What are the requirements for a Vancouver business license?
Any business or individual that owns and/or operates a business within the city limits of Vancouver is required to obtain:
- City of Vancouver Business License
- Register with the State of Washington to receive a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number and complete the Master Business Application
- Comply with all building, fire, and zoning codes (360) 487-7803
- Fulfill tax requirements
- For a home based business, the Home Occupation Permit is required
- Pay applicable fees
How do I apply for a license?
All fees and applications can be submitted to:
Customer Service Desk
415 W. 6th St.
Vancouver, Washington 98660
Phone: (360) 487-8448
What is the cost of the licenses?
All fees must be paid either in the form of a check or money order made payable to the City of Vancouver. There is a base fee of $125 and then a surcharge fee of $50 for each employee. Employees are considered as anyone working at the business, such as full-time, part-time, temporary, owners, partners, etc. Only those workers that are independent contractors and have a business license or temporary workers that work for an agency with a business license are exempt. If you have over 400 employees, the fee will not be more than $20,000. Licenses are good for one year from the month the license was issued and expires at the end of that month. For example, if the issue date was June 17, 2010 the license would be valid until June 30, 2011.
What if I have a home-based business?
Home-based businesses are still required to obtain a city license, but may also need a Home Occupation Permit that carries with it a one-time fee of $116.52. Review the business license application form to find out if this fee will be required. Please note that there are many exemptions, so carefully review the list of exemptions to determine if you will be required to pay the associated fees. If an exemption applies, then you will be required to fill out an exemption worksheet.
What information is required for the application?
You will need the following:
- State of Washington Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number
- Name of business and all owners and/or partners contact information
- Physical address of all business locations in Vancouver
- Start of business date in Vancouver
- Type of business
- Description of business activity
- Fee paid by check or money order
Is the city business license good for all types of businesses?
There are some businesses or services that require special requirements or additional fees. Please carefully review the application to see if they apply to your business and then click on the link provided for all pertinent information. Among these types of businesses are:
- Adult entertainment
- Bill posting/Distribution of handbills
- Billiard parlors/Pool tables
- Bingo/Raffles/Amusement games
- Cable television
- Special events
- Closing out sales
- Electricity tax
- Emergency medical services
- Food vendors
- Golf courses
- Junk dealers
- Lodging tax
- Natural gas companies
- Outdoor advertising
- Racing news agencies
- Recyclable materials collections
- Sales and use tax
- Secondhand dealers
- Septic tank cleaners
- Solid waste utility tax
- Sound trucks
- Stormwater utility tax
- Telephone business for hire
- Tow truck operators
- Vehicles for hire
- Water-Sewer Department gross receipts tax
For questions regarding licensing, contact the Customer Service Desk at (360) 487-8448. For non-profit organizations the Determination of Exemption Checklist will need to be completed and signed before non-profit status can be granted.
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