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Business Licenses

Important Notice

The City of Kirkland is now partnering with the State of Washington Business Licensing Service.
Read more about how to apply or renew your business license.

Finding a Kirkland Business

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.



Business License Ordinance  |  Short Term Rentals

Requirements  |  Application Process  |  Home Business  |  Other Licenses  |  Sales Tax Reporting  |  B&O Tax  |  Fee & Renewal Information  |  Additional City Licenses  |  External Links

Please read through the following information before completing your application through the State of Washington:

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.

The City of Kirkland is partnered with the Washington State Department of Revenue, Business License Service (BLS).  This allows you to apply for your State and City licenses at the same location.

    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)


Applying for a Business License

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.

Businesses that have a license renewal date after January 1, 2019, will renew their license through the State BLS portal. Businesses that receive a renewal notice from the City of Kirkland should follow the instructions included on the notice. 

If you have questions about the business license application process, feel free to reach out to the State of Washington at 1-800-647-7706 or via e-mail at bls@dor.wa.gov 

Questions specific to Kirkland business licensing regulations can be directed to the Licensing Division at 425-587-3140 or via the Our Kirkland portal. ​

    Apply For Your Business License    

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.

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Operating a Business from a Private Residence

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.

Other Licenses Required

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:

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County 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

Sales Tax Reporting

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 1-800-647-7706.

Business & Occupation taxes

The City of Kirkland does not levy any type of business and occupation taxes, except for Utility companies. 

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Business License Fee and Renewal Information: 
Businesses Located Inside of Kirkland

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 to calculate your FTE (full time equivalent), multiply this number by $105.00 and add the $100.00 base fee to this total to determine your total licensing fee.

If the annual gross receipts of your business are less than $12,000.00, you are eligible to pay the registration fee of $50.00. No base fee or RGRL 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).

Contact the Business License Division at 425-587-3140 or via the Our Kirkland portal for details concerning your specific situation.

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.

State of Washington business licensing processing fees can be found on the BLS Endorsement Fee Sheet.

Businesses Located Outside of Kirkland

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

Reported Gross Annual Income

License Fee

$0 through $12,000

No License Required

$12,001 or more + 1 or more employee(s)

$100 + $105 per employee

 

If a business based outside of Kirkland does not earn $12,000 in gross receipts annually in this city, no license is required.  Businesses earning over $12,000 in gross receipts within Kirkland city limits will pay a base fee of $100 plus a $105 per employee revenue generating regulatory license (RGRL) based on number of employees working full-time in Kirkland.  (Minimum fee - $205)

State of Washington business licensing processing fees can be found on the BLS Endorsement Fee Sheet.

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Additional City Licenses

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. You may call the City Business Licensing Division at 425-587-3140 if you have questions about any special license that may be required for your business. See the chart below for fees that may apply.  These fees are paid directly to the City of Kirkland.

 

Type Fee Comment

Duration

Amusement Device $50 per device annual
Cabaret (dance) $250
annual
Cabaret (music) $100
annual
Celebration $25
one-time event
Cigarette Machine $50
+$10

per machine
annual
Juke Box $50.00
per machine
annual
Pool Tables $50 per table annual
Public Dance or $100
annual
Public Dance $25
one-time event

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Helpful Links

The following links to various government agencies provide helpful business information:

King County Business Licenses
Public Health-Seattle/King County

Washington State Department of Licensing
Washington State Department of Revenue
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Internal Revenue Service
Social Security
Small Business Administration

The following links to private organizations may provide useful business information. Please read our disclaimer.

Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
Kirkland Downtown on the Lake
Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County
Puget Sound Regional Council
Better Business Bureau

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Finance and Administration
Street Address: 123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
Mailing Address: Utility Billing
P.O. Box 3865, Seattle, Washington 98124-3865

General Inquiries
T. 425.587.3001 | F. 425.587.3019