Tax Rates and Classifications

When you file a business license tax return, enter the gross revenue amount under each appropriate classification. Depending on your business, you might need to enter amounts for multiple classifications.

This table below summarizes Seattle business license tax rates and classifications. For example:

  • If your business is a retail store and you are filing a local tax return for 2017, the tax rate you will pay is 0.00219 or .219%. 
  • If your business is a professional services firm like a law or accounting firm, and you are filing a local tax return for 2019, the tax rate you will pay is 0.00427 or .427%.
  • If your business is printing and you are filing a local tax return for 2018, the tax rate you will pay is 0.00222 or .222%.
Service and Other Business Activities 0.00415 (.415%) 0.00423 (.423%) 0.00427 (.427%)
Retail Sales and Retail Services 0.00215 (.215%) 0.00219 (.219%) 0.00222 (.222%)
Wholesaling 0.00215 (.215%) 0.00219 (.219%) 0.00222 (.222%)
Manufacturing or Extracting 0.00215 (.215%) 0.00219 (.219%) 0.00222 (.222%)
Tour Operator or Processing for Hire 0.00215 (.215%) 0.00219 (.219%) 0.00222 (.222%)
Transporting Freight for Hire 0.00415 (.415%) 0.00423 (.423%) 0.00427 (.427%)
Printing or Publishing 0.00215 (.215%) 0.00219 (.219%) 0.00222 (.222%)
International Investment Management Services 0.00150 (.150%) NA* NA*

*The International Investment Management Services classification was repealed effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Common tax classifications

Report revenue under Other Business Activities if your business activities are not specifically taxable under any other classification.

Report revenue under Service if you provide professional services to others. These professional services differ from the Retail Services classification. To help determine your classification, see the examples provided. If you are unsure about which classification to use, please contact us.

Examples of service businesses:

  • Accountants
  • administrative professionals
  • architects
  • attorneys
  • bankers
  • bookkeepers
  • data processors
  • design services
  • engineers
  • entertainers
  • insurance
  • brokers
  • internet service providers
  • janitors
  • physicians, dentists and veterinarians
  • real estate brokers
  • tax preparers

Examples of other business activities:

  • Any business activity not taxable under another classification
  • software development and customization
  • producing royalties or commissions
  • freight brokering

Report revenue under Retail Sales if you sell tangible products directly to consumers.

Report revenue under Retail Services if you perform services on tangible products. These retail services differ from the Service classification, which is for professional services. To help determine your classification, see the examples provided.

Examples of retail sales:

  • Sale or rental of tangible products
  • sale of digital products

Examples of retail services:

  • Repair or installation of tangible products
  • auto repair
  • beauty salons and barbers
  • car washes
  • catering
  • construction
  • dry cleaners, laundry
  • escrow
  • hotels and motels
  • landscape/lawn maintenance/gardeners
  • painting
  • personal training
  • photography
  • tanning salons
  • tattooing

Report revenue under Wholesaling if you sell products or services to another person or business who intends to resell your product or service to a consumer.

Examples of wholesaling:

  • Sale or rental of tangible products to someone other than the end consumer
  • sale of digital products to someone other than the end consumer

Report revenue under Manufacturing if you make new or different products from raw or prepared materials.

Report revenue under Extracting if you remove raw materials from nature.

Examples of manufacturing:

  • Fabricating
  • mixing
  • packing
  • processing
  • refining
  • fishing
  • logging
  • mining
  • quarrying

Examples of extracting:

  • Fishing
  • logging
  • mining
  • quarrying

If you are unsure about which classification to use, please contact us.

Less common classifications

Report revenue under Tour Operator if you purchase travel services (lodging, meals, transportation, etc.) and resell them to consumers. As a tour operator you, not the consumer, are liable for the purchase. (Tour operators are different from travel agents. Travel agents arrange services for consumers to purchase, but they are not liable for the purchase.)

Report revenue under Processing for Hire if you are an independent contractor working for a manufacturer. Processors for hire do not own the materials used in the manufacturing process. If you own the materials, then report under the Manufacturing classification.

Report revenue under Transporting Freight for Hire if you transport tangible goods using public roads and highways in Seattle.

Report revenue under Printing or Publishing if you print or publish media.

Examples of printing or publishing:

  • Books
  • electronic media
  • gravure processes
  • letterpress
  • magazines
  • music
  • newspapers
  • offset-lithography
  • periodicals

If you are unsure about which classification to use, please contact us.

Report revenue under International Investment Management Services if you provide those services to people or collective investment funds residing outside of the United States. For more information on this classification, see Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 5.30.035 Definitions (H).