post office determines that the actual cost of postage exceeds the estimated amount deposited by Department Store in its permit imprint account. Post office transfers the additional amount for postage from Mailing Bureau's account. Mailing Bureau invoices Department Store for the additional amount. The additional amount for postage is not part of the consideration paid and is not included in the measure of tax because Mailing Bureau's liability for payment of the additional postage is limited to that of an agent.

(C) Example 3. Mailing Bureau receives from Political Candidate B mail pieces to prepare and mail. Mailing Bureau uses its own postage meter to apply metered postage. Postage is a part of the consideration paid by Candidate B and is included in the measure of tax.

(D) Example 4. Mailing Bureau receives pre-stamped mail pieces from Medical Clinic to prepare and mail. The mail pieces qualify for the lower bulk mail rates after Mailing Bureau prepares the mail pieces. The post office refunds the difference between the single piece rate and the bulk mail rate to Mailing Bureau. Mailing Bureau retains the amount due for services rendered and in turn remits the balance of the refunded postage to Medical Clinic. Postage is not a part of the consideration paid and is not included in the measure of tax.

(E) Example 5. Mailing Bureau prints, prepares, and mails mail pieces for Non-Profit Organization's fundraising drive. Mailing Bureau applies metered postage using its own postage meter. The charge for postage is a part of the consideration paid and included in the measure of tax.

(F) Example 6. Mailing Bureau duplicates, prepares, and mails advertising for Restaurant. Mailing Bureau applies precancelled stamps that it purchases from the post office. The charge for postage is a part of the consideration paid and included in the measure of tax.

(G) Example 7. Mailing Bureau picks up mail pieces from Washington City to prepare and mail. Mailing Bureau applies metered postage using its own postage meter. The charge for postage is a part of the consideration paid by Washington City and included in the measure of tax.

(H) Example 8. Mailing Bureau prepares and mails advertising for Insurance Company. To apply postage, Mailing Bureau uses a postage meter leased by Insurance Company from a third party vendor. Insurance Company is liable to the third party vendor for payment of postage. The consideration does not include charges for postage.

(I) Example 9. Assume same facts as described in Example 8 above. The postage meter account contains insufficient funds required for mailing pieces. Mailing Bureau advances sufficient funds to Insurance Company's metering account. Mailing Bureau invoices Insurance Company for the additional amount. The consideration does not include postage because Mailing Bureau's liability for payment is limited to that of an agent.)) Requirement to separately state delivery charges. To claim the B&O tax deduction and the retail sales tax exemption, the seller must separately state the delivery charges on an invoice or similar billing invoice provided to the buyer.

(ii) What is direct mail? "Direct mail" means printed material delivered or distributed by United States mail or other delivery service to a mass audience or to addressees on a mailing list provided by the purchaser or at the direction of the purchaser when the cost of the items are not billed directly to the recipients. "Direct mail" includes tangible personal property supplied directly or indirectly by the purchaser to the direct mail seller for inclusion in the package containing the printed material. "Direct mail" does not include multiple items of printed material delivered to a single address. RCW 82.08.010 and chapter 514, Laws of 2005.

(iii) What are delivery charges? "Delivery charges" means charges by the seller of personal property or services for preparation and delivery to a location designated by the purchaser of personal property or services including, but not limited to, transportation, shipping, postage, handling, crating, and packing. RCW 82.08.010.

(c) Retail sales tax exemptions. Certain sales tax exemptions may apply to the sale of tangible personal property or labor and services rendered to tangible personal property.

(i) Interstate sales of tangible personal property. The sale of tangible personal property is not subject to retail sales tax when the seller agrees to and does deliver the property outside the state. Refer to WAC 458-20-193 (Inbound and outbound interstate sales of tangible personal property) for further information about interstate sales.

(ii) Labor and services rendered in respect to tangible personal property of or for a nonresident. RCW 82.08.0265 provides a retail sales tax exemption for charges made for labor and services rendered in respect to any installing, repairing, cleaning, altering, or improving tangible personal property of or for a nonresident when the seller agrees to and does deliver the property to the purchaser at a point outside this state or delivers the property to a common or bona fide private carrier consigned to the purchaser at a point outside this state. For further information about this exemption, refer to WAC 458-20-173 (Installing, cleaning, repairing or otherwise altering or improving personal property of consumers).

