Licensing, Permits & Taxes
Everyone doing business in the City of Seattle must obtain and annually renew a business license. If you're doing business at several locations in the City, you'll need a separate license for each venue.
- Download a business license application
- Find out if there are additional licensing requirements for your business
- For more assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 684-8484
King County does not require a general business license. However, all businesses operating in the State of Washington must obtain a Washington State Master Business License to register their business for state tax purposes.
To get a building permit, contact the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) - the agency charged with developing, administering and enforcing standards for land use, design, construction and housing within the city limits. First, you'll want to find out relevant policies and codes related to environmental protection, development, housing and community standards.
Permits are required for filming city streets, sidewalks, public parking, city parks, and other public property. Film permits are issued by the Mayor's Office of Film + Music.
Anyone doing business within the Seattle city limits whose business generates income above a certain level will have to pay a city business tax. The Guide to Seattle's Business License & Taxes provides answers to many questions. However, to find out about your specific circumstances, consult your tax advisor or the Seattle Municipal Code. Code Section 5.40 is Admission Taxes, 5.45 is Business License taxes, 5.52 is Gambling Taxes, 5.60 is Sales and Use Taxes.
Washington State does not have a corporate tax; however, there is a state Business & Occupation Tax. In addition, new and existing manufacturers, research and development firms and certain high technology companies in Washington can benefit from several tax incentives.
Doing Business with the City of Seattle
- Contracting opportunities and City and non-City resources on this page provide useful information and connections capable of growing women and minority-owned businesses (WMBE).
The Purchasing and Contracting Services Division (PCSD) of the Department of Executive Administration provides City departments with assistance regarding the purchasing of goods and routine services and the award and execution of public works construction projects.
Women- and minority-owned businesses can apply for certification from the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Certification may help you do business with federal, state, and city agencies as well as private sector entities with Supplier Diversity programs.
- The Seattle Business Assistance Center at Community Capital Development (CCD) provides individualized technical and financial assistance, business development and expansion services and policy advice to many businesses that might otherwise have difficulty obtaining conventional bank financing.
- Seattle Chapter of SCORE is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping small businesses by providing no-fee mentoring and business counseling and low-cost workshops.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers small business loans. Its Seattle district office houses a Business Enterprise Center (BEC) with an extensive resource library and the Seattle Chapter of SCORE. The BEC offers a one-stop location where current and future small business owners can receive assistance and advice.
- The Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC) at the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business assists inner city small businesses grow, create and retain jobs and contribute to the region's economy.
- The Washington Technology Center helps Washington companies overcome the technical challenges of product development by linking them with the scientific and engineering resources of the state's universities.