Questions and Answers
Car Washing and Waxing
Kansas Retailers' Sales Tax
Items Consumed in Car Washing and Waxing
Note: this is an update of an original Q & A dated 7/1/1970.
Subject: Application of sales tax to car washes and to car washing and waxing services.
1. Are car washes, car washing services, and car washing and waxing services subject to sales tax?
Answer: Yes. Kansas taxes the gross receipts from car waxing and from
all types of car washes. This includes all manual and automatic coin operated car washes, and those where employees wash or wax the vehicle. Two imposition sections may apply. K.S.A. 79-3603(j) taxes the services of washing, and the services of washing and waxing vehicles. K.S.A. 79-3603(f) taxes the receipts from coin-operated devices that dispense or provide property or a service. Subsection (f) taxes the receipts from the car wash itself and from other coin-operated machines at a car wash, such as vacuum cleaners, air compressors used for tires, and vending machines. Local sales tax is due based on the location of the car wash facilities.
2. Are the purchases soap, water, wax, and utilities by a car wash exempt from sales tax?
Answer: Electricity purchased to operate the equipment used to wash or wax vehicles may be purchased exempt from sales tax. So may natural gas that is used to heat water used in the car wash. Electricity and gas used to heat or light the premises are taxable. When both taxable and exempt electricity or gas is provided through a single meter, the car wash owner or operator should complete an ST-28B exemption certificate and submit it to their utility provider. Soap, water, and wax consumed by car washing and waxing operators in their business also may be purchased exempt from tax. To document these exempt purchases, the operator should complete a Consumed in Production Exemption Certificate, ST-28C, and furnish it to their vendor. This certificate should be provided to utility providers when only exempt utilities are provided though one utility meter.
3. Is salt used to regenerate water softeners that are used in conjunction with washing vehicles exempt from sales tax?
Answer: The purchase of salt used in this capacity is exempt from the sales tax as a consumable. Again, the business should complete a Consumed in Production Exemption Certificate, ST-28C, and furnish it to its vendor.
4. (A) Is the washing and waxing of a motor vehicle for a retail automobile dealer taxable, where the vehicle is held for resale by the dealer?
Answer: No. Charges for washing and waxing a vehicle that is held for resale by a automobile dealer are not taxable since the vehicle is held for resale. The automobile dealer is required to furnish the car wash business with a completed Resale Exemption Certificate, form ST-28A.
(B) Does the sales tax apply when the service is being provided for automobile dealers who subcontract the washing and waxing of a car for a customer of the automobile dealer?
Answer: When an automobile dealer washes or waxes a customer's vehicle, and the automobile dealer subcontracts the work out to a car washing and waxing service, the automobile dealer should bill the customer for the service and charge sales tax on it. The automobile dealer would furnish a completed Resale Exemption Certificate, Form ST-28A, to the car washing and waxing service.
5. Are cars washed for the State of Kansas and political subdivisions of the State of Kansas subject to sales tax?
Answer: When officers, agents, or employees of the State of Kansas or its political subdivisions pay for a taxable service to be done on a vehicle owned by the state or one of its political subdivisions with personal funds, sales tax applies. It is only when the State of Kansas or the political subdivision is directly billed and pays for this service that the exemption will apply. The State agency or other exempt entity would provide the appropriate exemption certificate, Form ST-28K.
6. What is a vehicle for purposes of this law?
Answer: A "vehicle" is defined as every devise in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway. The washing and waxing of all types of vehicles is subject to sales tax. As discussed under question number 8, charges for washing trucks and trailers owned by an interstate common carriers are fully taxable.
7. Is the purchase of any car washing equipment for an existing car wash exempt from sales tax?
Answer: No. Purchases of materials and equipment used in the operation of a car wash are taxable. This includes purchases of car wash equipment, repair tools, vending machines, brooms, water heaters, lighting equipment, lights, and so forth. Services to repair the car wash equipment, and the buildings, paving, and other structures that make up the car wash, are also taxable.
8. Are washing and waxing services for ICC rolling stock exempt?
Answer: No, these charges are fully taxable. Charges for labor services to repair, replace, service, or maintain an ICC carrier's rolling stock are subject to sales tax. Only tangible personal property, such as repair and replacement parts, may be purchased by an ICC carrier exempt from sales tax.
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