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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 Proprietorships. 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.

Getting started as a driver with Uber, Lyft, or a similar service can get a little more complicated than you might think because there are potentially licenses, taxes, and insurances you need to consider. We have written a brief guide to help you sort it all out by answering some common questions. Click this link to read the guide.

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 the 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

For information pertaining to the WA Cares Fund program/long-term care coverage please visit the Learn More FAQ page at https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/learn-more/, which also contains specific FAQ’s for employers. 

Please direct any further questions to the WA Cares Fund program using the form at https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/contact-us/

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.

As a Washington employer, you are required to report your employees’ wages and hours and submit premiums every quarter—unless you had no payroll expenses during that quarter.  While businesses with fewer than 50 employees do not have to contribute to their employees’ premiums, you play a role in the program.  Find out more at paidleave.wa.gov or contact the Washington Employment Security Department at (833) 717-2273 or email paidleave@esd.wa.gov.

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

The 2022 Minimum Wage in the state of Washington is $14.49 per hour; however, local ordinances in some jurisdictions can increase this. Annually, the state Department of Labor & Industries is required to make a cost-of-living adjustment to the minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index (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 $17.27 per hour and the city of SeaTac with a minimum wage of $17.54 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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If you are looking for a water supply for a project or want to make changes to an existing water right, visit: https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Water-rights and contact your regional Department of Ecology office with additional questions. 

To install a mooring buoy on state-owned aquatic lands, you will need authorization from the state Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR).   You may also need additional permits; however, this is the first step.  Residential landowners adjacent to state-aquatic lands may qualify for a free buoy.  If you don’t qualify for a free buoy, you can apply for a Mooring Buoy License.   For more information, visit DNR’s mooring buoy webpage, and for assistance, contact DNR at 360-902-1100 or via email at buoy@dnr.wa.gov

 To apply: 

  1. Fill out the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) and Attachment E:  Click here for forms & attachments

  1. Use the JARPA Buoy Guidance to help you complete your application. 

  1. Before applying for any other permits, send your completed application and other documents to DNR. 

Mail your completed application with a $25.00 Application Fee to:

DNR, Aquatic Resources Division
Attn: Mooring Buoy Program
1111 Washington ST SE; MS: 47021
Olympia, WA 98501 

  1. DNR will review your application and contact you with any additional requirements, questions or provide you with your next steps. 

The Gold and Fish Pamphlet serves as the permit for freshwater mineral prospecting and mining activities as described in it. 
 
For more information, visit: https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/hpa/types/prospecting and contact the Washington State  Department of Fish and Wildlife at 360-902-2200 with additional questions 

Typically, if you are doing work in or near water, a Shoreline permit is required from your local jurisdiction (city/county) planning department.  We recommend contacting them first as they should be able to assist you with any other required permits and would most likely be the lead agency if a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review is required. 

Depending on the location and other factors, a permit may be also be required from the following agencies: 

  • Department of Ecology

  • Department of Natural Resources 

  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife 

  • US Army Corp of Engineers 

  • US Coast Guard 

To streamline the environmental permitting process, several regulatory agencies joined together to create one application that can be used to apply for more than one permit at a time, titled: The Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application or JARPA.   For more information, visit: http://epermitting.wa.gov

Here are some general questions we've been asked


The Temporary License Permit allows vehicle owners to operate their unlicensed vehicles on public roadways for up to three consecutive days.  You may obtain a Trip Permit using the self-issue online permitting program or contact any authorized permitting agents for assistance.  

OR 

For more information, visit https://apps.oria.wa.gov/permithandbook/permitdetail/186 

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