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Old January 9, 2013, 01:37 PM   #1
JimDandy
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Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,443
Washington State, Use Tax, and FFL's.

As we seem to be headed towards a required FFL transfer for all sales, if not more, I have a few broad questions on how WA handles this.

Currently WA demands a use tax on all FFL's equal to the sales tax rate that would be charged on the FFL fee, firearm value, and any shipping costs.

Having read a few other posts this has raised some questions for me:

If they cannot tax a right guaranteed/enumerated/pick-your-verbiage, How is taxing the value of the firearm legal? This would obviously lead to questions of sales tax for in-state sales as well of course- and as such may probably be a non-starter though I'm curious about the actual answer.

Second, if the FFL fee is charged by the dealer, is he not acting as an agent of the government(in regards to the transfer only- not any business related sale), and thus be taxing a fee on that right? Though as I read the WA.gov website they specifically exempt the fees-
Quote:
Tax on transfer fees
Neither sales tax nor use tax apply on any fees charged by the Washington gun dealer for processing the required state and federal paperwork.

In addition, use tax does not apply to the service charge for contacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) when the charge is stated separately from the selling price of the firearm and freight and/or delivery charges, insurance, etc.
In the case of a gift, if the current owner can prove sales or use tax was already paid, it doesn't have to be paid again.

While I can see this being applied to personal property not guaranteed by a right i.e. no one has the right to own a car exactly, how does that interact in this case, where the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?

Basically what I'm getting at is this is the current state of affairs in WA. If this FFL for all transfers goes through, I suspect this could be the next issue raised in Washington State as it's not particularly popular with the people getting squeezed for the taxes, and at least to me smacks of trying to put their hand in cookie jars they don't own between interstate commerce and so forth.
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