Director's Rule 5-130

Selling price--Advertised prices including sales tax

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Selling price--Advertised prices including sales tax

(1) Selling price.

(a) The term "Selling price" means the consideration, whether money, credits, rights, or bfher property expressed in the terms of money paid or delivered by a buyer to a seller without any deduction on account of the cost of tangible personal property sold, the cost of materials used, labor costs, interest, discount, delivery costs, taxes other than sales tax imposed by the State of Washington if the seller advertises the price as including the sales tax or that the seller is paying the sales tax (see below), or any other expenses whatsoever paid or accrued and without any deduction on account of losses.

(b) Concerning the business license tax liabilities in connection with "trade-in" transactions, see Seattle Rule 5-131.

(c) The retail sales tax must be stated separately from the selling price on any sales invoice or other instrument of sale, i.e., contracts, sales slips, and/or customer billing receipts. (For an exception covering restaurant receipts of Class H liquor licensees, see Seattle Rule 5-405.) This is required even though the seller and buyer may know and agree that the price quoted is to include state and local taxes, including the retail sales tax. Selling prices may be advertised as including the tax or that the seller is paying the tax and, in such cases, the advertised price shall not be considered to be the taxable selling price as explained in this rule, however the actual sales invoices, receipts, contracts, billing documents, and sales journals must list the actual price of the goods, with the retail sales tax stated as a separate charge. Failure to comply with this requirement shall result in the retailing business license tax being computed on the total amount charged.

(2) Advertising prices including tax.

(a) RCW 82.08.055 provides that a seller may advertise prices as including the sales tax or that the seller is paying the sales tax under the following conditions:

(i) Unless the advertised price is one in a list of prices, such as on a menu board, the words "tax included" are stated immediately following the advertised price in print size at least half as large as the advertised price print size;

(ii) If there is a list of advertised prices, the words "tax included in all prices" are placed conspicuously at the head of the list in the same print size as the list;

(iii) If the price is advertised as including tax, the price listed on any price tag shall be shown in the same manner; and

(iv) All advertised prices and the words "tax included" are stated in the same medium, whether oral or visual, and if oral, in substantially the same inflection and volume.

(b) If these conditions are satisfied, then price lists, reader boards, menus, and other price information mediums need not reflect the actual item price and separately show the amount of sales tax being collected on any or all items.

(c) The scope and intent of the foregoing is that buyers have the right to know whether retail  sales tax is being included in advertised prices or not, and that the tax is not to be used for the competitive advantage or disadvantage of retail sellers.

(3) See Seattle Rule 5-133 for warranties (guarantees) and maintenance agreements (service contracts).        

Effective: July 15, 2005


I, Kenneth J. Nakatsu, Director of the Department of Executive Administration of the City of Seattle, do hereby certify under penalty of perjury of law, that the within and foregoing is a true and correct copy as adopted by the City of Seattle, Department of Executive Administration.

City Finance

Jamie Carnell, Interim Director
Address: 700 Fifth Ave., 4th Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34214, Seattle, WA, 98124-4214
Phone: (206) 684-8484
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

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City Finance manages the financial operations of the City of Seattle and oversees the City’s financial controls and enterprise reporting while working to achieve the goals set by the Mayor and the City Council.