(d) Purchases for resale. The purchase of tangible personal property for resale as tangible personal property or to become a component or ingredient of property upon which mailing bureau services will be performed is a purchase at wholesale. Examples of items that may be purchased at wholesale include paper, printing ink, envelopes, and staples. Wholesale purchases are not subject to retail sales tax when the buyer provides a resale certificate to the seller as provided by WAC 458-20-102 (Resale certificates). Refer to WAC 458-20-113 (Ingredients or components, chemicals used in processing new articles for sale) for further information regarding ingredients and components.

(e) Purchases subject to retail sales or use tax. A mailing bureau business that purchases, leases, or otherwise acquires tangible personal property for use as a consumer must pay retail sales tax (commonly referred to as "deferred sales tax") or use tax directly to the department when the seller fails to collect the retail sales tax. Examples of such property include photocopiers, cutting boards, computers, office furniture, and equipment to address, label, fold, seal, insert, meter, stamp, or sort. For further information about the use tax, refer to WAC 458-20-178 (Use tax).

(f) Purchases of mailing lists. Persons acquiring mailing lists are purchasing an information service regardless of the medium used to provide or transfer the information. Thus, the purchase of a mailing list by a mailing bureau business is not subject to either retail sales or use tax.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). 05-03-053, 458-20-141, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. 83-07-034 (Order ET 83-17), 458-20-141, filed 3/15/83; Order ET 70-3, 458-20-141 (Rule 141), filed 5/29/70, effective 7/1/70.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-03-052, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05)

WAC 458-20-144   Printing industry.   (1) Introduction. This ((rule)) discusses the taxability of the printing industry. For information on the taxability of mailing bureau services, refer to WAC 458-20-141, Duplicating industry and mailing bureaus.

Chapter 514, Laws of 2005, changed the taxability of delivery charges associated with direct mail. Refer to subsection (4) of this section for further information.

(2) Definition. The phrase "printing industry" includes letterpress, offset-lithography, and gravure processes as well as multigraph, mimeograph, autotyping, addressographing and similar activities.

(3) Business and occupation tax. Printers are subject to the business and occupation tax under the printing and publishing classification upon the gross income of the business.

(4) Retail sales tax. The printing or imprinting of advertising circulars, books, briefs, envelopes, folders, posters, racing forms, tickets, and other printed matter, whether upon special order or upon materials furnished either directly or indirectly by the customer is a retail sale and subject to the retail sales tax, providing the customer either consumes, or distributes such articles free of charge, and does not resell such articles in the regular course of business. The retail sales tax is computed upon the total charge for printing, and the printer may not deduct the cost of labor, author's alterations, or other service charges in performing the printing, even though such charges may be stated or shown separately on invoices.

RCW 82.04.070 and 82.08.010, respectively, define "gross proceeds of sales" and "selling price." These definitions provide that there is no deduction for "delivery costs." RCW 82.08.010 further provides that there is no deduction for "delivery charges," a term also defined by the statute to include postage. ((If a printer purchases stamps, applies metered postage using its meter account, or applies its permit imprint, and also charges the customer for the postage, the charge is included in the measure of B&O and/or retail sales tax, unless excluded by another provision of chapters 82.04 and 82.08 RCW. See also WAC 458-20-111 for information about nontaxable advances and reimbursements.)) Effective May 17, 2005, chapter 514, Laws of 2005, provides a B&O tax deduction and retail sales and use tax exemption from the measure of tax for amounts derived from delivery charges for direct mail when the delivery charges are separately stated on an invoice or similar billing invoice provided to the buyer.

"Direct mail" means printed material delivered or distributed by United States mail or other delivery service to a mass audience or to addressees on a mailing list provided by the purchaser or at the direction of the purchaser when the cost of the items are not billed directly to the recipients. "Direct mail" includes tangible personal property supplied directly or indirectly by the purchaser to the direct mail seller for inclusion in the package containing the printed material. "Direct mail" does not include multiple items of printed material delivered to a single address. RCW 82.08.010 and chapter 514, Laws of 2005.

"Delivery charges" means charges by the seller of personal property or services for preparation and delivery to a location designated by the purchaser of personal property or services including, but not limited to, transportation, shipping, postage, handling, crating, and packing. RCW 82.08.010.

