Apply for a Business License

The City of Kirkland is now partnering with the State of Washington Business Licensing Service.

You may obtain information about any business licensed by the City of Kirkland by accessing the
Washington State Department of Revenue website.   
You will need to know the business name or address to search this database.

If you would like to report an unlicensed Kirkland business, please visit the OurKirkland portal

Business License Ordinance(PDF, 882KB)  |  Short Term Rentals

Business License Requirement

The City is pleased that you have chosen Kirkland as the place to operate your business. The State of Washington and Kirkland Licensing Division are available to assist you with your business license application. A city business license is required prior to opening a business.

As the City of Kirkland has partnered with the Washington State Department of Revenue, Business License Service (BLS), you can now apply for your State and City licenses at the same time.

Apply For Your Business License

Business license fees help pay for services that businesses need including those provided through the City’s Economic Development Program. To learn more about why the City collects a business tax, what services are supported by the tax and how Kirkland compares to other cities, read the “License Fee Supports Business Services” handout. City of Kirkland Business License Fee(PDF, 264KB)

Businesses that are currently not licensed and doing business in Kirkland will need to apply for a business license with the City of Kirkland through the Washington Business Licensing Service’s (BLS) one-stop online business licensing portal. If you would like to fill out the application by hand, you can print out a form here.

The application process takes approximately 8-10 business days if all information and payments are submitted correctly.  If the application indicates any problem areas, the department concerned will contact the business owner and work through questions the City may have.

A City of Kirkland Business License is required if you are operating a business from your home located within the City limits. The Planning Department will review any land use/zoning issues as part of your license application.  You may contact the Planning Department at 425-587-3600 for more information.

A Washington State Business License is required in addition to your City License. Applications for both are available through the State BLS portal. Helpful information about licensing your business in Washington State is also available on the State of Washington Department of Licensing website.

Depending on the type of business, you may need additional state or local licenses:

Be aware that some Kirkland postal addresses are not within the City limits. A King County license may be required for certain businesses located in unincorporated King County. King County does not require licenses for all businesses. If your business is located outside the City limits, and no activity is being performed in city limits, check with King County at 206-296-3504 for licensing requirements. A license from the State of Washington is also required.

Any retail sales tax generated in Kirkland needs to be reported to the Washington State Department of Revenue, under sales tax code #1716. Phone number to reach Department of Revenue is 360-705-6705.

The City of Kirkland does not levy any type of business and occupation taxes, except for Utility(PDF, 26KB) companies. 


The business license fee consists of two parts: a base fee of $100 and a revenue generating regulatory license (RGRL) based on number of employees. If you have part-time employees, you may use the table on the business license fee worksheet(PDF, 141KB) to calculate your FTE (full time equivalent), multiply this number by $130.00 and add the $100.00 base fee to this total to determine your total licensing fee.  A $90.00 registration fee is paid to the Department of Revenue for new businesses.

If the annual gross receipts of your business are less than $20,000.00, you are eligible to pay the registration fee of $90.00 for new businesses to the Department of Revenue. A base fee of $50.00 would be due in this case.

Some entities may claim an exemption from the license fees but registration and annual renewal of information are required. These businesses include:

  • Non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3). (A copy of the 501(c)(3)is required) 
  • Religious entities (only the core religious functions are exempt)
  • Governmental entities (only activities that are exclusively government related are exempt).

Business licenses are valid for one year from month of issuance. A renewal notice will be mailed approximately 45 days prior to expiration date of the current license.

Low-income business owners who reside in and operate their business in Kirkland are eligible for a 50% discount on the $100.00 base fee in the form of a rebate through the Kirkland Cares Low-Income Support Program. Please visit the program website for more information.

The license for a business operating in this city, but based outside of Kirkland, is determined by gross annual income earned within city limits. 

Reporter Gross Annual Income       License Fee
$0 through $2,000       $0
$2,001 through $20,000       $50
$20,001 or more + 1 or more employee(s)       $100 + $130 per employee


If a business based outside of Kirkland does not earn $2,000 in gross receipts annually in this city, a license is required, but there is no registration fee.  Businesses earning $2,001 through $20,000 in gross receipts within Kirkland city limits will pay a registration fee of $50.  Businesses that exceed $20,000 in gross receipts within Kirkland city limits will pay a base fee of $100 plus a $130 per employee revenue generating regulatory license (RGRL) based on number of employees working full-time in Kirkland (Minimum fee - $230).  A registration fee is paid for new businesses to the Department of Revenue of $90.00.


Certain activities require additional city licenses. Included are cabaret licenses for live music or live music and dancing, and licenses for cigarette machines, amusement and electronic game devices, juke boxes, and pool tables. See the chart below for fees that may apply. These fees are paid directly to the City of Kirkland.

Type     Fee     Comment     Duration
Amusement     $50     per device     annual
Cabaret (dance)     $250         annual
Cabaret (music)     $100         annual
Celebration     $25         one-time event
Cigarette Machine    


+ $10



per machine

Juke Box     $50     per machine     annual
Pool Tables     $50     per table     annual
Public Dance or     $100         annual
Public Dance     $25         One-time event