How to Get a Business License in WA
You can get a business license online or by mail by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.
Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
State of Washington Business Licensing
Washington requires most businesses to have a state business license. If you meet any of the following criteria, you need to get a Washington business license:
- You require city and state endorsements
- You are doing business using a name other than your full name legal name
- You plan to hire employees in the next 90 days
- You sell a product or provide a service that is subject to state sales tax
- Your gross income is $12,000 per year or more
- Your business is required to pay taxes or fees to the Department of Revenue
- You buy or process specialty wood products
Visit the Department of Revenue to obtain a Washington business license.
Additionally, businesses in certain professions or industries need specific endorsements or licenses. You can get many of these endorsements through the state’s Business Licensing Service. For other licenses, you can use Washington’s Business Licensing Wizard to get more information about how to apply.
Local Washington Business Licensing
In Washington, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.
Many of these cities have coordinated with the state government to use the Washington Business Licensing Service to apply for the local endorsement.
For other cities, or to get more information, contact the relevant local government office.
Steps for Obtaining a Business License in Washington
Washington Business License
You can apply for a Washington business license online or by mail. To apply online, you will need to create an account to log in to the site.
Other Washington Business Licenses
Endorsements for many different professions and cities can be added to your Washington business license through the state’s Business Licensing Service. Fees vary for the different endorsements.
Washington business licenses and endorsements obtained through the Department of Revenue and the state Business Licensing Service, which include many professional and city endorsements, must be renewed each year. This can be done through the Department of Revenue website. The renewal fee is $10.
For the renewal requirements for other state licenses, check the Department of Licensing website for contact information for the relevant state agency.
For local business license endorsements not obtained through the Business Licensing Service, contact the relevant local government office.
Federal Business Licenses and Permits
You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.
Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Mining and drilling
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics
WA Business License FAQ
What is a business license?
A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.
What are the types of business licenses?
There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.
Is there a national business license?
Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.
Is an EIN the same as a business license?
No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.
Who needs a Washington business license?
Most businesses need a Washington business license, including any business that sells taxable goods or services, any business with employees, or any business that makes more than $12,000. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses or permits.
What licenses do I need to open a business in Washington?
Most businesses at least need a Washington business license. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses or permits.
What is a seller’s permit?
A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In Washington, there is no specific seller’s permit, but it is essentially part of the state’s standard business license.
How much does a Washington business license cost?
A Washington business license costs $90, plus $10 to renew it each year. The cost of other licenses and permits varies.
How do I get a Washington business license?
You can register for a Washington business license, as well as for many state and local endorsements, through the state’s Department of Revenue website. You can also submit a Business License Application by mail or fax. The processes for obtaining other licenses or permits vary.
Do I have to renew my Washington business license?
Washington business licenses and endorsements obtained through the Department of Revenue and the state Business Licensing Service, which include many professional and city endorsements, must be renewed each year. Check with the relevant state or local government office for the renewal requirements for any other license you may have.