Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1953 NO. 6 > Apr 14 1953

The real estate sales tax applies to the assignment of a vendee's interest at an execution sale.  The tax becomes due upon the transaction becoming executed by expiration of the redemption period and issuance of the sheriff's deed.

AGO 1963 NO. 18 > Apr 17 1963

Where the rights of partners of a general partnership are only those fixed by statute rather than by agreement, the transfer of realty to the partners upon dissolution of the partnership is not subject to the real estate sales tax except in limited cases

AGO 1953 NO. 34 > May 6 1953

Recitals as to consideration contained in deed are not controlling on question whether or not Real Estate Sales Tax applies.  ("for one dollar & other valuable consideration;" "for one dollar and love and affection") Whether sale has occurred within meaning of RCW 28.45.010 is question of fact.  Seller's affidavit is much better evidence than recital of deed on this question.

AGO 1951 NO. 59 > May 29 1951

A sale of real property or an easement for a valuable consideration, even when the sale is made and the price agreed upon under the pressure of condemnation proceedings as the alternative, is subject to the real estate sales tax imposed by the model ordinance enacted by most counties, as authorized by chapter 11, Laws of 1951, Ex. Sess.

AGO 1951 NO. 77 > Jun 22 1951

An affidavit concerning a sale of real property (for the purpose of the Real Estate Sales Tax) subscribed and sworn to by the attorney to other authorized agent of a seller of real estate would not comply with a county ordinance which provides that such affidavit must be "subscribed and sworn to by the seller."

AGO 1951 NO. 88 > Jul 12 1951

The real estate sales tax is applicable to the sale by a county of tax-title lands, and is the obligation of the county, as the seller.  The tax should be deducted from the proceeds of the sale prior to the distribution of such proceeds to the various taxing districts entitled thereto.

AGO 1951 NO. 90 > Jul 23 1951

(1) The question of whether an "earnest money receipt" constitutes a contract to sell real property depends upon the nature of each particular writing.The inquiry should be directed to whether the owner of the real property has effectively bound himself by that instrument to convey the property to the prospective purchaser.(2) If an earnest money receipt amounts to such a contract, a transfer of an interest in real property subsequent to the effective date of the Real Estate Sales Tax in compliance with an agreement entered prior thereto would be exempt from such tax.(3) Where an earnest money agreement entered subsequent to the effective date of the tax constituted a contract to convey an interest in real property, the Real Estate Sales Tax would be due as a result of the entry into such agreement, a contract to convey being a taxable "sale" as defined in the ordinance.

AGO 1955 NO. 95 > Jun 8 1955

Chapter 132, Laws of 1955 excludes from the definition of
the term “sale” under RCW 28.45.010 a transaction in which a grantee
assumes the balance owing on an obligation which is secured by a
mortgage and no other consideration passes between the grantee and the

AGO 1951 NO. 98 > Jul 30 1951

1. Deeds by which tenants in common partition the land in accordance with their respective undivided interests are transactions subject to the Real Estate Sales Tax.2. Deeds by which heirs to an undivided interest in real property partition the same in accordance with such undivided interest for the purpose of having such division embodied in a decree of distribution constitute transactions subject to the Real Estate Sales Tax.

AGO 1951 NO. 99 > Aug 3 1951

Where a purchaser under a contract to purchase real property assigns his interest in said contract to another who assumes the original contractual obligation for payment of the unpaid balance, the measure of the Real Estate Sales Tax is the sum of the consideration paid or contracted to be paid to the assignee for said assignment plus the unpaid principal balance due on.