Monday, September 17, 2018

BLS Partner Update - September

BLS presents at WFOA conference this week

BLS will join the Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA) annual conference on Wednesday, Sept. 19. BLS is part of the presentation “Preparing to Streamline your City’s Business License” at 11:10 a.m. in the Vancouver Conference Center. The content will help cities manage the conditions of Chapter 35.90 RCW, the new law aimed at making licensing easier for Washington businesses.

AWC is best resource for model ordinance implementation

The model ordinance language that municipalities must adopt was composed and vetted by experts at the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). The association led a stakeholder group to standardize the definition of engaging in business and create an income threshold at which cities could require an out-of-city business to register for a local business license. BLS cities have a deadline of Oct. 17 for adoption. Others have a Dec. 31 deadline.
Got questions? Visit the AWC website, review its resource paper or contact the experts at 360.753.4137.

2019 fee changes require advance notice

As your city considers its 2019 budget, remember that changes to business licensing fees and requirements *cannot* immediately take effect. Under RCW 35.90, BLS may make programming changes “no sooner than 75 days” after getting notification. Email to obtain the Partner Change Request form needed to update BLS of change to your license process. We will help you get started and plan the effective dates for any changes your city makes.

New disclaimer on reports Launchpad

Most taxpayer information is confidential and bound by conditions of state and federal law. As a reminder, we have posted this disclaimer on the reports Launchpad: “Partner Reports - Contain confidential information. Unauthorized disclosure is subject to penalty under law. RCW 19.02.115; RCW 82.32.330.”

Thursday, September 13, 2018

'Christmastown, USA' connects to BLS

Surrounded by acres of evergreen trees, the city of Shelton is nicknamed "Christmastown, USA" due to its best-selling seasonal offering – Christmas trees.

Today, the Business Licensing Service (BLS) welcomes "Christmastown" and its nearly 1,700 businesses to state's business licensing one-stop.

Shelton, the westernmost city on Puget Sound, has linked its commerce community with more than a dozen South Sound cities that streamline applications and renewals with BLS. Businesses can now link required registrations  such as those needed to sell live Christmas trees   required state license to the city of Shelton's general business license thanks to BLS partnership.

Another South Sound city  Yelm  joins next week. 

BLS helps businesses manage more than 400 different required registrations via the secure My DOR portal, which is also used for state tax reporting. Find out more at

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lewis County's Twin Cities Connect Businesses

The twin commerce centers of Lewis County are now more closely connected than ever.

The state Business Licensing Service today welcomes Chehalis and its nearly 1000 business to the local partnership that combines licensing to streamline service to business.

Centralia joined the partnership in early August and neighboring city Napavine will join in 2019. Next year, businesses operating in all three cities can renew their local licenses in a single online process to save time and effort.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Option 1 or Option 2: Adopt your ordinance by Oct. 17

BLS City Partners--

Here's a quick rundown of your next steps for implementing the model ordinance required by Chapter 35.90.080 RCW.
This ordinance impacts non-resident businesses in your city, which means it affects only the businesses that do not have a location in city limits. 
The new rules start in January so non-resident businesses will better understand if they are subject to your city's licensing requirements.


  • Oct. 17, 2018: Adopt the ordinance and threshold by this deadline (BLS cities only).
  • Jan. 1, 2019: Model ordinance for "engaging in business" and income threshold to require licensing are implemented.


  • Option 1: License Exempt Under Threshold license with a fee charged only to out-of-city businesses that exceed a revenue threshold of $2000 (or greater depending on your city's requirements). Businesses that don't exceed the income threshold won't get your city license.
  • Option 2: No-Fee Under Threshold license for non-resident businesses below a revenue threshold of $2000 or greater depending on your city's requirements. 

By now you know you must adopt the model ordinance language and a revenue threshold at which businesses are required to seek a business license in your city.

If your city will require licenses for businesses outside city limits after January 1, 2019, you may choose from two license types. You may also choose not to license out-of-city businesses.

We recommend contacting Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for guidance on code adoption. See the AWC's White Paper here. AWC Phone: 360.753.4137

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Partnership Plan Updated for Fiscal Year 2019

The state Business Licensing Service has published a Fiscal Year 2019 update to its 2018-2019 Partnership Plan.

The new plan, which advances the plan first issued in December, lists more cities for prospective partnership through June 2019. It also adjusts the report cycle to coincide with Washington State's fiscal year of July through June. The list of current partners is on the BLS website.

BLS will continue to provide progress reports to lawmakers and stakeholders each year as required under Chapter 35.90 RCW.

Our team is working to add more than 140 cities to partnership by the end of December 2022. Cities wishing to join BLS partnership in Fiscal Year 2020 should contact BLS Partnership Services at or 360.705.6777.

32+ cities will be added in FY 2020. Some have begun the partnership process.
Another 16+ partnership "slots" remain for FY 2020.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Model Ordinance - Requesting Your New BLS License Type

BLS City Partners -

We are preparing to handle changes necessary to implement the model ordinance and threshold standards required by Chapter 35.90.080 RCW. This change affects non-resident businesses, which are businesses that don't have a location in your city limits.

If your city will requires licenses non-resident businesses in 2019 you may choose from two license types with BLS.

Option 1: License Exempt Under Threshold license with a fee charged only to non-resident businesses that exceed a revenue threshold of $2000 (or greater depending on your city's requirements). Businesses not exceeding the income threshold will not get your city license.

Option 2: No-Fee Under Threshold license for non-resident businesses below a revenue threshold of $2000 or greater depending on your city's requirements. 

You may also choose not to license out-of-city businesses at all.

Important: You must have your code updated and approved by Oct. 17, 2018, including notifying BLS of the changes.

The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) led the work on implementation of the model ordinance and threshold limits. Connect to AWC for guidance on code review and adoption.

AWC White Paper (pdf)

AWC Phone: 360.753.4137
AWC Staff Contacts:
Andrew Pittelkau - Government Relations Analyst 
Victoria Lincoln – Government Relations Advocate
Sheila Gall– General Counsel

~ BLS Partnership Services

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Centralia adds service to boost business licensing

The place where the Skookumchuck River pours into the Chehalis River became an important Northern Pacific railroad station in the late 19th Century. It gave rise to a new city along the rail line. Sitting midway between Seattle and Portland, the city was aptly incorporated as Centralia in 1886, just three years before Washington State joined the union.

Today, Centralia joins the union of cities connecting commerce and licensing compliance as part of the state's Business Licensing Service (BLS).

Home to more than 1500 businesses, the biggest community in Lewis County joins its Southwest Washington neighbors in Thurston, Cowlitz, and Clark counties. The contiguous city of Chehalis also joins BLS this month. Local businesses can now apply for licenses in nearly 80 cities in a single process with a streamlined annual renewal for both state and city registrations.