Washington Subjects Computer Storage Space to B&O Tax

The Washington Department of Revenue determined that a taxpayer providing customers space in a secure facility in which to store computer equipment and pair it with internet access services is subject to the state’s Business & Occupation (B&O) tax. The B&O tax is imposed on every person engaging in any business activity in the state. While there is an exemption for the sale or rental of real estate, a license to use real property is taxable under service B&O. A distinguishing factor of license to use is the right to use the real property owned by another party does not “confer exclusive control or dominion” over it. If a taxpayer grants its customers exclusive possession and control over their property, they qualify for a B&O tax exemption. This taxpayer kept control over the property and was only granting licenses to use the real estate, not to lease it, and therefore its gross income for these agreements was subject to B&O tax. (Washington Department of Revenue, Det. No. 20-0041, 41 WTD 37, February 4, 2022)

Posted on February 28, 2022