Liquor and Gambling: Licenses, Permits and IRS Requirements - Oh, My!

Serving beer, auctioning wine and selling raffle tickets can be fun and relatively easy ways to raise money for Seattle Children's. However, fundraising activities involving liquor and gambling need to follow state (and sometimes federal) guidelines.

The charts below indicate what your guild needs to know about IRS, Washington State Liquor Control Board and Washington State Gambling Commission regulations - and where to go for more information. Remember: if you serve alcohol at your event, you likely need a special occasion license. Be sure to apply at least 45 days before your event.

Liquor: Washington State Liquor Control Board rules

If your guild... Washington State Liquor Control Board rules say... and your guild needs a...
Sells tickets to its event and serves alcoholSelling event tickets makes the guild a "retailer" of alcohol - no matter where the event is held (e.g., in a hotel, restaurant or private home)Special occasion license, available for $60 - one license for each day and location of your event
Auctions alcohol at its eventAuctioning alcohol - even for off-site consumption - is selling alcohol, and again makes the guild a "retailer"Special occasion license, as described above. Note: one license covers both the serving and selling of alcohol.
Hosts a free, not advertised, by-invitation-only event and serves purchased (not donated) alcohol at no cost to guestsThe guild is not selling alcohol and thus is not a "retailer"Banquet permit, available for $10

Gambling: Washington State Gambling Commission and IRS Rules

If your guild... Remember that... For more information...
Wants to hold a raffleThe Guild Association does not maintain a raffle license, so guilds need to comply with Washington State Gambling Commission rules for unlicensed rafflesReview the Guild Association Resource Guide
Wants to hold a raffle for a prize valued at least $600 but less than $5,000A signed IRS Form W-9 is required from the prizewinnerObtain an IRS Form W-9 template and contact the Guild Association with any questions
Wants to hold a raffle for a prize valued at $5,000 or moreFor prizes (cash or non-cash) valued at $5,000 or more, the winner is liable for income tax and required to pay a portion of the value of the prize to the Guild Association, which forwards it to the IRSContact the Guild Association by email or at 206-987-2153 prior to undertaking a raffle with a prize valued at $5,000 or more
Is planning a function involving any form of gambling (other than a raffle), such as a card game or bingoSome forms of gambling require permits that can take up to three months to processTo get started, contact the Guild Association at least three months prior to the date of your event