Does a beekeeper need to pay sales tax when buying packaged bees? Is a seller of packaged bees required to charge it? As with most things in beekeeping – the answer is: It depends!
If you are buying bee packages –you should determine if you are an “eligible apiarist” for the sales tax exemption, as defined by the state of Washington.
Per RCW 82.04.629(3)(b) “Eligible apiarist” means a person who owns or keeps one or more bee colonies and who grows, raises, or produces honey bee products for sale at wholesale and is registered under RCW 15.60.021. If you meet all of these requirements then you are eligible to not pay sales tax and should fill out the exemption certificate and submit to the seller of the bee packages. However, hobbyist beekeepers likely do not meet the qualifications for being exempt from sales tax on the purchase of honey bee packages.
Our Treasurer, Bruce Becker, provided this document from the Washington State Department of Revenue which outlines all of the above – it is the “official” guidance from the state. We suggest you read it for yourself to confirm if you are eligible for the sales tax exemption when purchasing honey bee packages.