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Old 07-01-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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WA use tax?

WA state requires us to pay a use or sales tax on a purchased trailer. The use tax is calculated based on where you use the trailer first. Use tax varies considerably from county to county, city to city. Anywhere from about 7% to above 10%.

Have any of you WA owners taken advantage of this and somehow proved your first use of the trailer was in a low use tax area? The 3% difference on a $29K 17B purchased from ETI is potentially $900 I could save in use tax.
Josh
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Old 07-01-2019, 12:11 PM   #2
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They based it on the rate at my home address when I registered my 2014.
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Old 07-01-2019, 12:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Paul. I'm trying to avoid my home address because it's in a higher tax area. If I can go stay a night in an RV park a couple of miles east of me, the difference in use tax due is $500!

Assuming I bring the receipt for the night's stay to DMV when I register, I would think that would be my proof of where I first used the trailer.

Has anyone had any luck doing this?
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Old 07-01-2019, 12:25 PM   #4
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I think there will be a conflict between your definition of use and the government's definition.
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Old 07-01-2019, 12:31 PM   #5
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It's common when purchasing aircraft to land at an airport in a low use tax area. Keeping the fuel receipt as proof has worked when going to DMV. DMV will try to default to your home address, but I've heard if you push them on the law, they will back off and accept the fuel receipt as proof of where the aircraft was first used since that is how the law is worded.

Here is an excerpt from the law:
The use tax rate, unlike the sales tax rate, is calculated on where you first use the article in Washington, not where the sale takes place. The state portion of the tax
is 6.5 percent. Local governments impose their own additional use tax. Depending on the rate of local tax, the combined use tax rate ranges from 7 percent
to 9 percent.

A friend of mine who purchased an aircraft saved several thousand dollars doing just this.
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:04 PM   #6
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I believe the use tax rate is the exact same rate as the sales tax would be if you purchased it in Washington and registered it at your residence.
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:19 PM   #7
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It might come down to the DMV office you take your paperwork to. Call an office in a low tax area and ask if it would make any difference. I agree with the others in that it will probably be determined by your home address.
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:22 PM   #8
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Another consideration. Your insurance company will ask where the trailer resides. If you don't tell them the truth, your insurance could be invalid.
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Old 07-01-2019, 03:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
It's common when purchasing aircraft to land at an airport in a low use tax area. Keeping the fuel receipt as proof has worked when going to DMV.
Since aircraft are very mobile couldn't they argue that you used it first in some other jurisdiction and only landed later in another area to get fuel. I'd still give the old college try though.

Glad, sort of, to see other areas have all sorts of taxes. Our local gas tax for Translink just went up again today. It never ends.

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Old 07-01-2019, 04:30 PM   #10
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Your paperwork with your home address will probably be the determining factor as to what the rate will be. Years ago I remember a trucking company driving their rigs out of state on December 31, and then certifying they had no personal property in the state for that year. The state then revoked their business license until the tax was paid... I'm sure others have tried to get around the correct amount due.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:33 AM   #11
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DMV's website wording is use tax is due based on where the item was first used. However after digging into the RCW's, it looks like it will more than likely be based on my home address like you all said. They do leave it as somewhat of a grey area though.

I might print the DMV webpage out and give it a try, but it looks like I'll have to get the "right" person at the DMV to be successful. That's what my friend did when he paid his use tax on the aircraft he purchased.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to do anything fishy like register the trailer anywhere other than my home residence. But, if I can save some $ by going by the literal wording of the DMV website why not try? I don't see first use as my home residence since a travel trailer is used for camping. So in my mind (maybe not the govt) the first use is where I first camp with it.

Thanks for all your replies. I'll report back on whether I was successful or not.
Josh
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Old 07-02-2019, 06:35 PM   #12
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We purchased a 19’ new last year. Washington taxes were based on our home address ��
Also got screwed with the Sound Transit add on fee. Tax & license were north of $3k.
If you can install any option yourself that helps keep the value down when it comes to paying license fees. Every years license fee will be based off your initial purchase price depreciation.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:11 PM   #13
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What are the low tax areas in WA/
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:20 PM   #14
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Wow, that's more than California!! Even though the registration process was torturous and long, the clerk at my local DMV insisted on charging tax only on the base price of the trailer at the top of the build sheet, not including any of the what she termed "accessories" added on. I did not argue with her.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:26 PM   #15
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Okay guys. I looked it up and found RCW 82.12.010:


(6) "Use," "used," "using," or "put to use" have their ordinary meaning, and mean:
(a) With respect to tangible personal property, except for natural gas and manufactured gas, the first act within this state by which the taxpayer takes or assumes dominion or control over the article of tangible personal property (as a consumer), and include installation, storage, withdrawal from storage, distribution, or any other act preparatory to subsequent actual use...


IMHO anyone who takes possession (and dominion or control) in Sumas can claim Nooksack County as the location of first use. But I can tell you county bureaucrats have ways they have "always" done things which always to don't comply with the law as written!
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:39 PM   #16
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I save .002 percent by using it first in Sumas, rather than my home address. About $60.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasguy View Post
We purchased a 19 new last year. Washington taxes were based on our home address ��
Also got screwed with the Sound Transit add on fee. Tax & license were north of $3k.
If you can install any option yourself that helps keep the value down when it comes to paying license fees. Every years license fee will be based off your initial purchase price depreciation.
Gasguy, is there a yearly tab fee like our cars? I looked at the DOL website and it looks like there is no RTA tax due for travel trailers. I cant calculate the tab fee because I don't have a VIN or license plate to go on (I haven't bought a trailer yet).
Josh
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
DMV's website wording is use tax is due based on where the item was first used. However after digging into the RCW's, it looks like it will more than likely be based on my home address like you all said. They do leave it as somewhat of a grey area though.

I might print the DMV webpage out and give it a try, but it looks like I'll have to get the "right" person at the DMV to be successful. That's what my friend did when he paid his use tax on the aircraft he purchased.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to do anything fishy like register the trailer anywhere other than my home residence. But, if I can save some $ by going by the literal wording of the DMV website why not try? I don't see first use as my home residence since a travel trailer is used for camping. So in my mind (maybe not the govt) the first use is where I first camp with it.

Thanks for all your replies. I'll report back on whether I was successful or not.
Josh
Another aspect that worked for me at my license place in Bremerton was I had a currency conversion app on my phone and they accepted that for the exchange rate. It happened to be $1US = $1.334CAN the day I registered my new trailer. So I was pretty pleased with that.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmgirl View Post
I save .002 percent by using it first in Sumas, rather than my home address. About $60.
For me I would save $225 if they accept first use in Sumas vs Bonney Lake! That would be nice

I pay $2380 in Sumas and $2604 in Bonney Lake.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:19 AM   #20
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Do what the airplane guys do.

Go to a campground in a low tax area for your first night in WA.

Use the receipt from campground as proof of first use.

I was born in Spokane WA and left in the 1960's. Go back every now and then to visit Aunt's and Uncles. Just returned from a trip in May from Spokane back to TN.

WOW IS WASHINGTON AN EXPENSIVE PLACE TO LIVE!!!

Most every item that I looked at in grocery stores and other retail establishments that were not "On Sale" were 15%-25% HIGHER in price than the normal posted prices in TN. Gas in WA was over $3.00/gallon at Costco. Returned to TN and paid $2.16/Gallon at Costco.

Nice to back in the "Redneck" Tennessee were there are NO Value added taxes, NO State Income taxe and NO Use taxes on major purchases. Just good ole sales tax and it's the same for everyone!
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