Sales tax exemption for tribal hunting, fishing, gathering

Sep 22, 2022
Written by WR Communications

The state of Washington Department of Revenue is working with all retailers, including brick-and-mortar and online, to ensure they are aware of the current sales tax exemption for tribal hunting, fishing, and gathering.

If a member of one of the 32 federally recognized tribes makes a purchase that would normally be taxed for hunting, fishing, or gathering, a retailer should not charge them sales tax.

What retailers need to know:

  • The tribal member making the purchase should provide some proof of membership, which can vary widely from tribe to tribe as each tribe is a sovereign nation.
  • A list of items that should be exempt has been compiled with the help of the tribes. This is not an all-inclusive list. The list will be regularly updated as other items are identified.
  • Retailers are encouraged to err on the side of the tribal member’s declaration that it is for one of the designated purposes. “Hold harmless” language is included in the rules to protect merchants who may inadvertently sell an item that should have been taxed.
  • Retailers are required to retain records of tribal sales for five years.
  • A form developed by the Department of Revenue for retailers to use when making a tribal transaction can be downloaded here. The form can be designated as a one-time purchase or an ongoing relationship, similar to a resale certificate.
  • Retailers are asked not to photocopy or record numbers and details of tribal members’ identifications. Instead, they should make a record that the identification was checked.

For more information:

Watch a helpful short video from the Department of Revenue that helps explain the exemption.