Business License FAQ
Q: What/who must have a license?
A: All entities that are required to register with the State of Washington
and are engaged in business activities within the Sammamish city limits, including
those physically located in commercial or in-home locations inside the city limits
and those coming inside the city limits to perform work must have a city of Sammamish
Q: Is this a tax?
A: This is not a tax on business, it is a registration fee. The city has
no B & O (Business and Occupation) tax. The fee is intended to cover the administration
cost of the program. It is not a major source of revenue for the city.
Q: Do I need a license if my business is outside,
but my customers are inside Sammamish city limits?
A: If you provide services or goods to people or property within the city,
the answer is generally, yes. If however, the sale occurred outside the city limits
and the only event occurring within the city is a delivery, the answer is no. (Please
see the exemption section below.)
Q: How Can I Apply for a Business License?
A: The city is partnering with Washington State’s Department of Revenue,
Business Licensing Service (BLS). Sammamish was the third city to join BLS with many
more to come. It is a coordination of efforts with other municipalities and the
State of Washington, to make the business license process as easy, efficient and
streamlined as possible. The idea behind BLS is a one-stop license application and
renewal process. For example, a Washington State business doing business in both
Bellevue and Sammamish would need to fill out only one application, write one check,
and receive one license from BLS showing endorsements for both Sammamish and Bellevue,
as well as its state licenses and registrations. For more information about the
Business Licensing Service (BLS) and state business registrations, go to: Business Licensing Service.
You may apply for a business license by filing a Business License Application at Sammamish
City Hall, any participating city, any Washington State Unified Business Identifier
(UBI) Field Office, via mail, or via a downloadable application.
For a list of UBI offices go to: Unified Business Identifier Service Locations. Currently
participating cities are listed at the City and County License page at the BLS website.
Businesses can apply for the city license online and pay with a credit card. Online
applications and renewals are currently available at Business Licensing Service website
Q: What are the fees?
A: A city Business License fee is $15.00 per year. This cost is intended
to cover our administrative costs of managing the Business License Program and is
not intended as a major source of revenue to the city. The Business Licensing Service
(BLS) also charges a $15.00 application processing fee* for the initial license
Through an agreement reached with them for implementation of the new Sammamish business
licensing in 2003, BLS will not charge the $15 processing fee for existing businesses
that had business activity in Sammamish during the prior year, and that are already
registered for business with the state.
Q: Do I need to renew the license?
A: The Sammamish license must be renewed annually for $15.00. BLS also charges
a $9.00 renewal processing fee*.
The expiration date of the city’s license will be set to coincide with the renewal
period established for each business’s Business License. This will enable
the business to renew their state license(s), their city license with Sammamish,
their city license with city of Bellevue (or other participating city) all at one
time. The business will pay a total renewal fee equal to the sum of each license’s
renewal fee and BLS’ $9.00 processing fee*.
*The state’s Business License Application and Business Licensing renewal accommodate handling
multiple licenses at the same time. The fees charged by BLS cover that office’s
processing costs and do not increase regardless of the number of licenses included
at one time. BLS also charges a delinquency fee for a late renewal filing to cover
its associated costs.
Q: Who is exempt from the city License?
A: The following entities are exempt:
- Governmental organizations
- Farmers selling their own farm products
- Casual or isolated sales providing they take place no more than 4 times a year.
- Delivery of goods by vehicle to a location in Sammamish when the actual sale took
place outside the city.
- Taxi, limousine, airporter or similar service where the business operates from premises
outside the city.
- Sales of goods or services by mail, telephone, or internet where the seller operates
from premises located outside the city and the only event occurring within the city
is receipt of the goods or services.
- Provision of internet or wireless phone services where the provider operates from
premises located outside the city and the only event occurring within the city is
receipt of the services.
Q: Who must register but is exempt from
payment of the city license fee?
A: Non-Profit business activities carried on by religious, charitable, educational,
benevolent, fraternal or social organizations who have been determined by the IRS
to be exempt from the payment of income tax and whose charitable contributions would
be deemed tax deductible are exempted from paying the license fee, but must still
register with the city. A copy or proof of the IRS exemption is required to be filed
with the registration. This registration is made directly with the city of Sammamish.
Q: What are the penalties if I don’t register,
or renew my business license?
A: The city is going to phase in compliance with the business license requirement.
We are hoping that we attain voluntary compliance. In general, the Business License
Program compliance will be achieved primarily through a complaint based system.
Failure to have a business license is a misdemeanor. Second or subsequent offenses
are gross misdemeanors.
If a business does not file its renewal notice on time, the business may be charged
a late renewal fee by the Business Licensing Service (BLS). If the license is not renewed,
the misdemeanor consequences noted above could apply.
However, compliance with registration rather than punishment is the objective for
this licensing process.
Q: What are the Benefits of the Business
A: As the Business License Program is developed the following benefits will
accrue to the Citizens:
- Public Safety
- Alarm Systems Registration
- Emergency Contacts
- Hazardous Materials Registration
- Planning and Zoning
- Enforcement of Zoning Requirements
- Appropriate Business Use
- Sales Tax
- Sales tax collection enhancement
- Transient and Peddler
- Registration of Peddlers and Transient Solicitations
- Support for Business and Economic Development
- Knowledge of types and extent of business activities in the city
The following Benefits will accrue to the businesses in addition to the above:
- Added Credibility of being a Licensed Business
- Increased Public Awareness
- Increased Public Safety
The Sammamish Chamber of Commerce recognized the benefits of the program and endorsed
the need for the city business licenses.
Q: What other Cities have a business license
A: Almost all of our neighboring cities have business license requirements. View the complete list of partner cities
at the Washington State Business Licensing Service (BLS) website.
Bellevue already partners with the Business Licensing Service (BLS) for its licenses, and
some of the other cities anticipate such a partnership in the future.
Q: How long is the license in effect?
A: The normal license period is 12 months and will expire on the expiration
date established for your business through the Business Licensing Service (BLS). Sometimes
the expiration date for a new business is adjusted, with fees adjusted accordingly,
to match the BLS expiration date.
Q: Can I assume the former owner’s license?
A: No, business licenses are non-transferable. A new owner must apply for
a new business license.
Q: Under what circumstances is a business license
A: A business license may be denied because of zoning or code violations.
Q: How soon will I get my license?
A: Your Business License will be mailed in about two to three weeks after your
complete license application information and all related fees are received by the
state’s Business Licensing Service (BLS). If your application included licenses that require
a longer time to be approved, you may receive an interim Business License with only
some licenses listed on it, and then receive another license later on showing the
rest of the licenses.
Q: Can I get a listing of new businesses
A: A list of existing businesses is available at Sammamish City Hall. If
you plan to use the list for commercial purposes, the city cannot provide a copy
of the list. If the information will be used for research, or for another purpose
that does not result in financial gain, the list is available for normal copying
fees. You must sign a "request for information" form.