Apply For A Washington Business License

Are there separate city or county business licenses in Washington State?

Depending on the type of business activity, you may need to apply for more than one business license in the State of Washington. You may need to apply for a specialty license as well as a Washington State Master Business License. Most cities in Washington may also require a city business license. Contact your city to find out what forms may be needed. You can either do this in person or by visiting the local cities website under their Business section.

Who needs a business license in Washington State?

In Washington, you will need a business license unless you meet ALL the following exceptions:

• your business does not perform any service for which retail sales tax must be charged
• your business grosses less than $12,000 per year
• your business is not required to collect or pay any other tax which the Department of Revenue collects (use tax, public utility tax, etc.)
• your business is not required to obtain any renewable or regulated license with the Master License Service of Washington
• you do not have or plan to have employees with in the next 90 days
• you work only under your legal name and do not use a separate firm name or “doing business as” name

Who should apply for a Washington State business license and when?

Anyone should look at applying for a business license in Washington State when starting a business or when changing or updating information on a business. You need to file:

• to get a state business license or specialty license
• to change ownership
• to open or change business locations
• to register or change a trade name
• when you hire employees
• when you change unemployment or industrial insurance coverage

Are there different filings for different business entities in the State of Washington?

A business entity is the way the business activity is structured (sole proprietor, General Partnership, Corporate, etc.) If you are an entity, your business may be regulated by the Office of the Washington Secretary of State. If your business structure is a sole proprietorship or General Partnership, you may just file the Washington Master Business Application.

If your business structure will be one of the following, you must file with the Office of the Secretary of State at before filing the Washington State Master Business Application:

• Corporation
• Limited Partnership
• Limited Liability Company
• Limited Liability Partnership

If your business requires specialty licenses (i.e., vehicle dealer, liquor, etc.), you should send the Washington Master Business Application with supporting documents to Master License Service after you have formed your ownership with the Secretary of State.

If your business doesn’t require specialty licensing, you can file the Master Business Application with the Washington Secretary of State at the same time you file your papers.

What is a Washington State Master Business Application?

The Washington Master Business Application is a General Form to apply for many state licenses and permits. It is also used to apply for some city licenses. Visit to learn more.

How do I file for a Washington State Business License?

There are three ways to file with the state:

1. Online
2. By mail - Send completed forms and application and a check or money order payable to “Washington State Treasurer” to Master License Service, Department of Licensing, PO Box 9034, Olympia, WA 98507-9034.
3. In person - Visit any Business Licensing Office location.

What is needed for a Washington State business license application?

The following items may be needed.

• type of ownership (LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.)
• Business location and address
• Owners' names and addresses
• Social Security Numbers are required for Sole Proprietorship. It is also required for Partners, officers and LLC members of a business
• Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN or FEIN) for legal entities

Click the link to your city below to apply for a business license

Bellevue Bellingham Everett
Federal Way Kennewick Kent
Lakewood Renton Seattle
Shoreline Spokane Tacoma

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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