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Bottled Water Taxed Starting June 1, 2010

June 15, 2010

Olympia - The Washington Legislature passed a law this spring that temporarily extends the sales tax to retail sales of bottled water, while providing limited exemptions.Purchases of bottled water are subject to sales or use tax beginning June 1, 2010, through July 1, 2013.

The new law provides two exemptions for purchases of bottled water. Buyers claiming
an exemption are responsible for keeping records that verify their eligibility for the

1. No source of potable water

Retail sales and use taxes do not apply to sales of bottled water for human use to
people who do not have a readily available source of safe-to-drink water.

2. Water dispensed to patients pursuant to a prescription

Retail sales and use taxes do not apply to sales of bottled water for human use
if you have a prescription for bottled water as part of the treatment or prevention of disease or a medical condition.

Anyone who sells bottled water, such as a grocery store, must collect sales tax regardless of whether one of the above exemptions applies. The buyer is the one responsible for requesting a refund for the tax paid from the Washington State Department of Revenue, when the amount of sales tax paid for exempt bottled water is at least $25. The buyer must provide copies of receipts to the Department to verify the amount of sales tax paid for bottled water.

A buyer may accumulate receipts for multiple purchases of exempt bottled water to meet the $25 threshold for a refund. However, the buyer must request the refund within four years of the end of the year in which the tax was paid to the seller for the initial purchase of exempt bottled water.

A form and instructions for requesting a refund is available on the Department of Revenue's website (

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