Sales and Use Tax Exemption on Clean Alternative Fuel & Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles Effective August 1, 2019

Starting on August 1, 2019, new sales tax rules include a sales and use tax exemption on retail sales and lease of certain new and used passenger cars and light and medium duty trucks. To be eligible for this exemption, the vehicle must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Exclusively powered by a clean alternative fuel; or
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicle that can travel at least 30 miles on battery power alone.

For used vehicles that meet the criteria, the vehicle must also have a sales or lease price of up to $30,000. The exempted sales tax amount is the total sales price or $16,000, whichever is less.

The Department of Licensing provides a list of eligible vehicles on their website. The list can be found here: Vehicle Models Eligible for the Washington State Tax Exemptions.

This exemption is set to expire on July 31, 2025 unless the Legislature extends it.

For more information please contact the Department of Revenue's Tax Assistance at (360) 705-6705 or view the Department of Revenue's Special Notice.

Dealers May Experience Title Transfer Issues When License Status Is On Hold

Earlier in the year, the Department of Licensing had been experiencing issues with their titling system that restricted Dealers from being able to process title transfers with their local DOL agency while their motor vehicle dealer license status was on hold. This issue should now be corrected, but if you experience any issues with transferring titles due to your license being on hold while your renewal is being process, call DOL's Dealer Services at (360) 664-6466 ext. 7.

Titling and Registration Fee Change Effective April 1, 2019

SB 6438 was signed into law in March of 2018. This bill allows county auditors and DOL subagents to charge a service fee when a title transaction and registration transaction are completed at the same time. Starting with vehicle sale dates of April 1, 2019 and later, the charge will be $12.00 for the title transaction and $5.00 for vehicle registration.

This service fee is in addition to any other taxes and fees due at the time of application for a title or registration transaction.

If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact your local licensing office.

WA State Minimum Wage Increases to $12 Per Hour Effective January 1, 2019

When Initiative 1433 passed in the fall of 2016, it set a schedule for Washington’s minimum wage over a four-year period. Starting January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour. In 2020, the minimum wage will climb to $13.50. After that, L&I will calculate the minimum wage by using a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

The cities of Sea-Tac, Seattle, and Tacoma have their own minimum wage rates. Information for the minimum wage in those cities can be found here:

Repeal of the Baseball Stadium License Plate Effective January 1, 2019

Substitute Senate Bill 5746 repeals the baseball stadium license plate as of January 1, 2019. The DOL will not issue any more baseball stadium license plates after January 1 and customers cannot renew these plates after that date. All owners of Stadium plates must pay for a standard plate or new special plate upon renewal after January 1, 2019.

DRIVES will only allow a transfer of the baseball stadium license plate to a vehicle sold by a dealership if the date of sale is before January 1, 2019.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact your local vehicle licensing office.

Customer's Legal Name As It Appears On Their Driver's License Record Now Required On Title Applications Starting September 4, 2018

Starting on September 4, 2018 the Department of Licensing will require you to list the customer's legal name, as it appears on their driver's license, on all title applications. If the title application lists a different name than what is on their driver's license record, the DOL will request a name change document prior to issuing the title or they may reject the transaction.

Fill out the customer's name on the title application exactly as it appears on their driver's license; the DOL will reject all nick names on title applications, such as Joe when the driver's license lists Joseph.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact your local vehicle licensing office.

Motor Vehicle Wholesaler License Amended to Grandfather in Dealers Who've Held This Endorsement for the Previous 6 Years

The 2017 legislative law that phased out the Wholesale Vehicle Dealer license over a 2 year period has been amended.

This amendment allows the Department of Licensing to renew a Wholesale Vehicle Dealer license of a dealer who has held this endorsement continuously for at least the previous six years and who otherwise meet all of the requirements for this type of license.

Required Fields on the Vehicle Title Applications

Vehicle Title Applications created through the E-permit system may be missing some entered data when the E-permit is printed. This has led to confusion regarding what fields must be completed prior to submitting for transfer and when a Certificate of Fact explaining alterations is required.

Please take a look at this Vehicle Title Application .pdf File. This example explains which fields are required to be completed on the application and when a Certificate of Fact will be necessary to explain any alterations when you submit the application for transfer.

If you have additional questions regarding this, please contact your local vehicle licensing office for assistance.

Changes Coming to Driver License Numbers Starting With Licenses Issued After September 4, 2018

The new change in driver license numbers will be starting later this year with all cards that are issued after September 4, 2018. The new number will be randomly generated and will no longer include a portion of the person's name and date of birth. However, all cards will start with the letters WDL as the first three characters.

This new changes effects standard and enhanced licenses, as well as identification cards and commercial driver licenses.

For more information about this new change, read Driver License Number Changes Fact Sheet. .pdf File

Requirements for Altered Title Applications After The Customer Has Signed The Form – Effective April 1, 2018

Alterations made to dealer title applications are increasing the number of title applications rejected by the Department of Licensing in Olympia. The DOL is clarifying what is acceptable and what is required in the event of an alteration.


DOL considers a typed dealer title application altered when it contains handwritten or stamped (non-signature) vital or important information.

Here are three examples:

  • Crossing out a lienholder and adding a different lienholder
  • Handwriting or stamping a lienholder on a typed and printed application
  • Handwriting a Lessee or Lessor on a typed and printed application

The following is critical for you to know because it can affect your customer.

If alterations are made to a title application, the dealer must complete a Certificate of Fact (COF) that includes the vehicle or vessel information, an explanation of the alteration, and a signature. If a COF is not included with the title application, DOL will not release the title.

Start Date

Dealers must attach a COF to all altered title applications by April 1, 2018. Vehicle licensing offices will not process these transactions without a COF and DOL will reject title applications from dealers that do not meet this requirement.

Please contact your local vehicle licensing office for additional details or questions.

All WA State Employers Are Required to Provide Paid Sick Leave – Effective January 1, 2018

On November 8, 2016, Washington voters passed Initiative 1433. The Initiative's intent was to establish fair labor standards and protect the rights of workers by increasing the minimum wage and to balance the needs of the workplace and families by promoting public health, family stability, and economic security. You should already be complying with the minimum wage increase that went into effect early this year, but starting on January 1, 2018 all employers are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Are you ready?

1433 allows for the use of paid sick leave as follows:

  • Employees may use paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave when the employee's work or the employee's child's school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave for absences that qualify for leave under the state's Domestic Violence Leave Act.

However, employers are not prevented from allowing employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

At a minimum, each employee shall accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The accrued paid sick leave must be made available for use by the employee beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of employment. Any unused paid sick leave equaling 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.

These minimum standards must be met, but employers can also provide more generous accrual and carry over policies that best fit within their business.