Thursday, July 26, 2012

Field office changes coming

The Business Licensing Service will remove field office locations from the BLS website and list only the Tumwater BLS office for the physical drop-off location for Business License Applications.

The goal is to have virtually all filing completed electronically and to no longer accept them in the field offices. This will improve speed and accuracy and result in faster turnaround times for businesses. The change also impacts Labor and Industries (LNI), Employment Security (ESD), as well as Department of Revenue offices, which will no longer be listed as drop-off sites.

For those that choose not to apply or renew online, they may to mail paperwork to BLS headquarters in Tumwater. BLS will encourage people to use kiosks or a computer to file online.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Working the BLS Website Tonight - 7 pm - 9 pm


Our systems maintenance work continues this week. BLS applications and renewals will be unavailable after 7 p.m. Thursday. We expect the down time to last just an hour or two.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Welcome, Bellingham - Our Newest BLS Partner.

It’s a city of more than 75,000 with west-facing hillsides looking out toward the San Juan Islands. It’s the seat of Whatcom County. And it's the former home to two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank.

Now, it’s the newest partner of the Business Licensing Service. Today, we welcome Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement.

Our excitement is not subdued. We’re pleased as punch to have Bellingham join more than 50 other Washington cities in combined licensing to streamline processes for both businesses and local governments.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

UPDATED: Online Applications Down Briefly at 6 p.m.

At 9:16 p.m. Thursday, we got this message from our IT experts.

"Our network, VOIP phones, and applications are back up and appear to be operating normally."

We hope you and your businesses were not negatively impacted.

Partners --

A heads up for you all. The Dept of Revenue is doing some network maintenance at 6 p.m. this evening, July 12. The outage is expected to last one hour.

Several systems will be down this evening including the online licensing application at

Other systems affected are:

If you have questions or get comments from businesses, please remember you can reach us by email or phone, 360.705.6777.

Thanks in advance for your patience.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Local B&O Payments vs. State B&O Payments

Should a business Pay Local B&O?

That depends on where that business goes.

Many Washington cities impose a local Business and Occupation (B&O) tax. This tax is in addition to the B&O tax imposed by the state of Washington.

The state Department of Revenue and its Business Licensing Service do not administer or collect local B&O taxes.

State and local B&O are not the same either in rates or to what business activities are taxable.

The 39 cities listed below levy a local B&O tax. Click on the chart to get the rates and activities from the Association of Washington Cities’ website.


Need a tax issue clarified? Got a licensing question for BLS? Tell us!  Email

Monday, July 2, 2012

Find a Local Sales Tax Rate - There's an App for That


The local sales tax rate in Washington can be different from one side of the street to the other.

So, how can a contractor or delivery person know if the rate is.078 or .087 where he's standing?

Well, there's an app for that.

The Department of Revenue created its first app for users to look up sales and use tax rates for any Washington location from an iPhone or iPad.

It's free, of course! Find it at

It will help businesses that make deliveries or provide retail services in different locations.

Use GPS, street addresses, or zip codes to look up rates. Save the information to a list, or forward it to another phone or email address – making the transfer of information from a job site or delivery location to a main office quick and easy.

Tell your friends, customers, and local businesses to download the app today. Look for the Android version in the Google Play marketplace within a few months.