What people are asking us

Like to see what business questions people have asked?

Not usually; Contact the Department of Labor and Industries to inquire (360-902-6901), review the LNI web page on self-insurance (https://lni.wa.gov/insurance/insurance-requirements/how-to-get-a-workers-compensation-account/#owner-officer-and-exempt-employments-coverage), and we also recommend reviewing the Employers' Guide to Workers' Compensation Insurance in Washington State (https://lni.wa.gov/agency/site-search/?query=F213-042-000&pg=1&index=Forms_Pubs) and the Employers' Guide to Self-Insurance in Washington State (https://lni.wa.gov/agency/site-search/?query=F213-112-000&pg=1&index=Forms_Pubs)
If an out-of-state business is hiring an employee in Washington state, the business needs to apply for a Washington State Business License (https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license) as well as set up the Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. The business will also need to report each Washington employee through the New Hire Reporting Program of the Department of Social and Health Services within 20 days of hire unless their company is listed as a multi-state employer (https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support/new-hire-reporting). The business may also need to register with the Washington state Secretary of State (https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/faq---do-i-need-to-register-my-business-in-washington-state.aspx).
There is no fee for applying or renewing a Reseller Permit. Recommend visiting: https://apps.oria.wa.gov/permithandbook/permitdetail/202, for information on the Reseller Permit and contacting the Reseller Subject Matter expert at: 360-902-7137 or reseller@dor.wa.gov for additional assistance.
All businesses hiring employees are required to register for workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. Register by completing, or updating, your Business License Application with Business Licensing Services, and checking the boxes to indicate you have, or plan to hire employees (https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license). After filing your application, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Employment Security Department will send you information about employee quarterly report forms.
No, In Washington state you cannot convert a sole-proprietor businesses into a structured entity (i.e., corporation). You will need to open the corporation as a new business. To do this, you need to complete 3 steps:

1. You first register your new corporation with the Secretary of State's (SOS) Office. You can file online (https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/), the SOS Office will then issue you a new Unified Business Identifier (UBI) for the corporation.
2. Use the new UBI number to create a new business license through the Department of Revenue using the Business Licensing System (https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license).
3. You will also need to reapply for any applicable specialty, and/or city endorsements (for example, Nursery endorsements). You will probably need to re-apply for all of the licenses you currently have. For example, if you are a building contractor, you will need to reapply for your contractor’s license with the Department of Labor and Industries.
A UBI number is a 9-digit number that registers you with several state agencies and allows you to do business in Washington State. A UBI number is sometimes called a tax registration number, a business registration number, or a business license number. Use the Business License Application to apply for a UBI number.
Sole proprietors who aren’t employers usually don’t have to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). However, all other business types must apply for this registration whether they have employees or not. For more information about who needs an EIN or how to apply, visit the Internal Revenue Service (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98350,00.html).
L&I enforces the state's minimum wage law. A voter-approved initiative (I-1433) passed in 2016 raising the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour in 2017 and continues to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, $13.50 in 2020. Starting in the year 2021, the initiative requires a cost-of-living increase for Washington's minimum wage each year. See more about minimum wage (https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/wages/minimum-wage/).
The paid sick leave law and all applicable rules go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Yes. Almost all employers must provide paid sick leave to their employees, unless the employer only has workers who are exempt from Chapter 49.46 RCW – Minimum Wage Act, which includes the paid sick leave requirements.
Liability Insurance is not required as a general rule; however, it is recommended for a sole-proprietorship because it does not provide the same protection against lawsuits as a Corporation or Limited Liability Company. One exception to this rule is if you are registered as a general or specialty contractor with the Department of Labor and Industries (https://lni.wa.gov/licensing-permits/contractors/register-as-a-contractor/). We recommend using the Business Licensing Wizard located at http://secure.dor.wa.gov/gteunauth/?Link=wiz, to determine if there are any other business types that require liability insurance.

For information on business insurance, visit: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/business-insurance
To file your state business tax return online with the Department of Revenue go to My DOR page at https://secure.dor.wa.gov/home/
To set up your account visit: https://secure.dor.wa.gov/home/Account/Register to create a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account for use on My DOR.

For Additional information on SAW user accounts visit: https://dor.wa.gov/about/my-dor-help/get-started#SAW.
Yes, you must still file your tax return by using one of the follow options:
• Express file online at dor.wa.gov/expressfilenobiz. No login required.
• E-file a "no business” return online using our tax filing system, My DOR. Simply log into My DOR. You will need to have access to your tax
• Phone: To use our automated system at any time call 1-800-647-7706. At the greeting enter 1 at each prompt, your 9-digit tax Account ID/UBI
number, and then follow the instructions.
• Mail: Check the “no business activity” box at the top of your tax return, sign, date, and mail to the address listed at the top of your return.

For assistance contact Department of Revenue (DOR) using one of the following options:
1. Visit a local Department of Revenue field office - see https://dor.wa.gov/contact-us/local-offices
2. Call DOR at 1-800-647-7706. Tax specialists are there to help Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Automated services to file a no
business tax return are available 24 hours a day.

Would you like to browse common permitting questions?

If you are looking for a water supply for a project or want to make changes to an existing water right, visit: https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Water-rights and contact your regional Department of Ecology office with additional questions. 

To install a mooring buoy on state-owned aquatic lands, you will need authorization from the state Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR).   You may also need additional permits; however, this is the first step.  Residential landowners adjacent to state-aquatic lands may qualify for a free buoy.  If you don’t qualify for a free buoy, you can apply for a Mooring Buoy License.   For more information, visit DNR’s mooring buoy webpage, and for assistance, contact DNR at 360-902-1074 or via email at buoy@dnr.wa.gov

 To apply: 

  1. Fill out the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) and Attachment E:  Click here for forms & attachments

  1. Use the JARPA Buoy Guidance to help you complete your application. 

  1. Before applying for any other permits, send your completed application and other documents to DNR. 

Mail your completed application with a $25.00 Application Fee to:

DNR, Aquatic Resources Division
Attn: Mooring Buoy Program
1111 Washington ST SE; MS: 47021
Olympia, WA 98501 

  1. DNR will review your application and contact you with any additional requirements, questions or provide you with your next steps. 

The Gold and Fish Pamphlet serves as the permit for freshwater mineral prospecting and mining activities as described in it. 
For more information, visit: https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/hpa/types/prospecting and contact the Washington State  Department of Fish and Wildlife at 360-902-2200 with additional questions 

Typically, if you are doing work in or near water, a Shoreline permit is required from your local jurisdiction (city/county) planning department.  We recommend contacting them first as they should be able to assist you with any other required permits and would most likely be the lead agency if a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review is required. 

Depending on the location and other factors, a permit may be also be required from the following agencies: 

  • Department of Ecology

  • Department of Natural Resources 

  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife 

  • US Army Corp of Engineers 

  • US Coast Guard 

To streamline the environmental permitting process, several regulatory agencies joined together to create one application that can be used to apply for more than one permit at a time, titled: The Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application or JARPA.   For more information, visit: http://epermitting.wa.gov

Here are some general questions we've been asked

The Temporary License Permit allows vehicle owners to operate their unlicensed vehicles on public roadways for up to three consecutive days.  You may obtain a Trip Permit using the self-issue online permitting program or contact any authorized permitting agents for assistance.  


For more information, visit https://apps.oria.wa.gov/permithandbook/permitdetail/186 

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Email: help@oria.wa.gov

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