Washington State Excise Taxes 2016 - Fuel, Cigarette, and Alcohol Taxes
37.50¢ per gallon
$3.03 per pack
$35.22 per gal
87¢ per gal
26¢ per gal
- What are Washington's Excise Taxes?
- Washington General Excise Taxes
- Washington Alcohol Taxes
What is an Excise Tax?
An excise tax is a tax directly levied on certain goods by a state or federal government. The most prominent excise taxes collected by the Washington state government are the fuel tax on gasoline and the so-called "sin tax" collected on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
An excise tax is not the same thing as the Washington Sales Tax.The Washington Sales Tax is collected as a percentage of the final purchase price of all qualifying sales, and is collected directly from the end consumer of the product.
Washington's excise taxes, on the other hand, are flat per-unit taxes that must be paid directly to the Washington government by the merchant before the goods can be sold. Merchants may be required to attach tax stamps to taxable merchandise to show that the excise tax was paid.
Even though excise taxes are collected from businesses, virtually all Washington merchants pass on the excise tax to the customer through higher prices for the taxed goods.
Washington per capita excise tax
Washington collects an average of $628 in yearly excise taxes per capita, one of the highest average per capita excise taxes in the country.
Washington General Excise Taxes - Gasoline, Cigarettes, and More
Washington collects general excise taxes on the sale of motor fuel (gasoline and diesel), cigarettes (per pack), and cell phone service plans. Other general taxes, similar to excise taxes, may be collected on other items including firearms, vehicle sales, tanning salons, transportation tickets, gas guzzlers, and more.
Washington Gas Tax7th highest gas tax
The Washington excise tax on gasoline is 37.50¢ per gallon, one of the highest gas taxes in the country. Washington's excise tax on gasoline is ranked #7 out of the 50 states. The Washington gas tax is included in the pump price at all gas stations in Washington.
Washington Cigarette Tax6th highest cigarette tax
The Washington excise tax on cigarettes is $3.03 per 20 cigarettes, one of the highest cigarettes taxes in the country. Washington's excise tax on cigarettes is ranked #6 out of the 50 states. The Washington cigarette tax of $3.03 is applied to every 20 cigarettes sold (the size of an average pack of cigarettes). If a pack contains more then 20 cigarettes, a higher excise tax will be collected.
Washington Cellphone Tax2nd highest cellphone tax
The average tax collected on cell phone plans in Washington is $17.95 per phone service plan, one of the highest cellphone taxes in the country. Washington's average cellphone tax is ranked #2 out of the 50 states. The Washington cellphone tax is already included in the service plan price you pay to your service provider, and may be listed as "Misc. taxes and Fees" or "Other" on your monthly bill.
Washington Car Tax
Washington collects a registration fee and a title fee on the sale or transfer of cars and motorcycles, which are essentially renamed excise taxes. Unlike standard excise taxes, however, the end consumer must pay the tax directly to the Washington Department of Transportation and receive documentation (registration and title papers) proving the fees were paid.
Washington Alcohol Excise Taxes - Liquor, Wine, and Beer
Washington collects special excise taxes on the sale of all types of alcohol, subdivided into specific taxes on wine, beer, and liquor (hard alcohol other then wine and beer). Alcohol taxes are sometimes collectively referred to as "sin taxes", which also include excise taxes on cigarettes, gambling, drugs, and certain other items.
Please note that the IRS also collects a federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, which are included separately from Washington's alcohol taxes in the final purchase price.
Washington Beer Tax24th highest beer tax
The Washington excise tax on beer is $0.26 per gallon, higher then 52% of the other 50 states. Washington's beer excise tax is ranked #24 out of the 50 states. The Washington beer tax is already added to the purchase price of all beer bought in Washington, whether in kegs, bottles, or cans.
Washington Wine Tax25th highest wine tax
The Washington excise tax on Wine is $0.87 per gallon, higher then 50% of the other 50 states. Washington's excise tax on wine is ranked #25 out of the 50 states. The Washington wine tax is already added to the purchase price of all wine bought in Washington.
Washington Liquor Tax1st highest liquor tax
The Washington excise tax on liquor is $35.22 per gallon, one of the highest liquor taxes in the country. Washington's excise tax on Spirits is ranked #1 out of the 50 states. All liquor stores in Washinton are state-owned, so excise taxes for hard alcohol sales are set by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and not by the state. In Washington, taxes include an alcohol-specific sales tax and retail (17%) and distributor (10%) license fees, converted to a per-gallon rate. The Washington liquor tax applies to all hard alcohol (alchoholic beverages other then beer and wine), and is already included in the purchase price by the retailer.
Washington Excise Tax Deductions & Refunds
Can I deduct my Washington Excise taxes?
Unlike the Washington Sales Tax, excise taxes are not generally deductible on Washington income tax returns or on your federal tax return. However, the IRS occasionally allows certain excise taxes to be deducted for certain tax years.
- Vehicle Tax Deduction
- Washington sales and excise taxes on cars or vehicles bought during 2009 may be deducted once from your federal tax return. You cannot deduct excise taxes for vehicles bought during other years.
- Phone Tax Deduction
- You may deduct excise taxes paid on long-distance phone calls between the years of 2003 and 2006 from your federal tax return.
Can I get a Washington Excise Tax Refund?
While sales tax refunds are available for goods that are purchased in Washington and exported, Washington excise taxes paid on goods are generally non-refundable. Incentives may exist allowing certain state of federal excise taxes to be refunded on goods bought for specific uses, but such incentives change frequently.
Washington Excise Tax - References
- Tax Foundation, State Excise Tax Collections Per Capita, Updated 2009
- Tax Foundation, Gasoline Excise Taxes, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Cigarette Excise Taxes, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Liquor Excise Taxes, Updated 2011
- Tax Foundation, Beer Excise Tax Rates, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Average Wine Taxes, Updated 2011
- Tax Foundation, Average Cell Phone Taxes, Updated 2010