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Starting a Business in Washington State

There are numerous reasons why Washington State is a great place to start and grow a business. For instance, the first $43,000 of any business is tax-free in the Evergreen State. It is also one of the few states where individuals are not required to pay personal income tax to the state. It should come as no surprise that some of the wealthiest men in the world such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, among others, call Washington State home. But before a business owner can start reaping these benefits, s/he will first have to make it through the process getting a business license in Washington State.

When starting a business in Washington State, business people are required to examine state, county and municipal regulations relating to their business before starting the process of obtaining a business license. Here are the key general business licensing issues to consider.

Where Does a Washington State Business Owner Apply?

The State of Washington Business Licensing Service is responsible for issuing business licenses in Washington State. As a business owner, it is quite important to look at the State of Washington Business Licensing Service online portal. This is because it is the state’s central online place -- a place that will aid businesses in getting forms, info and resources for starting a business in Washington. It is also through another part of this website that business owners will complete the online process of a state business license application. Apart from this online application platform, business people can file their application by postal mail, as well as in-person at the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Offices, which are located in various cities across the state.

General Business Licenses

In most cases, starting a business in the state of Washington will require their business to be licensed on a state and on a city or county level. Typically, the state license establishes their business accounts with multiple Washington State agencies such as Labor & Industries, Department of Revenue and Employment Security. Note that many cities and counties use the state’s Business License Application alongside City Business License Addendum to enable their business to apply for both the state and the city licenses at the same time. There are already host of participating cities. However, if their city or county of location is not incorporated as a participating city, business owners have to contact the city directly to find out if additional licenses are required.

It is also crucial to note that the state business application process will require various information including; locations, name(s) of the business owners, projected annual gross revenues, any applicable insurance coverage, for example unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, as well as employee hiring information.

Should business people be successful in their state licensing process, business owners will be issued with a Unified Business Identifier (UBI), sometimes called a tax registration number, which is basically a green light to do business in the state; however, this is just the start of the process.

For Clarity, here are the steps to be followed when applying for a business license in Washington State:

Note that the application and renewal of certain specialty licenses can be done online, by mail or in-person with the State of Washington Business Licensing Service. Other businesses that require professional licenses, such as health care providers, engineers, attorneys and many more are required to apply and renew their specialty licenses through the relevant licensing authority of that given profession.

There is little doubt that obtaining a Washington State business license is a task destined to encounter some bureaucracy. Nevertheless, it is a simple-to-understand process that would definitely be a massive step towards opening business doors in the beautiful state of Washington. Being armed with this information, together with a lot more from the State of Washington Business Licensing Service online portal would do wonders.


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