Washington State Tax Guide

Washington State tax rates and rules for income, sales, property, fuel, cigarette, and other taxes that impact residents.

Washington state flag for Washington state tax guide
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Washington is one of the nine states that don't tax income, and property taxes are close to the national average.

Washington has a relatively high sales tax rate compared to other states and a somewhat controversial capital gains tax that was recently upheld by the state's Supreme Court. Much of Washington residents' tax burden depends on the type of income they have and which city they live in.

[Data for this state tax guide was gathered from several sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the state’s government website, the Sales Tax Handbook, and the Tax Foundation. Property taxes are cited as a rate percentage rather than the assessed value.]

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Washington State Tax: Income Taxes

There is no state personal income tax in Washington. However, unlike other states with no personal income tax, Washington State has a capital gains tax.

Washington Sales Tax

Washington's state sales tax rate is 6.5%. Localities can add up to 4.1% to that, with the average combined rate at 8.86%, according to the Tax Foundation

  • Groceries are tax exempt.
  • Prescription drugs are not taxable.

How Much Are Property Taxes in Washington?

In Washington, the average effective property rate is 0.94%. 

Washington Property Tax Breaks for Retirees

Property tax exemption program: Qualified homeowners may have their property taxes reduced. Additionally, this program can prevent excess taxes if the market value increases by freezing the home's taxable value. To qualify for this program, you must meet specific requirements by the end of the assessment year.

  • Must be at least 61 years of age (at least 57 if the surviving spouse of a qualified participant)
  • Must own your home
  • Must have lived in the home for more than half the year
  • Combined disposable income must not exceed the county threshold.

Property tax deferral: Adults 60 or older who have disposable income below the county-based threshold may also qualify for the state's tax-deferral program. 

The program allows qualified homeowners to defer property taxes or special assessments on their residence. The state pays the taxes on behalf of the homeowner and files a lien to indicate that the state has an interest in the property. The deferred taxes, plus 5% interest, must be repaid to the state when the owner passes away, sells or otherwise moves from the home.

Washington Motor Vehicle (Gas) Taxes

  • Motor vehicle purchases in Washington are subject to state and local sales taxes, with an additional 0.3% tax.
  • Washington's tax on gasoline is $0.494 per gallon.

Washington Alcohol and Tobacco Taxes

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Cigarettes and little cigars$3.03 per pack
Cigars95% of sale price
Moist snuff$2.105 per ounce
Other tobacco products95% of sale price
Vapor products (closed)$0.27 per ml
Vapor products (open containers)$0.09 per ml (if over 5 ml)
Beer$0.26 per gallon
Wine$0.87 per gallon
Liquor$14.27 per gallon (plus 20.5% retail sales tax)
Marijuana37% excise tax for recreational use

Washington Estate and Inheritance Taxes

  • An estate tax is imposed by Washington on estates exceeding $2.193 million (the exemption threshold is subject to adjustment each year for inflation). 
  • Tax rates range from 10% to 20%. 
  • The state offers an additional $2.5 million deduction for family-owned businesses valued at less than $6 million.

There is no inheritance tax in Washington.

Washington Capital Gains Tax

Washington's capital gains tax is 7% on the sale or exchange of individual long term capital assets (e.g., stocks, bonds, business interests, etc.) that exceed $250,000. Only the portion of gains above the threshold is subject to the tax and some assets are exempted from the tax.

The capital gains tax was challenged in court, but the Washington Supreme Court upheld the capital gains tax in March 2023, as a valid excise tax under the state's constitution.

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Kelley R. Taylor
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

As the senior tax editor at Kiplinger.com, Kelley R. Taylor simplifies federal and state tax information, news, and developments to help empower readers. Kelley has over two decades of experience advising on and covering education, law, finance, and tax as a corporate attorney and business journalist. 

With contributions from