Washington State Tax Guide

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

Bottom Line

Middle-Class Families: Most Tax-Friendly (Go to the Kiplinger Tax Map for Middle-Class Families)

Retirees: Tax-Friendly (Go to the Kiplinger Tax Map for Retirees)

The Evergreen State is one of nine states with no personal income tax. However, sales taxes in Washington are extremely high. At 9.29%, the state's combined state and local sales tax rate is the 4th-highest in the nation.

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Property taxes in Washington are more reasonable, though. In fact, the median property tax rate is close to the national average.

Washington is also one of a handful of states with an estate tax.

Washington Income Taxes

Washington has no state income tax. However, beginning in 2022, the state will impose a 7% tax on the sale or exchange of certain long-term capital assets if the profits exceed $250,000 annually. (Note: The constitutionality of the Washington capital gains tax is being challenged in the courts. A lower court has ruled the tax is unconstitutional, but the Washington Supreme Court has put the lower-court ruling on hold until it can address the matter.)

Washington Sales Tax

6.5% state levy. Municipalities can add up to 4% to that, with the average combined rate at 9.29%, according to the Tax Foundation.

  • Groceries: Exempt
  • Clothing: Taxable
  • Motor Vehicles: Taxable (6.5% ordinary rate, plus additional 0.3% tax)
  • Prescription Drugs: Exempt

Washington Real Property Taxes

In Washington, the median property tax rate is $836 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Washington Property Tax Breaks for Retirees

A property tax exemption program is available for people who are 61 or older by the year before the tax is due. The homeowners must have a combined disposable income below the county set limit (county limits range from $40,000 to $58,423). The amount of the property tax reduction is based on the applicant's income, value of the residence, and local levy rates.

Seniors 60 or older who have disposable income below the county-based threshold may also qualify for the state's tax-deferral program (the thresholds range from $45,000 to $67,411). The program allows qualified seniors 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 moves from the home.

Washington Motor Fuel Taxes

Gasoline: 49.4¢ per gallon.

Diesel: 49.4¢ per gallon.

Washington Sin Taxes

Cigarettes and little cigars: $3.03 per pack

Cigars: 95% of sale price, with a cap of $0.75 per cigar

Moist snuff: $2.53 per 1.2-ounce container

Other tobacco products: 95% of sale price

Vapor products: Closed products, $0.27 per ml; open containers greater than 5 ml, $0.09 per ml

Beer: $0.26 per gallon

Wine: $0.87 per gallon

Liquor: $14.27 per gallon, plus 20.5% "Spirits Sales Tax"

Marijuana: 37% excise tax

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.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023. He has more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.