Business and Occupation Tax: The B&O tax applies to you if you conduct business activities in Washington. The tax is a gross receipts tax. This means there are no deductions for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business. There are different reporting classifications for various business activities. Each classification has its own tax rate. If you perform more than one activity, you may be subject to B&O tax under more than one classification.

The most common B&O classifications for private mailing businesses are retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing, and/or service and other activities.

Retail Sales Tax: Business owners making retail sales in Washington must collect sales tax from their customers unless an exemption applies. Generally, retail sales tax is collected on sales of tangible personal property and sales of retail services. The sales tax rate is usually determined by the location where the goods are delivered to the purchaser. Sales tax rates vary around the state. Visit the department’s tax rate lookup tool to help determine your specific tax rates.

Private mailing businesses sell a variety of products that are subject to sales tax. Items include self-service copies, stationary supplies, packing supplies, and other miscellaneous items (tangible personal property).

Use Tax: If you bought an item for use in Washington but did not pay sales tax during the transaction, then you owe use tax or deferred sales tax. The same rule applies when purchasing retail services and not paying sales tax. Exemptions can apply.

Reseller Permit: If you buy goods that can be resold to customers, you need to file for a resellers permit by submitting an application to the department. Examples of items that can be resold to customers are greeting cards, office supplies, packing supplies, etc.