Sales of printed matter to advertising agencies who purchase for their own use or for the use of their clients, and not for resale in the regular course of business, are sales for consumption and subject to the retail sales tax.

Sales of tickets to theater owners, amusement operators, transportation companies and others are sales for consumption and subject to the retail sales tax. Such tickets are not resold by the theater owners or amusement proprietors as tangible personal property but are used merely as a receipt to the patrons for payment and as evidence of the right to admission or transportation.

Sales of school annuals and similar publications by printers to school districts, private schools or student organizations therein are subject to the retail sales tax.

Sales by printers of books, envelopes, folders, posters, racing forms, stationery, tickets and other printed matter to dealers for resale in the regular course of business are wholesale sales and are not subject to the retail sales tax.

Charges made by bookbinders or printers for imprinting, binding or rebinding of materials for consumers are subject to the retail sales tax.

Sales to printers of equipment, supplies and materials which do not become a component part or ingredient of the finished printed matter sold or which are put to "intervening use" before being resold are subject to the retail sales tax. This includes, among others, sales of fuel, furniture, lubricants, machinery, type, lead, slugs and mats.

Sales to printers of paper stock and ink which become a part of the printed matter sold are sales for resale and are not subject to retail sales tax.

(5) Commissions and discounts. There is a general trade practice in the printing industry of making allowances to advertising agencies of a certain percentage of the gross charge made for printed matter ordered by the agency either in its own name or in the name of the advertiser. This allowance may be a "commission" or may be a "discount."

A "commission" paid by a seller constitutes an expense of doing business and is not deductible from the measure of tax under either business and occupation tax or retail sales tax. On the other hand, a "discount" is a deduction from an established selling price allowed to buyers, and a bona fide discount is deductible under both these classifications.

In order that there may be a definite understanding, printers, advertising agencies and advertisers are advised that tax liability in such cases is as follows:

(a) The allowance taken by an advertising agency will be deductible as a discount in the computation of the printer's liability only in the event that the printer bills the charge on a net basis; i.e., less the discount.

(b) Where the printer bills the gross charge to the agency, and the advertiser pays the sales tax measured by the gross charge, no deduction will be allowed, irrespective of the fact that in payment of the account the printer actually receives from the agency the net amount only; i.e., the gross billing, less the commission retained by the agency. In all cases the commission received is taxable to the agency.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). 05-03-052, 458-20-144, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05; Order ET 70-4, 458-20-144 (Rule 144), filed 6/12/70, effective 7/12/70.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-03-051, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05)

WAC 458-20-17803   Use tax on promotional material.   (1) Introduction. Persons who distribute or cause to be distributed any article of tangible personal property, except newspapers, the primary purpose of which is to promote the sale of products or services, are subject to use tax on the value of the property. RCW 82.12.010, 82.12.020, and chapter 367, Laws of 2002. This ((rule)) section explains the use tax reporting responsibilities of consumers when such property is delivered directly to persons other than the consumer from outside Washington. For the purposes of this ((rule)) section, the term "promotional material" is used in describing such property where applicable.

This ((rule)) section provides numerous examples that identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should only be used as a general guide. Similar determinations for other situations can be made only after a review of all facts and circumstances. For purposes of these examples, presume the promotional material is delivered to persons within Washington.

Chapter 514, Laws of 2005, changed the taxability of delivery charges associated with direct mail. Refer to subsection (5) of this section for further information.

(2) What is the use tax? The use tax complements the retail sales tax by imposing a tax of a like amount when a consumer uses tangible personal property or certain retail services within this state. RCW 82.12.020. The tax does not apply to the use of any property or service if the present user, donor, or bailor previously paid retail sales tax under chapter 82.08 RCW with respect to the property used or the service obtained. See WAC 458-20-178 (Use tax) for an explanation of the use tax and use tax reporting requirements.

(3) Who is liable for the use tax on promotional material? The use tax is imposed on the consumer. The law provides that with respect to promotional material distributed to persons within this state, the consumer is the person who distributes or causes the distribution of the promotional material. A consumer as defined in this ((rule)) section is responsible for remitting use tax only if the consumer has nexus in Washington.

