Solar energy system sales tax exemption starts today

Customers in Washington can now benefit from a sales tax exemption on the purchase and installation of qualified solar energy systems. The exemption covers all sales tax paid on the purchase and installation of solar energy systems that generate up to 100 kilowatts (kW) AC of electricity. The exemption only applies to purchases made on or after July 1.

Customers must complete and provide a Buyer’s Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate to the seller. Sellers must keep the certificate in their records for five years.

To qualify for the exemption on the installation charges, the seller must:

  • be registered with the Department of Labor and Industries as a contractor
  • possess a current state unified business identifier (UBI) number
  • possess proof of industrial insurance coverage
  • possess an Employment Security Department number
  • have no findings of violations of federal or state wage and hour laws and regulations in the past 24 months

Larger systems that generate between 101 and 500 kW AC can qualify for a 50% sales and use tax exemption beginning Jan. 1, 2020. This exemption works as a remittance: sellers will collect sales tax and submit it to the state, and customers will need to request a refund from Revenue.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.