Retail Establishments – Plastic Bag Ban

Please be aware that as of October 1, retail establishments in Washington State are no longer permitted to provide thin, plastic, carryout bags to customers.  Instead, thick plastic or paper bags that meet certain standards may be provided for a fee of $0.08 per bag.  The intended purpose of the new restriction is to encourage customers to BYOB (“bring your own bag”).

The following is the responsibility of the Retailer:

The collection of the $0.08 fee is mandatory whenever a standards-compliant bag is provided to a customer.  The business must include the bag fee in income and collect sales tax.  The income is classifiable under “Retailing” for B&O tax purposes and under “Retail Sales Tax” for sales tax purposes.  The bag charge must be separately-stated on the receipt.  However, the business is prohibited from collecting the bag charge from anyone using a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under the WIC, TANF, SNAP, or FAP programs.

According to the Department of Revenue, a retail establishment means any person, corporation, partnership, business, facility, vendor, organization, or individual that sells or provides, food, merchandise, goods, or materials directly to a customer including home delivery, temporary stores, or vendors at farmers markets, street fairs, and festivals.  Food banks and other food assistance programs, however, are not considered retail establishments.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Specialized tax, accounting and business services firm.


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