(a) Example 1. Department Store contracts with Printer in Idaho, to print promotional material advertising sale merchandise available at Department Store's Washington locations. Printer delivers promotional material to Seattle Mailing Bureau, with whom Department Store has contracted to prepare the material for distribution to Department Store's customers. Department Store is the consumer of the promotional material and is liable for use tax on promotional material distributed within Washington. Neither Printer, Seattle Mailing Bureau, nor Department Store's customers are consumers of this promotional material.

(b) Example 2. Retailer contracts with Seattle Advertising Agency for advertising services. Advertising Agency makes a single charge for all services, which includes designing, printing, and distributing catalogs to potential customers. Advertising Agency contracts with California Printer to print and prepare for distribution promotional material advertising a new Washington location. Retailer is the consumer of the catalogs and is liable for use tax on the promotional material sent to Washington addresses. Neither Advertising Agency nor potential customers are consumers of this promotional material.

(4) What is promotional material? Promotional material is any tangible personal property, except newspapers, displayed or distributed in the state of Washington for the primary purpose of promoting the sale of products or services. Examples of promotional material include, but are not limited to, advertising literature, circulars, catalogs, brochures, inserts (but not newspaper inserts), flyers, applications, order forms, envelopes, folders, posters, coupons, displays, signs, free gifts, or samples (such as carpet or textile samples).

(a) Is advertising contained on billing statements promotional material? It is presumed that the primary purpose of billing statements and statements of account is to secure payment for goods or services previously purchased. Thus, unless the facts and circumstances indicate that the primary purpose of the property is to promote the sale of goods and services, billing statements and statements of account are not considered promotional material. Attaching, affixing, or otherwise incorporating property promoting the sale of goods or services does not alter the primary purpose of billing statements and statements of account. However, flyers, inserts, or other separate property enclosed with billing statements or statements of account that promote the sale of goods or services are promotional material and subject to use tax.

(i) Example 1. Richland Attorney contracts with Oregon Printer to print and prepare for distribution monthly billing statements and return remittance envelopes to Attorney's clients. The contract also includes printing and inserting flyers promoting Attorney's estate planning services. The primary purpose of the flyers is to solicit the sale of services. Consequently, the flyers are promotional material. The primary purpose of the billing statements is to secure payment for services rendered. The billing statements are not promotional material.

(ii) Example 2. Department Store prints the monthly billing statements for its store credit card in Atlanta, Georgia, and mails them to customers located in Washington. Although the billing statement includes three sentences noting an upcoming sale, this information does not alter the primary purpose of the billing statement, which is to secure payment for services rendered. The billing statements are not promotional material.

(iii) Example 3. The following month, Department Store's billing statement includes a detachable coupon for fifteen percent off selected items purchased during a specified period. Although the detachable coupon solicits the sale of goods or services, it does not alter the primary purpose of the billing statement, which is to secure payment for goods or services already purchased. The billing statement and detachable coupon are not promotional material.

(iv) Example 4. In the third month, Department Store lengthens the billing statement to include information promoting the grand opening of a location. Although the lengthened portion of the billing statement contains information promoting the sale of goods or services, it does not alter the primary purpose of the billing statement, which is to secure payment for goods or services already purchased. The lengthened billing statement is not promotional material.

(b) When are envelopes considered promotional material? Envelopes used solely to mail property to promote the sale of goods or services are considered promotional material and subject to use tax.

Envelopes used to mail nonpromotional material, such as billing statements and statements of account, are used to secure payment for goods purchased or services rendered. The same is true of return envelopes that are enclosed for submitting payment. Unless the facts and circumstances indicate otherwise, the presumption is that the primary purpose of envelopes used for mailing both promotional and nonpromotional material in the same envelope is not to promote the sale of goods and services. Thus, envelopes and return envelopes used for dual purposes are not subject to use tax, even though promotional material may be printed on or attached to the envelopes. Although the imprinted or attached material promotes the sale of goods or services, it does not alter the primary purpose of the envelopes.

(i) Example 1. Bank mails brochures, applications, and return envelopes from Atlanta, Georgia, to Washington addresses promoting Bank's credit card. The primary purpose of envelopes used to mail the brochures, applications, and return envelopes is to solicit the sale of services. The envelopes, brochures, and applications are promotional material.

