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Getting a Washington State Business License


If you own a business in Washington state, you probably need a state-issued business license. Here’s what you need to know about business licenses in Washington:

What is a Washington business license?

A Washington state business license registers your business with the Washington Department of Revenue. This state-issued business license is pretty much mandatory for all Washington businesses.

Why do I need a Washington business license?

All Washington businesses required to pay state taxes must apply for a Washington business license. More specifically, the WA Department of Revenue stipulates that if your business meets the following conditions, you must apply for a business license:

  • Your business requires city and state endorsements
  • Your business name is different than your legal name
  • You plan to hire employees in the next 90 days
  • You sell a product or offer a service that requires the collection of sales tax
  • Your gross income is $12,000 a year, or more
  • Your business must pay taxes or fees to the Department of Revenue
  • You are a buyer or processor of specialty wood products
  • Your business meets Out of State Businesses Reporting Thresholds and Nexus

How do I get a Washington business license?

You can obtain a Washington business license in one of two ways online by registering with Washington’s online portal, My DOR, then fill out an online application for a business license. Alternatively, you can download a Washington Business License Application, fill it out, then mail it to:

Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia WA 98507-9034

When should I get a Washington business license?

If your business is structured as an entity that must register with the state (i.e. corporation, LLC, liability company, or LLP), then you must register your business with the Washington Secretary of State before you apply for a business license.

Is a WA business license also a state endorsement?

Not exactly. Though you would apply for a state endorsement using Washington’s business license application, WA State Endorsements are only required for specific industries. (Like“egg handler” or “sellers of travel.”) You can use Washington’s Business Licensing Wizard to see what other city and/or state licenses your business might need.

For more information about business licenses in general, head to Northwest’s How to Get A Business License page.

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