What Is The Washington RV Sales Tax?Anthony Day
If you are considering buying an RV in Washington, you should be aware of what the state’s sales taxes are when establishing a budget for your camper.
Washington’s RV sales tax rate is 6.8%. Although 6.5% is technically Washington’s official sales tax rate, there is an additional 0.3% added for the Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax. Furthermore, each municipality in Washington imposes additional local taxes on top of this that range from 2% to 5%.
After extensively researching Washington state’s tax policies, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how much sales tax you will have to pay when you buy an RV. My research has indicated that although Washington has an official sales tax that affects purchases throughout the entire state, there are additional taxes that you will have to pay dictated by the municipality where you are buying your RV in.
How Much RV Sales Tax Will I Pay Washington?
Washington’s official sales tax rate is currently 6.5%. However, when you buy an RV, you will have to pay 6.8%.
Although 6.8% is not the highest sales tax rate in the country, it is more than the national average. This will likely result in thousands of dollars on top of your RV purchase - especially if you are buying a larger size camper with a bigger price tag.
Washington state has continued to raise its sales taxes consistently over the years - with the most notable increase being in 2019. However, the sales tax rate in Washington is predicted to increase again in the coming years.
What is Washington’s Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax?
As I mentioned, Washington has an official sales tax rate that is applied to virtually every purchase that you make within the state. The sales tax rate is currently 6.5%, but Washington has an additional tax that they add to motorized vehicles.
The Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax is an official state tax that will be added to any vehicle that is bought, sold, or leased, which includes RVs. In addition, to the 6.5% that you pay for Washington’s official state tax, the Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax adds 0.3% on top of this figure.
That is why the amount of tax that you pay on an RV is an increased 6.8%, rather than the standard 6.5% that is applied to all purchases.
Are there Additional Taxes on RVs in Washington?
Yes, there are additional taxes on RVs in Washington. No matter where you go in the state, you can expect to pay at least 6.8% on any vehicle that you buy - including RVs.
However, you can often end up getting charged considerably more than this with most estimates ranging from 8.3% to 10.4%. This is often quite frustrating for a lot of people on the market looking to buy a vehicle, as taxes are inconsistent in the State of Washington.
Instead of having a flat tax rate that is transparent across the entire state, Washington allows each municipality to add additional taxes to the 6.5% standard. That is why the amount of money that you spend on your RV can vary depending on which municipality in Washington you buy your vehicle.
What Are Washington’s Municipal Sales Tax Rates?
Generally speaking, each municipality will charge an additional 2% to 5% on top of Washington’s 6.5% sales tax. Washington has given each county and municipality the freedom to dictate regional tax rates on sales.
With that said, sales tax rates can fluctuate quite a bit depending on where you decide to buy your RV. While the standard 6.5% sales tax plus the 0.3% Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax are inescapable, you can actually save yourself a decent amount of money by purchasing your RV in specific parts of Washington state. These are the sales tax rates in different municipalities in Washington (including the standard 6.8% RV sales tax):
- Pierce County sales tax - 8.3%
- Olympia sales tax - 9.0%
- Fife sales tax - 10.2%
- Tacoma sales tax - 10.2%
- Seattle sales tax - 10.4%
Unfortunately, there are a lot of hidden fees involved with buying an RV in the State of Washington. Sales taxes amount to a lot when you calculate your budget for an RV, which is why a lot of folks are willing to travel to a different municipality to buy their RV.
As I highlight above, certain regions such as Pierce County have much more reasonable local taxes compared to major urban areas like Seattle. If you are buying a brand new RV, getting your vehicle in the right municipality can easily save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your purchase.
Do I Have to Pay Sales Tax on a Used RV in Washington?
A lot of people try to get around Washington’s high sales tax rates when getting an RV by purchasing a used camper. While this may seem like a good strategy, you will be disappointed to find out that you are also expected to pay tax on a used RV.
States such as Washington impose sales taxes on vehicles even if they are purchased second-hand. Although each municipality may have explicit guidelines on this, you will still have to pay Washington’s standard 6.5% sales tax, as well as the additional 0.3% Motor Vehicle Sales/Lease Tax - amounting to a total of 6.8% of tax on any used RV purchase.
Is Washington a Good State to Buy an RV?
The honest answer is - it depends. Washington has pretty high taxes on vehicles, which does ultimately affect how much more you will have to pay for your RV on top of the dealer’s asking price.
A lot of people like to buy their RVs in Washington because they are local residents and the state itself is very RV-friendly. You will find great scenery, parks, and campgrounds scattered throughout Washington, which makes it a very popular destination among RV travelers.
With that said, that does not necessarily mean that Washington is a good state for buying an RV. The amount of tax that you have to pay on your RV is higher than the national average, but you also need to consider that Washington imposes additional taxes. Given that each municipality will add more taxes on top of the state’s standard 6.8% for motorized vehicles, you can easily end up paying upwards of 10% on taxes (or more) for your RV.
This is particularly disheartening for a lot of Washington residents - especially when you consider that neighboring states such as Oregon do not have any sales tax at all. That is why it’s quite popular for Washington locals to drive across state lines to Oregon to buy their RVs. You can avoid invasive taxes and save 8.3% to 10.4% on your RV - with the only real downside being that you need to re-register the plates in Washington.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day