Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs a business registration?

Spokane requires all businesses to be registered with the city if they are:

  • Located within city limits, or
  • Located outside city limits but Conducting business within city limits, or
  • Conducting business with the City.
What is a UBI (Unified Business Identifier) number?

A UBI number is a 9-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, or a business license number. Use the Business License Application to apply for a UBI number.

How long will it take to fill out the Business License Application?

The application process varies depending on each specific license, but can take up to one hour.

How much does it cost to file a Business License Application?

There is a $50 non-refundable processing fee for the initial Business License Application. Renewals will be charged a $5 non-refundable processing fee. You must also pay different fees associated with the various licenses, registrations, or permits you may need for your particular business. For more information, see the License Fact Sheet.

Are there other licensing requirements I must meet that aren't covered by the Business License Application?

Yes. Although there are over 100 state licenses that can be obtained by using the Business License Application, your business may have additional local, state, or federal licensing requirements. The Department of Licensing will provide you with information to identify those additional requirements.

How can I add registrations or licenses to my business?

Get information and forms based on your business activity from the Business Licensing Wizard or call Business Licensing Services at 1.360.705.6741.

Do I need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

Sole proprietors who aren't employers usually don't have to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). However, all other business types must apply for this registration whether they have employees or not. For more information about who needs an EIN or how to apply, visit the Internal Revenue Service.

How do I change corporation, limited liability company, or limited liability partnership names?
  • To make any changes to the legal entity name for your corporation, LLC, or LLP, you must contact the Washington Secretary of State at 1.360.725.0377.
  • If you need to update your firm name and it's the same as your legal entity name, contact Business Licensing Service at
Can I request a business record search about other businesses?

You can make a record search request through the State of Washington Business Licensing Service. They can also provide information about corporations or individuals conducting business under a trade name, or verify the existence of a business. To look up business information online, go to:

What do I need to do before I apply for a business registration?
How do I apply for a business registration?

In Person

Find your local office location on the WA State Department of Revenue website.


Online - The fastest way to file!

Online applications are typically processed within two business days. It may take up to 21 days if you file by mail.

By Mail

  1. Complete the Business License Application and any supplemental forms that apply to your business. To find out which supplemental forms you'll need, see the Business Licensing Guide.
  2. Mail your completed application, supplemental forms, and a check or money order payable to “Department of Revenue” for the fees to:

    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034



What are the fees associated with a business registration?

Base Fee: $131.00 per 12-month period. $50 Washington State Processing Fee for initial registration, $5 processing fee for renewals.

Temporary Registration: $65.50 for first 90 days, $55.50 to renew for additional 90 days if renewed within the first 90 day license period.

Branch Fee: $131.00 for each additional location. Mobile carts or other mobile units from which business is conducted is considered an additional location. Washington State Processing Fee waived.

Personnel Fee:

$10 non-refundable Washington State Processing Fee for any employees added after initial registration.

Personnel definition: Any person employed by or at any business within the City and/or persons who perform any part of their duties within the City of Spokane.

Personnel include:

  • All officers, agents, dealers, LLC members, etc. of a corporation or business trust.
  • All partners
  • Each part-time and each temporary person must be included in personnel count / fee.
  • A sole proprietor, owner and spouse are not counted as personnel.
Number of Personnel Fee Per Person*
1 through 5 $10.00 each
6 through 10 $15.00 each
11 or more $20.00 each

*Per Person Fee is based on the total number of personnel working at each location.

Nonprofit Entities: Nonprofit entities which have received certification from the state and/or federal government as a 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 are entitled to a reduced registration fee. The reduced business registration fee is one-half the basic registration fee plus inspection or other applicable fees or charges. Nonprofit businesses are exempt from personnel fees. Any applicant for a reduced fee registration must present sufficient proof of nonprofit status as granted by the state or federal government.

Business Evaluation Site Fee: Site evaluation fees apply ONLY to businesses located within the City limits with any of the following criteria:

  • New businesses, or
  • New business owners, or
  • Relocated businesses, or
  • Additional sites for an existing business, or
  • If customers visit a business located at a residence.

Fire Department Safety Inspection fees are $88.00.

Do I qualify for a reduced-fee registration?

Taxpayers whose gross business revenues do not exceed $18,000 per calendar year are “eligible persons” entitled to a reduced business registration fee. You must provide IRS filed documents as proof of gross revenues. For computation of gross revenues, revenue from outside the city is not included. Gross revenues means the revenues to the taxpaying entity and are not computed separately for each individual partner, principal, employee, or other constituent part of the taxpayer. Please call 509.625.6070 if you have further questions.

