Starting a Business in Seattle

Business Licensing

Seattle Electronic Filing System (SELF)

Every individual, partnership, firm or corporation that is located in the Seattle City limits and companies that engage in business in the Seattle City limits, are required to have a Seattle Business License. You can apply for a new license, file taxes, renew your license, and update your account online.

Business Resources

For Small Businesses

Navigate the licenses, taxes, and permits required to start a business in Seattle and find local resources to help you get your business off the ground.

Guide to Starting a Business in Seattle

This Office of Economic Development Guide helps potential business owners' access local resources and support.

Business License Tax

File and pay your taxes online or by phone.

Permits - Planning and Development

If you are moving your business into a new space or expanding in your current location, you will likely need a permit for the construction work and/or to establish the use. Find out about the process on the Department of Planning and Development website.

City of Seattle

City of Seattle General Information 206-684-2489
Seattle Public Utilities
  • Permit to connect to a street meter from a residential property
Seattle Public Utilities Resource Venture
  • Free resources to businesses to reduce waste, save water and conserve resources.
  • Foam Ban effective January 1, 2009: banned the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS, sometimes called “Styrofoam”) food service containers and cups in all food service businesses.
  • Food Packaging ordinance effective July 1, 2010: requires all food service businesses to use recyclable or compostable packaging; provide customer area collection bins; and obtain collection service for recyclables and compostables.
  • Plastic Bag Ban effective July 1, 2012: prohibits all Seattle retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags.

Seattle Municipal Tower.700 5th Ave (20th flr)

  • Electrical Permit
  • Check zoning & bldg occupancy requirements using the exact business address of the property obtaining. A Business License does not guarantee that your location is properly zoned.
Boiler License – DPD
Seattle Municipal Tower - #2000 (20th flr)

Street Use Division
Seattle Municipal Tower 700 5th Ave (23rd flr)

  • A Street Use Permit is required for selling food, non-alcoholic beverages, & flowers from a cart/stand on City property. No other products are allowed.
Contracting Services/Purchasing/Bids
Seattle Municipal Tower 700 5th Ave- Suite 4112

Transportation Division
Seattle Municipal Tower 700 5th Ave (37th flr)

  • Residential & Commercial Load Zone Permits
Parade Permits- SPD 206-684-4116

City Clerk
City Hall, 600 4th Ave (3rd flr)

  • Ordinances, etc

Seattle/King Co Health Department
401 5th Ave Suite 1300

  • Food Workers’ Permits, Information & Locations
  • Pet Shops/ Dog Daycare Permits
Seattle Police Dept
Justice Center 610 5th Ave

Fire Marshall’s Office
220 3rd Ave S

  • Occupancy Permits for businesses, fire & safety permits for events etc.

King County

KC Information
King County Administrative Bldg
500 4th Ave Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 296-0100
KC Assessor (Real Estate) (206) 296-7300
KC Business Licensing (206) 296-0100
KC Taxi Drivers Licensing (206) 296-2710
Property Assessment (206) 296-3914
Vehicle Licensing (206) 296-4000

Washington State

State Department of Revenue
2101 4th Ave #1400, Seattle, WA 98121
4th & Blanchard, 8am-5pm
  • State Master Business License includes - UBI / State Tax I.D. / Wholesale.
  • Call to determine if you are required to register with the State Dept of Revenue and receive information on the State Business Occupation Tax, Retail Sales Tax, & the Use Tax.
State Information Line 800-321-2808

Secretary of State

  • Incorporation

State Department of Licensing

Other Cities' & Counties' Licensing Requirements  
Child Care Licensing-DSHS
P.O. Box 45480 Olympia WA

Department of Labor & Industries/WA State Master License
315 5th Ave. S Suite 200

  • Industrial Insurance Division - If you hire employees, contact this agency regarding Worker's Compensation.
  • This agency registers contractors.

Employment Security Department

  • If you hire employees, you must register with this agency.
Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises 360-753-9693
State Liquor Control Board, Olympia 360-664-1600
Washington State Attorney General's Office 206-464-6684


Internal Revenue Service
915 2nd Ave #456
Internal Revenue Service
Business & Specialty tax line
Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms 360-664-6616
Federal Firearms Dealer License 360-664-1400
Small Business Administration
2401 4th Ave Suite 450
US Customs Import/Export 877-227-5511

Other Resources

Seattle Chamber of Commerce
1301 5th Ave Suite 2400, Seattle, WA 98101
Better Business Bureau 206-431-2222