Appliances for apartments in Washington not considered real property.

A Washington company, when acquiring an apartment complex, also purchased several different appliances contained in the apartments and paid use tax on them since they were reported as tangible personal property. However, the company later decided to request a refund for the use tax paid as they believed the items should have been considered real property. Upon review, the trial court found the refrigerators, washer and dryers, dishwashers, and stoves were all easily and readily removable with minimal effort. Some appliances were removed each time an apartment was vacated. The Common Law Fixture Test was applied to determine if the appliances were truly real property. It is a fixture if: “(1) it is actually annexed to the realty; (2) its use or purpose is applied to or integrated with the use of the realty it is attached to; (3)the annexing party intended a permanent addition to the freehold.” Even though the apartment owner argued that this test was misapplied to this particular situation, the court found the appliances to be personal property and the ruling was that no refund would be granted. (Glenn Park Associates, LLC v. Department of Revenue, Washington Court of Appeals, Division II, No. 29879-2-11 (unpublished opinion ), November 12, 2003)

Posted on December 15, 2003