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


Business insurance, also known as Commercial General Liability insurance, protects against third-party bodily injury and property damage claims arising from your premises or operations.  This type of insurance includes coverage for Personal Injury, Products/Completed Operations, Fire Legal Liability, and Medical Payments.  Business insurance is not required as a general rule;  however, it is recommended for non-corporate entity business structures such as Sole Proprietorships because it can provide the same protection against lawsuits as a Corporation or LLC.  It also protects owners from losses due to bodily or property damages.

Note: one exception to this rule is if you are registered as a general or specialty contractor with the Department of Labor & Industries. Visit: https://lni.wa.gov/licensing-permits/contractors/register-as-a-contractor/ for more details.

If you have questions about business insurance, you should speak with a licensed insurance professional or insurance company regarding your coverage for your business, or visit https://www.insurance.wa.gov/learn-how-business-insurance-works.

To change your business structure from a non-corporate entity such as a Sole Proprietorship to a corporate entity (i.e. LLC, Corporation, etc.) and vise versa, you will need to start from scratch and receive a new UBI number by opening a new business following the steps listed at https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/grow-business/change-your-business-structure.

For questions on the process, contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gov.

A conversion allows a business entity to convert into another type of business entity or change jurisdiction (home state) without having to form a new entity and dissolve the other.  The law provides statutory conversion rights for most types of entities except Sole Proprietors & Nonprofits. Articles of Conversion must be prepared in accordance with governing statute for the current entity type.  A fill in the blank form is not available.

The Secretary of State’s Conversion Cover Sheet can act as a guide and must accompany your Articles of Conversion. 

Contact the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State for individual assistance specific to your business.

Sole Proprietorship who do not have employees usually do not need to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN); however, corporate entities (LLC, Corporation, etc.) must apply for this registration whether they have employees or not.

For more information, visit: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers

To file your Washington state taxes online, sign into myDOR at: https://secure.dor.wa.gov/home/

For a step-by-step guide to filing your taxes using myDOR, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/my-dor-help/business-taxes and contact the Department of Revenue at 360-705-6705 with additional questions or further assistance.

All businesses must renew any issued city and state endorsements to remain active.  Additionally, corporate entities (LLC, Corporations, etc.) require an Annual Report to be filed with the Secretary of State.  

You can find more information about filing an Annual Report, re-opening a business account, or renewing city and state endorsements, by visiting: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/run-business/renew-your-business-license.

To re-open a closed business account, you may need to file a new Business License Application with Business Licensing Service. 

Visit: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/run-business/renew-your-business-license for details and contact the Business Licensing Services at 360-705-6741, to speak with a licensing specialist who will review the closed business account with you.

To set up your business as a corporate entity (LLC, Corporation, etc.):

  1. Register your business with the Secretary of State (SOS) through the Corporations and Charities Filing System: https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/ to set up your business structure and receive your Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number. For a listing of SOS forms, visit https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/forms.aspx.

For questions on the registration process or forms, contact the Secretary of State at 360-725-0377 or corps@sos.wa.gov.

  1. Apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number, also known as the Employer Identification Number (EIN).  For more information and to apply online, visit: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers.
  1. File a Washington State Business License with the Business Licensing Service using your UBI number through the myDOR system: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/my-dor-help/business-licensing/apply-new-business-license to set up your business tax account.

We recommend using the Business Licensing Wizard, located at: http://secure.dor.wa.gov/gteauth/?Link=wiz for information on any other licenses or permits that may be required based on the location and type of business.

For questions on the business license application or wizard, contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gov.

To set up a business as a Sole Proprietorship or other non-corporate entity, file for a Washington State Business License with Business Licensing Service through the myDOR system: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/my-dor-help/business-licensing/apply-new-business-license. This will set up your business tax account and you will be provided with a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number.

We recommend using the Business Licensing Wizard, located at: http://secure.dor.wa.gov/gteauth/?Link=wiz for information on any other licenses or permits that may be required based on the location and type of business

For questions on the business license application or wizard, contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741.

To set up a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account for use on myDOR visit: https://secure.dor.wa.gov/home/Account/Register

For additional information on SAW user accounts, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/my-dor-help/get-started#SAW and contact the Department of Revenue at 360-705-6705 with additional questions.

To set up employee accounts in Washington, file or refile your Washington State Business license with the Business Licensing Service.

Your business information will be automatically forwarded to the Department of Labor & Industries and Employment Security Department to set up your Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance.

For more information, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/grow-business/hiring-employees and contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gov with additional questions.

Note: Nearly all employers in the State of Washington have responsibilities under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.  For more information, visit: http://paidleave.wa.gov/employers or contact the Employment Security Department at 833-171-2273 or paidleave@esd.wa.gov.

