Linking you to people, meet the Small Business Liaisons


The Small Business Liaison Team (SBLT) consists of representatives from 27 agencies. Our mission is to listen to businesses, then drive action to make it easier to do business in Washington state. A primary goal of the SBLT is to have an informed small business community that understands what's needed to comply with the state’s licensing and regulatory requirements. The team was formalized and expanded in Executive Order 12-01. ORIA acts as facilitator for monthly SBLT meetings. Subgroups develop outreach programs, solicit ideas for regulatory improvement and develop new business tools.

Our Vision

We envision Washington state being the best place to do business.

 

Our Core Mission

We are listening to businesses, then driving action to make it easier to do business in the state of Washington.

 

Some of Our Actions

Additionally, the team has collaborated with local and regional small business assistance centers and invited business owners to provide direct feedback to the SBLT on their experience working with state agencies.

Meet some of the Liaisons, learn about Small Business programs at state agencies, find out how you can join a forum discussion with the SBLT

Linking you to success


We know regulations, you know your business, together we'll make a great team that will keep your business on track with state, federal, and local regulations. We also have tools and resources to help you get started with your business and then to keep it running smoothly, here are a few of the most popular ones:

 

Small Business Guide


The Small Business Guide includes sections that will help you plan, start, run, grow, or close a business in Washington State and it's available in many languages.

Payroll Calculator


Use the online “Payroll Calculator” to estimate payroll costs. There are two different calculators, one for hourly employees and the other for salaried employees.

Business License Service


Use this online service to get your business licensed quickly.
 
 

Business License Wizard


Step-by-step, this tool asks you questions to build a checklist of things you'll need to do and permits you'll need to consider when licensing your business.

Corporate/Entity Registration


Registering your corporation is not the same as licensing your business, you'll need to both.
 
 
 

Small Business Liaisons


Whether you're being audited by a state agency, trying to get the right permits to expand your business, or just need to clarify something simple, you may need a contact at one of the state agencies to help you.

Linking you to the Small Business Guide


The Small Business Guides provides helpful information, links to valuable resources, and outlines the steps for starting and operating a business in Washington state. The Small Business Guide is available in English, SpanishRussianKorean, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

The Business Guide includes sections that will help you plan, run, grow, or close a business in Washington State.

 

Linking you to solutions

We can answer questions and help with research


Our Information Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. We are friendly, eager to help and knowledgeable about regulations. We have team members that have owned and operated businesses and some that have worked for regulating agencies. If we do not have the answer we collaborate with dozens of subject matter experts that do. Contact us and we will assist you with your questions, we really want you to succeed.

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Linking you to answers


Not usually; Contact the Department of Labor and Industries to inquire (360-902-6901), review the LNI web page on self-insurance (http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/SelfInsure/), and we also recommend reviewing the Employers' Guide to Workers' Compensation Insurance in Washington State (https://www.lni.wa.gov/FormPub/Detail.asp?DocID=1476) and the Employers' Guide to Self-Insurance in Washington State (https://www.lni.wa.gov/FormPub/Detail.asp?DocID=2354)
If an out-of-state business is hiring an employee in Washington state, the business needs to apply for a Washington State Business License (http://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx) as well as set up the Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. The business will also need to report each Washington employee through the New Hire Reporting Program of the Department of Social and Health Services within 20 days of hire unless their company is listed as a multi-state employer (https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support/new-hire-reporting). The business may also need to register with the Washington state Secretary of State (https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/faq---do-i-need-to-register-my-business-in-washington-state.aspx).
There is no fee for applying or renewing a Reseller Permit. Recommend visiting: https://apps.oria.wa.gov/permithandbook/permitdetail/202, for information on the Reseller Permit and contacting the Reseller Subject Matter expert at: 360-902-7137 or reseller@dor.wa.gov for additional assistance.
All businesses hiring employees are required to register for workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. Register by completing, or updating, your Business License Application with Business Licensing Services, and checking the boxes to indicate you have, or plan to hire employees (http://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx). After filing your application, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department will send you information about employee quarterly report forms.
No, In Washington state you cannot convert a sole-proprietor businesses into a structured entity (i.e., corporation). You will need to open the corporation as a new business. To do this, you need to complete 3 steps:

1. You first register your new corporation with the Secretary of State's (SOS) Office. You can file online (https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/), the SOS Office will then issue you a new Universal Business Identifier (UBI) for the corporation.
2. Use the new UBI number to create a new business license through the Department of Revenue using the Business Licensing System (https://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx).
3. You will also need to reapply for any applicable specialty, and/or city endorsements (for example, Nursery endorsements). You will probably need to re-apply for all of the licenses you currently have. For example, if you are a building contractor, you will need to reapply for your contractor’s license with the Department of Labor and Industries.
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.
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 (https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Docs/Pubs/ExciseTax/BusinessTaxBasics.pdf), or call them at 1-800-647-7706.
- Your business has specialty licenses (https://bls.dor.wa.gov/specialtylicenses.aspx) available through the Business Licensing Service.

If you need to get a business license, file a Business License Application (https://bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx).
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 (https://bls.dor.wa.gov/forms/700031.pdf).
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 (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html).
L&I enforces the state's minimum wage law. A voter-approved initiative (I-1433) passed in 2016 raising the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour in 2017 and continues to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, $13.50 in 2020. Starting in the year 2021, the initiative requires a cost-of-living increase for Washington's minimum wage each year. See more about minimum wage (https://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/Minimum/default.asp).
The paid sick leave law and all applicable rules go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Yes. Almost all employers must provide paid sick leave to their employees, unless the employer only has workers who are exempt from Chapter 49.46 RCW – Minimum Wage Act, which includes the paid sick leave requirements.
Liability Insurance is not required as a general rule; however, it is recommended for a sole-proprietorship because it does not provide the same protection against lawsuits as a Corporation or Limited Liability Company. One exception to this rule is if you are registered as a general or specialty contractor with the Department of Labor and Industries (http://lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/HowReg/Register.asp). We recommend using the Business Licensing Wizard located at: http://bls.dor.wa.gov/licensing.aspx, to determine if there are any other business types which require liability insurance.

For information on business insurance, visit: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/business-insurance

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Email: help@business.wa.gov

Call: 1-800-917-0043

We welcome your questions and feedback, if we don't have the answer we will help you find someone that does.

 
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