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WA State Licensing: FAQ - Business license
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Frequently asked questions: Business licensing
What is a Business License Application?
The Business License Application is a simplified application used to apply for many state licenses, registrations, and permits, and some city licenses. You may use it to:
Apply for a Washington State Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number or tax registration number.
Open or reopen a business.
Change ownership of a business.
Open a new business location.
Change business locations.
Register or change a trade name.
Get a Minor Work Permit.
Add licenses to an existing business location.
Get optional insurance coverage for the business owner.
Hire people to work in or around your home.
The Unified Business Identifier Number (UBI) can be used to identify your business account with many different agencies.
What is a UBI (Unified Business Identifier) number?
A UBI number is a 9-digit number that registers you with several state agencies and allows you to do business in Washington State. A UBI number is sometimes called a tax registration number, a business registration number, or a business license number. Use the Business License Application to apply for a UBI number.
Who needs a business license?
You need a license if you meet
1 or more
of the following criteria:
Your business grosses $12,000 or more per year.
You’re doing business using a name other than your full legal name.
You plan to hire employees within the next 90 days.
You sell a product or provide a service that is taxable. To find out more about what products or services are taxable, see the Department of Revenue’s
Business tax guide
, or call them at 1-800-647-7706.
Your business has
available through the Business Licensing Service.
If you need to get a business license, file a
Business License Application
How can I submit a Business License Application?
There are two ways to file the Business License Application and supplemental forms:
File by paper
How long will it take to fill out the Business License Application?
The application takes approximately 15–30 minutes to complete.
How much does it cost to file a Business License Application?
There is a $19 non-refundable processing fee for the Business License Application. You must also pay different fees associated with the various licenses, registrations, or permits you may need for your particular business. For more information, see the
License Fee Sheet
Are there other licensing requirements I must meet that aren’t covered by the Business License Application?
Yes. Although there are over 100 state licenses that can be obtained by using the Business License Application, your business may have additional local, state, or federal licensing requirements. The
Business Licensing Wizard
will provide you with information to identify those additional requirements.
How can I add registrations or licenses to my business?
Get information and forms based on your business activity from the
Business Licensing Wizard
or call Business Licensing Service at 1-800-451-7985.
File by paper
Note: If the license you want isn't available through the Business Licensing Service, contact the agencies,
listed on your business Business Licensing Wizard sheet.
Do I need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
Sole proprietors who aren’t employers usually don’t have to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). However, all other business types must apply for this registration whether they have employees or not. For more information about who needs an EIN or how to apply, visit the
Internal Revenue Service
How do I change corporation, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership names?
To make any changes to the legal entity name for your corporation, LLC, or LLP, you must contact the
Washington Secretary of State
If you need to update your firm name and it's the same as your legal entity name, contact Business Licensing Service at
Can I request a business record search about other businesses?
Yes, we can also provide information about corporations or individuals conducting business under a trade name, or verify the existence of a business.
To look up business information
, go to:
Search Business Licenses
— If your search result is “No matches were found for your search,” try spelling the name differently or leave out abbreviations or punctuation such as Inc, LLC, etc.
Washington State Department of Revenue
— This online database search is intended for use by the general public as a consumer protection program, and includes some trade names.
Secretary of State Corporations Registration Data Search
— Corporation and limited liability company names.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Commission
— Search for federally registered names.
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