To set up payroll accounts in Washington, file or refile a Washington State Business License with the Department of Revenue, Business Licensing Service. Your business information is automatically forwarded to the Employment Security Department and Department of Labor & Industries to set up your Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation accounts. 

For more information, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/manage-business/grow-business/hiring-employees and contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gov with additional questions

Also, nearly all employers in the State of Washington have responsibilities under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.  For additional information, visit: https://www.paidleave.wa.gov and contact the Employment Security Department at 833-717-2273 or paidleave@esd.wa.gov with additional questions.

Note: If you are doing business in Washington, you must also register with the Washington Secretary of State.  For information, visit: https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/foreign-entity-registration-and-forms.aspx and contact the Secretary of State at 360-725-0358 or corps@sos.wa.gov with any additional questions.

A non-refundable Business License Application processing fee is required for each application received in addition to applicable endorsement or trade name fees.

Open/reopen a business - $90
If you are opening the first location of a new business/UBI or re-opening a business/UBI that has no active locations.

Any other purpose - $19
If you are filing for any purpose other than those listed above.
(Examples: Hiring employees, registering a trade name, adding additional endorsements to an existing location, etc.)

For more processing fee details, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license/variable-business-license-fees or contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gov.

Yes, you must still file a tax return by following one of options listed at: https://dor.wa.gov/file-pay-taxes/report-no-business-activity.
For additional tax-related questions, contact the Department of Revenue at 360-705-6705

Generally business owners, and corporate officers, are exempt from mandatory coverage of Workers’ Compensation; however, there are options for those who would like to elect for coverage from the Department of Labor & Industries.

If you have additional questions on Workers’ Compensation, contact the Department of Labor & Industries, Employer Services at 360-902-4817.

There are three employee-related taxes in Washington State:

  1. Workers’ Compensation:  https://lni.wa.gov/insurance/insurance-requirements/do-i-need-a-workers-comp-account/
  2. Unemployment Insurance: https://esd.wa.gov/employer-taxes
  3. Paid Family Medical Leave:  https://esd.wa.gov/paid-family-medical-leave/smallbusiness

For a table summary of employer payroll & tax responsibilities, visit: https://www.business.wa.gov/site/alias__business/878/Small-Business-Guide—Payroll.aspx#Responsibilities

A Reseller Permit, also known as a Tax Exemption Certificate, allows your business to purchase items for resale without paying sales tax.  You must currently have a Washington state business license in order to apply for a Resellers Permit.

For more information, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/taxes-rates/retail-sales-tax/reseller-permits/reseller-permit-your-questions-answered and contact the Department of Revenue at 360-705-6705 with additional questions.

A UBI number (or Unified Business Identifier) is a nine-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, a business license number or a master business license number.

For more information, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/business-licensing-and-renewals-faqs#UBI and contact the Business Licensing Service at 360-705-6741 or bls@dor.wa.gv with additional questions

As of 2020, the minimum wage in the state of Washington is $13.50 per hour; however, beginning 2021, and each year thereafter, the Department of Labor & Industries is required to make a cost-of-living adjustment to the minimum wage based on the CPI-W.

Note: although there is a statewide minimum wage, some local jurisdictions have higher wage rates and different labor rules.  Some examples include the city of Seattle with a minimum wage of $15.75 per hour and the city of SeaTac with a minimum wage of $16.34 per hour.

For more information on minimum wages, visit: https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/wages/minimum-wage/ and contact the Department of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards Office at 360-902-5316 or esgeneral@lni.wa.gov with additional questions.

You can find information about employer responsibilities and employee rights, by visiting: https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/ and contacting the Department of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards Office at 360-902-5316 or esgeneral@lni.wa.gov with additional questions.

To look up a business license, tax account, or reseller permit with the Department of Revenue visit: https://secure.dor.wa.gov/gteunauth/_/#1

To verify a corporate entity registration (i.e. Corporation, LLC, etc.) with the Secretary of State visit: https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/  

To verify the status of a contractor or tradesperson (i.e. Electrician, Plumber, etc.) with the Department of Labor & Industries, visit: https://secure.lni.wa.gov/verify/

You need a business license if your business meets any of the following conditions:

  • Your business requires city and state endorsements.
  • You are doing business using a name other than your full name legal name.
  • You plan to hire employees within the next 90 days.
  • You sell a product or provide a service that requires the collection of sales tax.
  • Your gross income is $12,000 per year or more.
  • Your business is required to pay taxes or fees to the Department of Revenue.
  • You are a buyer or processor of specialty wood products.

For more details or to apply for a business license, visit: https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license

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Email: help@business.wa.gov

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