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PDFWAC 458-12-115

Personalty—Taxable situs—In general.

Personal property except where required by statute to be listed elsewhere shall be listed and assessed in the county where situated as of 12 noon on January 1st of each year. (RCW 84.44.010)
For the purposes of determining the situs of goods in transit the following guidelines shall be observed:
(1) Goods in interstate transit - Goods in transit to this state from another are assessable only if on the assessment date they have come to rest within this state. The fact that such goods may be still in their original package as of the assessment date is immaterial. (American Steel & Wire Company v. Speed, 192 U.S. 500 (1903); AGO 5-2-1942; TCR 2-25-1936) Goods which are in-transit either from or through the state with the ultimate destination point elsewhere shall not be subject to local property taxation. However, if during the course of such transit any nonexempt goods (see RCW 84.36.140 through 84.36.191) shall be stored in any county of this state for other than natural causes or lack of facilities for immediate transportation then such goods shall become subject to local taxation. (Kelley v. Rhoads, 188 U.S. 1 (1902))
(2) Exports and imports - Goods from foreign countries are imports in the strict sense and generally become taxable within the following situations:
(a) Such goods are sold by the importer;
(b) The physical container except intermodal containers (i.e., vanpacs or similar equipment) constructed and utilized solely to transport a quantity of goods in separate original packages in a single container and intended to be reuseable in which they arrived is broken; (Brown v. Maryland, 25 U.S. 266 (1827); Waring v. The Mayor of Mobile, 75 U.S. 110 (1868))
(c) The merchandise is commingled with the mass of properties in the state; (May v. New Orleans, 178 U.S. 496 (1890))
(d) The goods have been committed to the purpose or use for which they were imported. (Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Bowers, 358 U.S. 534 (1958))
Goods which are to be exported are assessable until they enter into the stream of exportation. (Eardley Fisheries Co. v. Seattle, 50 Wn.2d 566)
(3) Intrastate transit - Goods in transit from one point in this state to another on the assessment date are assessable at their destination. (State Trust Company v. Chehalis County, 79 U.S. 282 (1897); AGO 1929-30, p. 179; TCR 2-25-1937; AGO 1933-34, p. 97)
"In-transit" shall mean that the goods are either in the hands of the carrier without being subject to further control by the owner or that the goods are physically moving as of the assessment date. (TCR 2-16-1938; 2-7-1939) If during the course of the transit the goods shall happen to be delayed for other than natural causes or lack of immediate transportation facilities then such goods shall be subject to assessment at the location of their actual situs. This shall be so notwithstanding the fact that such situs may not be the destination point nor the domicile of the owner. However, if the goods are only temporarily delayed for the excusable reasons, then they are assessable at the destination point. (AGO 1929-30, p. 192; TCR 6-13-1940)
Goods arriving at destination point before the assessment date shall be assessed and taxed at that point regardless of whether or not possession or the right of possession has passed to the person, firms or corporations accepting such goods. (AGO 1929-30, p. 179; AGO 1913-14, p. 61.)
[Order PT 68-6, § 458-12-115, filed 4/29/68.]
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