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Thirsty? Get ready to pay more for bottled water

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SEATTLE — When it’s this hot outside, you keep hearing that you have to stay hydrated.  But buying a bottle of water is going to cost you more now.

Starting yesterday, August 1, people across the state now have to pay sales tax on bottled water.  That hasn’t happened since 2010.

“It’s hot today so we’re about to go golfing and I thought we should bring some water,” said Seattle resident Willy.

So Willy stopped by Ken’s Market Queen Anne to pick up a few bottles of water.

“All of a sudden they put this water tax on and it’s only been a month. I don’t know what’s up with that,” said Willy.

What’s up is what went down at the state Legislature at the end of June.  Lawmakers cut out the sales tax exemption on water bottles that’s been in place since 2010.

“Sorry, you actually owe me 19 more cents -- and they’re like, what? I didn’t know about that,” said Ken’s Market Queen Anne night manager Nolan O’Connor.

”Everything is getting taxed. Everything is going up around here,” said Willy.

Q13 News saw Seattle resident Dolly Smith leaving Ken’s Market Queen Anne with a water bottle Wednesday afternoon.

“If I’m going to choose to purchase my water, then I can help to pay a little bit, too,” said Smith.  “We need to get the money raised somehow. We need to help take care of each other.  If it means paying a little extra, then that’s what we all need to do."

Paying a little bit goes a long way, according to estimates from the Washington State Department of Revenue.  The state estimates it’ll make $24.5 million in 2018, $30 million in 2019, and nearly $31 million in 2020 on water bottle sales tax alone.

“The 20 to 30 cents adds up after a while. Especially parents who have families and kids. Every water bottle is going to be taxed,” said Willy.

This tax is something O’Connor says some customers find out about at the register and he has to tell them about it.

“This is a very family-oriented store. People come here and they like to be treated fairly,” said O’Connor.

Here are the exemptions from this bottle water sales tax, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue:

SNAP (food stamp) program

Sellers do not need to collect sales tax if a buyer is purchasing bottled water under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.

 

Bottled water delivery service

There are two sales tax exemptions that could apply when bottled water is delivered:

  1. No source of potable water
    If a person does not have water safe for human consumption, they are eligible for an exemption from the sales tax.
  2. Prescription for bottled water
    Sales tax is not due on sales of bottled water when the buyer has a prescription for bottled water.