Do I need a business site evaluation?

Section 08.02.0207 New Business – Fire Department Safety Evaluations

  1. The safety inspection fee for fire department safety inspections of new businesses or businesses that change location is $88. Exceptions:
    1. Home businesses where customers do not come to the residence.
    2. Itinerant vendors or vendors operating carts or booths where no ignition sources, flammable liquids, gases, or solids are present.
    3. Low hazards defined as “general business office” operations where no life safety systems, ignition sources, flammable liquids, gases, or solids are present (i.e.: insurance office, tax consultant, attorney, accountant, therapy, hair/nail salon, coffee/ espresso stands, photography studios, etc.).
  2. Businesses not inspected and originally categorized as low hazard general business office operations that were later determined to be a higher hazard by the fire department will be charged an $88 fee for a fire safety site inspection.
What special permits do I need for a restaurant business?

For information on Food Service and On-site Waste Disposal System Permits, visit the Spokane Regional Health District website.

How do I apply for a temporary registration?

Businesses engaging in business in the City for a period of ninety days or less within a twelve-month period, or businesses without any permanent location either within or without the City, may obtain a temporary business registration in lieu of a regular business registration. (SMC 10.40.010)

Temporary registrations are good for 90 days. Please fill out a Temporary Business Registration Application (PDF 88 KB) or apply online at Accela Citizen Access (

A temporary registration is $65.50 for first 90 days.


If you will be operating your business more than the 90 days, you may renew for an additional 90 day period.

  • If you renew prior to the expiration of the original 90-day registration, your renewal fee is $55.50.

You may want to consider applying for a regular business registration if you expect to be in business for over 90 days.

A business site evaluation fee may also apply.

Do I need an Itinerant Vendor Permit?

A business with a regular or temporary business registration must have a separate Itinerant Vendor Permit under any of the following circumstances:

  • Where the person is eligible for a business registration, and is engaged in the business of selling or delivering goods or services within the City from a fixed or temporary location as an itinerant vendor. Examples are people selling food or wares from mobile carts on the sidewalk or roving vehicles in the streets.
  • Where the person travels from door to door as the principle means of conducting business offering, exposing for sale, or selling within the City any goods, merchandise, service or product.
  • Where the person engages in any business in the City with no permanent location.
How do I apply for an Itinerant Vendor Permit?

New Businesses

  • Do the owners qualify for or need unemployment or industrial insurance?

    To get this information you should contact Department of Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department.

  • When will I get my tax reporting forms?

    You should receive your tax forms from Department of Revenue, Department of Labor and Industries, and the Employment Security Department at the end of the first quarter in which you start reporting. You will need to file personal property taxes with your county assessor. Contact your local assessor for instructions.

  • How often will I need to complete tax reports?

    New accounts generally need to report every quarter; however, you may change your reporting frequency to monthly or annually. You will be notified of any changes and sent the appropriate tax returns for filing. Personal property listings must be filed with your county assessor's office by April 30 of each year.

  • What if I change my start date after my application was filed?

    You may change or correct your first activity date by simply writing to Business Licensing Service at:

    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034

  • How long will it take to process my application?

    Processing time can range from 10 days for the online application to 3–6 weeks for the paper application.

  • When can I use my UBI number?

    As soon as it is assigned, you may begin using your UBI number for business purposes. Some business licenses require that you have the license posted before you can officially open your business to the public.

  • When are my licenses active?

    You may begin business operations immediately after your UBI number is assigned, as long as you don't need any additional licenses that require agency approval (for instance liquor, lottery, or vehicle dealers). For licenses that need approval, there's a waiting period while the appropriate agencies complete the process.

  • What will happen after I file the Business License Application and receive my UBI?

    We'll mail you a Business License, and the Department of Revenue will send you information about handling sales tax and business and occupation taxes. If you indicate on the Business License Application that you plan to hire employees, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department will send you information about employee quarterly report forms.

  • Do I have to renew my Business License?

    If your business is a corporation, a limited liability company, a limited liability partnership, or requires a specialty license available through the Business Licensing Service, you will need to renew your license annually. The expiration date is determined when you apply, and will be printed on the top right hand side of your Business License under the Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number.

    Business Licensing Service sends a courtesy renewal notice to owners approximately 45 days before their license expires. If you don't receive a renewal notice, please contact the Business Licensing Service at 1.360.705.6741.

    For those licenses not handled through the Business Licensing Service, contact the regulatory agency listed on your license or permit.