(ii) Example 2. Telephone Company mails monthly billing statements to Washington customers from St. Louis, Missouri. Inserts promoting the sale of various telephone accessories are included. Return envelopes to be used in making payment of the statement amount are also enclosed. The primary purpose of the envelopes used to mail the billing statements and the return envelopes is to secure payment. Neither the mailing envelopes nor the return envelopes are promotional material.

(iii) Example 3. Mortgage Company mails monthly billing statements to Washington residents from its administrative offices in Nevada. The enclosed return envelope for customers to use in making payment includes an attachment promoting additional banking services. Although the attachment to the return envelopes contains advertising information, it does not alter the primary purpose of the envelope which is to obtain payment. Neither the mailing envelopes nor the return envelopes are promotional material.

(5) What is the measure of tax? The measure of the use tax is the value of the article used. For the purposes of computing the use tax due on promotional material, the measure of tax is the amount of consideration paid for the promotional material without deduction for the cost of materials, labor, or other service charges, even though such charges may be stated or shown separately on invoices. ((It)) Except as noted below, the measure of use tax also includes the amount of any freight, delivery, or other like transportation charge paid or given by the consumer to the seller. The value of the promotional material also includes any tariffs or duties paid. If the total consideration paid does not represent the true value of the article used, the value must be determined as nearly as possible according to the retail selling price at place of use of similar materials of like quality and character. RCW 82.12.010.

A consumer who has paid retail sales or use tax that is due in another state with respect to promotional material that is subject to use tax in this state may take a credit for the amount of tax so paid. RCW 82.12.035. For further information, refer to WAC 458-20-178 (Use tax).

(a) ((Does the measure of tax include delivery charges?)) Delivery charges. Effective May 17, 2005, Chapter 514, Laws of 2005, allows exemption from the use tax for amounts derived from delivery charges for direct mail when the delivery charges are separately stated on an invoice or similar billing invoice provided to the buyer.

(i) What is direct mail? "Direct mail" means printed material delivered or distributed by United States mail or other delivery service to a mass audience or to addressees on a mailing list provided by the purchaser or at the direction of the purchaser when the cost of the items are not billed directly to the recipients. "Direct mail" includes tangible personal property supplied directly or indirectly by the purchaser to the direct mail seller for inclusion in the package containing the printed material. "Direct mail" does not include multiple items of printed material delivered to a single address. RCW 82.08.010 and chapter 514, Laws of 2005.

(ii) What are delivery charges? "Delivery charges" means charges by the seller of personal property or services for preparation and delivery to a location designated by the purchaser of personal property or services including, but not limited to, transportation, shipping, postage, handling, crating, and packing. RCW 82.08.010.

(iii) Delivery charges as a measure of tax before May 17, 2005. For use tax due on promotional material from June 1, 2002, through May 16, 2005, the measure of tax includes all delivery charges. Postage is a delivery charge and is therefore included in the measure of tax if the cost is part of the consideration paid by the consumer to the seller. RCW 82.08.010 and 82.12.010. It is immaterial if amounts charged for postage are stated or shown separately on invoices. Amounts charged for postage and other delivery costs are not included in the measure of tax only if the amounts are not part of the consideration paid. ((For discussion about when postage is and is not considered part of the consideration paid, please refer to WAC 458-20-141 (Duplicating industry and mailing bureaus).))

(A) When are delivery charges part of the consideration paid? Charges for postage or other delivery costs are considered part of the consideration paid if the permit to use precancelled stamps, a postage meter, or an imprint account for bulk mailings is in the name of the party contracted to provide and/or prepare promotional material for distribution. Such parties are liable to the post office for payment and the consumer's payment of such amounts represents a payment on the sale of tangible personal property or the services provided. For further information, refer to WAC 458-20-111 (Advances and reimbursements).

(B) When are delivery charges not part of the consideration paid? Charges for postage or other delivery costs are not considered part of the consideration paid if the permit to use precancelled stamps or a permit imprint account for bulk mailings is in the consumer's name. The consumer in these cases has primary or secondary liability for payment of the postage costs. (Refer to WAC 458-20-111 for information about advances and reimbursements.)

