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Home » Budget » State budgets » Gov. Inslee's proposed 2019-21 budgets » 19-21 Budget and policy highlights » Revenue changes » 9 percent capital gains tax on individuals (2019-21 proposal)

9 percent capital gains tax on individuals (2019-21 proposal)

This information relates to a capital gains tax as proposed in 2018. To see what Gov. Inslee proposed in his 2021-23 budget, see Gov. Inslee's 21-23 capital gains tax proposal Q&A.


This proposal would tax individuals for the sale or exchange of capital assets they have held for more than one year, unless an exemption applies. Capital assets are personal property you own for investment or personal reasons and do not usually sell in the course of business. 

The tax would equal 9 percent of your Washington capital gains.

You would be required to pay capital gains tax if your taxable capital gains exceed:

  • $25,000 or
  • $50,000 for individuals filing joint returns

The capital gains tax does not apply to:

  • residential real estate sales
  • retirement accounts
  • assets the government seizes under eminent domain, or assets you sell or exchange under threat of eminent domain
  • cattle, horses, or breeding livestock you (the farmer) hold for more than 12 months, and more than 50 percent of your gross income is from farming or ranching for the year of the sale or exchange
  • agricultural land if you (the owner) has regular, continuous, and substantial involvement  in the agricultural operation by meeting the criteria under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 469(h) for the 10 years prior to the date of the sale or exchange
  • tangible personal property you use in a business that qualifies for an income tax deduction (IRC sections 167 or 179)
  • timber, timberland, or dividends or distributions from real estate investment trusts derived from gains from the sale or exchange of timber.

If you pay capital gains tax to another jurisdiction on a taxable sale/exchange of a capital asset located in the other jurisdiction, you may take a credit on your Washington return up to the amount of tax you already paid.

You can take a business and occupation (B&O) tax deduction for your capital gains, so you don’t pay the taxes twice.

You must report and pay capital gains tax at the same time you file your federal income tax return. If you receive a filing extension for your federal taxes, you will also receive a filing extension for your state capital gains tax. However, you must still pay the tax due on your original filing date.

This proposal is effective January 1, 2020.

Current law

No capital gains tax currently exists in Washington at the state or local level.

Revenue impact

This proposal impacts approximately 42,000 taxpayers and will impact the state general fund in the following ways:


FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

Capital Gains Tax





B&O Tax





Fiscal Year Total





Last updated
Monday, March 15, 2021
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