The Department of Revenue’s Taxpayer Information and Education (TI&E) section provides binding tax rulings on future transactions for disclosed taxpayers. These rulings are binding on both the taxpayer and the Department.
A taxpayer requesting a binding ruling must disclose the name of the business, provide all pertinent facts, and provide a complete and accurate description of the planned transaction or business activity. The request should state the questions the taxpayer wants answered or the information the requester is seeking.
When providing a binding ruling, the Department uses information from
- The ruling request
- The taxpayer’s website
- Department of Revenue account information
The Department may use other relevant information to develop the ruling. The ruling will summarize the information used.
Most responses are issued within 10 business days after receipt of a request from the taxpayer. Rulings on new or complex issues may take longer.
The Department of Revenue can’t
- Provide binding rulings for unidentified taxpayers or consumers
- Provide an opporturnity to hear the outcome of a ruling before it is issued
- Give tax planning advice
Informational responses result from requests from consumers or from someone other than an identified business or their hired representative. Informational responses from the Department are not binding on the Department or the requestor. These responses are merely for informational purposes.
If a taxpayer is under audit or selected for an audit, the Department’s Audit Division will determine if the response will come from the Audit Division or TI&E.
Information submitted by the taxpayer in a ruling request may be verified in future audits.
If the facts provided in a ruling request are materially different from the facts found in an audit/examination, the prior tax ruling is no longer binding. If an assessment is issued, it will be based on facts found during the audit/examination.
Review of adverse rulings
Taxpayers may ask for an informal administrative review of an adverse ruling on future liability by the Administrative Review and Hearings Division (WAC 458-20-100). Informal administrative reviews are not allowed on informational responses.
Reviews are limited to
- Documents and records used when issuing the ruling
- Correcting errors occurring during the ruling process
A favorable tax ruling may lead to a refund for the taxpayer. All refund requests must be submitted to the Department’s Taxpayer Account Administration Division, which verifies and grants or denies refund requests. Taxpayers denied a refund may seek an informal administrative review under WAC 458-20-100.
Is Your Tax Rulings Still Valid?
Tax rulings continue to be valid as long as none of the following have changed or occurred since the date of the ruling:
- The facts presented,
- The law (either by statute or court decision),
- The applicable rule(s),
- The Department of Revenue publicly announced a change in the policy upon which this ruling is based.
If one or more of these circumstances has changed, the Ruling is no longer valid. Taxpayers should generally check-in with the Department periodically to confirm the taxability of their activities.
Taxpayers can obtain an updated ruling by making a written request. See the upper right hand column of this page for how to request a tax ruling.