(b) What is the measure of tax when a consumer contracts with one party for the promotional material and a third party to prepare the material for distribution? The use tax is imposed on consumers of certain services rendered in respect to tangible personal property for use in this state when the retail sales tax has not been paid. RCW 82.12.020. These services generally include labor and services rendered in respect to altering, imprinting, or improving tangible personal property and include activities performed typically by mailing bureaus or houses, such as addressing, labeling, binding, folding, sealing, and tabbing.

A consumer of promotional material is subject to use tax on the value of the promotional material and the value of the services used. The value of the service used is the amount of consideration paid for the service and includes delivery charges such as postage. RCW 82.12.010 and 82.08.010.

(c) What is the measure of tax when a consumer manufactures its own promotional materials? The measure of use tax is the value of the promotional material. Refer to WAC 458-20-112 (Value of products). A consumer who manufactures its own promotional material may also be conducting manufacturing activities and should refer to WAC 458-20-134 (Commercial or industrial use) and WAC 458-20-136 (Manufacturing, processing for hire, fabricating).

(6) Determining the applicable local use tax rate. For purposes of determining the applicable rate of local use tax for promotional material, the following guidelines must be followed unless the consumer obtains prior written approval from the department to use an alternative method. Refer to (c) of this subsection for an explanation of the circumstances under which the department will consider approving alternate methods and how to obtain such approval.

(a) Operations directed from within Washington. The applicable local taxing jurisdiction and tax rate is the in-state location from where the consumer directs or manages its Washington operations.

(i) Example 1. Department Store operates ten locations in western Washington. Department Store's corporate headquarters, the location from where it manages its in-state operations, is in Seattle. The local use tax rate for Seattle is the applicable rate.

(ii) Example 2. Retailer, a national company with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, operates multiple locations in Washington. Retailer manages its Washington operations from a location in Spokane. The local use tax rate for Spokane is the applicable rate.

(b) Operations directed from outside Washington. A consumer that manages or directs its Washington activities from outside the state must equally apportion the value of the promotional material among the local tax jurisdictions where the consumer conducts its business activities. Promotional material that is targeted to specific business locations of the consumer must be apportioned solely between those business locations. Targeted material is material specifically distributed to promote sales of products or services solely at a specific location(s) and at a different price(s) or terms than those offered at all other Washington locations.

(i) Example 1. Bank directs the operations of its four Washington branches from its headquarters in Sacramento, California. The branches are in Seattle, unincorporated King County, Tacoma, and Everett. For purposes of determining use tax liability, twenty-five percent of the value of the promotional material must be equally apportioned to Seattle, unincorporated King County, Tacoma, and Everett.

(ii) Example 2. Furniture Store, headquartered in Nevada, orders 100,000 flyers from a Portland, Oregon, printer to be mailed to Washington households announcing the opening of its new store in Spokane. Customers will receive a ten percent discount on all items purchased at the Spokane store. This discount will not apply to purchases made at Store C's other Washington locations. The local use tax rate for Spokane is the applicable rate.

(iii) Example 3. Restaurant manages the operations of its Washington locations from Portland, Oregon. Restaurant contracts to have coupon books printed and mailed to households in Clark and Cowlitz counties. The coupons are accepted only at the Vancouver and Longview locations. The value of the promotional material must be equally apportioned to both locations.

(iv) Example 4. Ohio Manufacturer has no offices, warehouses, or storefront locations in Washington. A salesperson operating from the person's Kent home solicits sales from Washington distributors for the manufacturer. Manufacturer mails promotional material to its distributors' customers in Washington. The local use tax rate for Kent is the applicable rate.

(v) Example 5. Michigan Wholesaler without offices, warehouses, or storefront locations in Washington sends salesperson into Washington to solicit sales. Wholesaler mails promotional material to potential customers in Washington. The applicable local use tax rate is a uniform statewide local rate of .005.

(c) Are there alternative methods for determining the place of first use? For purposes of reporting use tax on promotional material, the department may agree to allow a consumer to use another method of determining the applicable local use tax rate provided that the method proposed by the consumer results in an equal or more equitable distribution of the tax. A consumer may request written approval for the use of an alternative method by contacting the department's taxpayer services division at:

Department of Revenue

Taxpayer Services

P.O. Box 47478

Olympia, WA 98504-7478

[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300 and 82.01.060(2). 05-03-051, 458-20-17803, filed 1/11/05, effective 7/1/05.]