Guided hunting and fishing trips are amusement and recreation activities and therefore classified as retail sales. Persons providing guided hunting and fishing trips are required to collect and remit retail sales tax on their charges for this service. It doesn't matter whether the hunting or fishing guide provides the necessary equipment or gear to the customer, or the customer uses his or her own equipment and gear.
Hunting and fishing guides must be registered with the Washington State Department of Revenue. In addition, income from providing guided hunting and fishing services is subject to business and occupation (B&O) tax under the retailing classification, though this B&O tax liability may be eliminated or reduced by the small business tax credit (See WAC 458-20-104). To register, complete a Business License Application.
What sales tax rate to collect
The sales tax rate to collect is based on the place where the guide services begin in this state.
- For example, if you and your customer begin the fishing trip at a boat ramp on the Skookumchuck river in unincorporated Thurston County, and from there you travel by boat to other locations on the river to begin and continue fishing, you would collect the sales tax rate applicable for the boat ramp, which is the rate for unincorporated Thurston County (location code 3400). The fact that the fishing may occur in other taxing jurisdictions (locations) is immaterial.
- Likewise, if a hunting guide and customer began a hunting trip at a trailhead in Kittitas County, and from there pack by horse to set up a hunting camp in Chelan County, the hunting guide would collect the sales tax rate applicable for the trailhead location at which the hunting trip began, which is the rate for unincorporated Kittitas County (location code 1900). The fact that the actual hunting may occur either entirely in Chelan County, or partly within Chelan County and Kittitas County, is immaterial.
For a complete list of location codes and tax rates, see our Local Sales and Use Tax Rates and Changes flyer.
One Non-Itemized Charge or Separately Itemized Charges – For sales tax purposes, when a guided hunting or fishing trip is sold in a package deal that just includes prepared meals, and/or lodging accommodations, it doesn't matter whether the deal is for one non-itemized price or if the charges for the prepared meals and the lodging are separately stated. Retail sales tax applies on the total of the charges. The seller is also subject to retailing B&O tax on the gross income.
Example 1 – Jerry’s Fishing Excursions offers a package deal that includes two days of guided fishing, overnight lodging accommodations, and two prepared meals per day for one non-itemized charge of $500.
In this case, Jerry’s must collect retail sales tax on the $500 charge and would owe B&O tax on the same amount under the retailing classification.
Example 2 – Assume the same facts, except that the charges are separately itemized for the purchaser.
In this case, retail sales tax would be due on all of the itemized charges since each of these charges are individually subject to sales tax.
The separate charge for lodging would also be subject to any local lodging tax/fees that may be applicable to that location. See the Lodging Industry Guide for additional information or contact the Department.
However, if there are separately itemized charges for distinct products or services that are not subject to retail sales tax, then retail sales tax does not apply to the itemized charges for those nontaxable products or services.
Sales tax is due on all equipment used in providing your guide services
Persons providing guided hunting and fishing services must pay sales tax on all equipment, gear, and supplies used in providing such services. You may not use a reseller permit to make these purchases without paying sales tax. If you have not paid Washington state sales tax on your equipment, gear, or supply purchases, you are responsible for remitting sales or use tax directly to the Department on those items.