Thursday, January 23, 2020

Cle Elum: Year-Round Playground Boosts Local Business with BLS

Famous for fishing, camping, and rafting, the Yakima River
past Cle Elum on its path to the mighty Columbia.
(Source: Getty images)
A year-round destination for recreation and relaxation, the city of Cle Elum is boosting local business with a partnership in the state Business Licensing Service (BLS).

Cle Elum, population 1,800 in Kittitas County, is 80 miles east of Seattle. It's a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts who like to hike, ski, fish, or boat due to its location amid mountains, lakes and rivers. It's a stone's throw from popular resort properties, state parks, and national forests.

Hiking and camping are all-season activities in
Teanaway Ridge, an alpine forest just north of Cle Elum.
(Source: Getty images)
Hundreds of small and independent businesses may now sync up local license renewals with required state licenses, as well as with licenses in cities such as North Bend, Ellensburg, and more than 100 other Washington communities.

Welcome, Cle Elum!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

BLS is putting on the city of Ritzville

The Business Licensing Service today is proud to welcome the city of Ritzville as the newest partner in the state's one-stop licensing clearinghouse.

With wide-open skies and a population of 1,600, Ritzville in Adams County is 60 miles west of Spokane along Interstate 90. Its downtown core is home to five buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and dozens of locally owned enterprises.

Also joining this month is the city of Cle Elum, which is 150 miles west of Ritzville along I-90. The final January partner is Brewster on the shores of Lake Pateros in north central Washington.
Ritzville lays claim to many historic buildings
and the Adams County Courthouse.
(source: wikimedia commons)

Monday, January 13, 2020

BLS website merging with Revenue website

We are in the final stages of merging the Business Licensing Service (BLS) website into the Department of Revenue (DOR) website.

Once completed, Washington state businesses can find all their business license and tax needs in one place. Merging the two sites allows users access to the robust search functions to find business license information easily. Also, all BLS information will be mobile-friendly.

If you are on and access the city and state endorsement information, and/or business license application instructions, you will be redirected to All BLS forms are available on both sites.

The merge will be completed during the second weekend of February. All content will be moved at that time. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Eureka! Historic mining town Republic strikes BLS gold

The city of Republic stakes its claim today as the newest local partner in the Washington state's Business Licensing Service (BLS).

Once called Eureka Gulch, Republic grew quickly 120 years ago when gold was discovered in the hills between Wauconda and Sherman passes in the Okanogan National Forest.

Today, the city has struck customer service gold for its commerce by adding the streamlined solution that links city and state licensing in combined application and renewal processes.

BLS now pledges allegiance to 116 city partners, including Republic, for which it planned. Our system has earned the nod with its "one-stop" service for businesses and local control for all.

A brick building in the town center is home to Republic Drug,
which first opened to customers in 1904.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 is a record-breaking year for BLS local partnerships

Spokane licenses more than
22,000 businesses with BLS

33 is the magic number

The state Department of Revenue's Business Licensing Service (BLS) is capping a record-breaking year with 33 new local partnerships in 2019. Now serving 115 communities, these local partnerships stretch from Bellingham to Walla Walla and from Pacific County to Spokane County across Washington's 71,362 square miles.


Declaration of interdependence

Timelapse photo of BLS partners
Cashmere and Wenatchee.
Cities and towns accepting the free BLS service made big improvements in their business communities through the unique system that integrates hundreds of state and local licenses in a single environment to help businesses of all sizes get up-and-running quickly. Business principals access online support through the secure My DOR interface and other personal services available weekdays by phone, live chat, email, fax, and in-person at any of the 13 regional Revenue offices statewide

With an interconnected license process, prospective business owners can apply for local business licenses in various cities where they conduct business at the same time they manage any of hundreds of regulatory licenses –  such as liquor licenses and minor work permits – administered by separate state agencies.


One system to serve them all

City of Kirkland and its 10,000 businesses joined BLS in 2018
Cape Disappointment is near Ilwaco, the
furthest southwest of BLS partner cities
BLS scales to the need, supporting cities with only a few dozen merchants, while also serving as the administrative backbone for business licensing in larger metro areas with more than 35,000 complex enterprises both within and across neighboring jurisdictions. 

In every case, each city get its full amount of license fee revenue deposited via the state Treasurer funding process within days of a license application or renewal filing. In addition to financial processing, renewal notices, and delinquent collections, license issuance is handled by BLS, saving cities postage, paper, and personnel resources while they retain full regulatory authority and control over their jurisdiction.

2020 Vision: More BLS partnerships coming into focus

Map of Washington cities that issue a local license
Click to enlarge

Over the next two years, BLS will add more than 60 new municipal partners creating an integrated state and local licensing network unrivaled globally. Businesses located in these future city partners will use the straightforward online application process connected to the state's tax reporting portal to bypass hurdles to save valuable time they can dedicate to their bottom line.

Business Rule #1: The customer is always right

BLS grew from 51 local partners
at the end of 2011 to 115 in 2019.
Another 38 will join in 2020.

"The service is popular with businesses that save time and effort," said Federal Way Finance Director Adé Ariwoola, MBA, who has 30 years of public sector experience on his resume.
"They quickly apply for and renew their state and local licenses in one process. They like getting their tasks done all at once."
Ade Ariwoola,
Federal Way
Finance Director

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Business Lookup site adds CAPTCHA

For security purposes, the Revenue Business Lookup website is adding a CAPTCHA checkbox before users can submit a query.

The Completely Automated Public Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA)  better known as the “I’m not a robot checkbox”  will block intruders from slowing system performance for users like you who need to quickly search for information on licenses, tax accounts, governing people, trade names, and reseller permits. 

The service is now live at

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Camas starts new partnership with BLS

Camas flowers like these are commonly found along the
lower Columbia River.
The city of Camas today is the newest city partner in the Business Licensing Service.
Camas in Clark County is just east of Vancouver and home to several hundred businesses.

Named for a native Northwest flower, the city of Camas is connected to 114 other BLS partners including dozens along the mighty Columbia River that runs through Washington State and along most of its southern border including the city of Camas.

Welcome, Camas.