Business License Application Help

The information you need to know about your business before filling out a paper business license tax certificate application. For further assistance, contact us at or (206) 684-8484.

Information required on the application

The legal name of your business is based on your business type.

If your business type is: Then provide us with:
Sole Proprietor Your legal name
(last name, first name and middle initial)
Corporation Your corporate name
(as filed with the state of Washington)
Partnership The last names of the partners
Limited Liability Company (LLC) Your company name
(as filed with the state of Washington)
Nonprofit Your nonprofit organization name
(as filed with the state of Washington)

If you plan to name your business something other than its legal name, then provide your trade name. A trade name is often called a dba (doing business as). Your business trade name can be different than you business legal name.

Your business or organization is likely one of these six common types:

  • Sole Proprietor
  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Limited Liability Partners (LLP)
  • Nonprofit

If you don't know your business type, check your state of Washington business registration or contact us.

Nonprofits operating in Seattle are typically required to get a business license tax certificate and file a tax return.

Please provide the legal name of the person who will hold the business license tax certificate. Also provide the holder's residential address, telephone number and date of birth.

Some types of businesses list more than one person on their license tax certificate. If your business has multiple owners, partners, officers or agents, then please provide the legal name, residential address, telephone number and date of birth for each person listed.

Please provide the month, day and year that you plan to start doing business in Seattle. You can apply for a business license tax certificate at any time.

Please provide the street address of your primary business location. You must provide a physical location. A post office box or mail drop is not considered a physical location.

Provide a secondary address if you want your tax and license tax certificate mail delivered to a different address. You can also give us special mailing instructions if you want your mail delivered to a specific department or person.

Please provide a detailed description of the products you will be selling or the services you will be providing. We can process your application faster when you provide a detailed description of your business activities.

Some businesses require an additional regulatory license. Examples include taxis, adult entertainment and parking lots, among others. If you need a regulatory license, please contact us. Or visit the website for regulatory licensing information.

If you know it, provide your six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If you don't know your code, please contact us or visit the NAICS website.

Optional application information

To get a Seattle business license tax certificate, you are not required to have a state or federal business identification number. But if you already have any of the following numbers, please provide them.

  • Washington State Unified Business Identifier (UBI)
  • Washington state contractor number
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Seattle Vendor ID Number

Providing your business enterprise status is optional; we only us it for statistical purposes.

If you choose to do so, please provide your certificate number for:

  • Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)
  • Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
  • Minority and Women's Business Enterprise (MWBE)
  • Combination Business Enterprise (CBE)
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

To learn more visit the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises.

City Finance

Jamie Carnell, Interim Director
Address: 700 Fifth Ave., 4th Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34214, Seattle, WA, 98124-4214
Phone: (206) 684-8484
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from City Finance

City Finance manages the financial operations of the City of Seattle and oversees the City’s financial controls and enterprise reporting while working to achieve the goals set by the Mayor and the City Council.