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Business license services in King County

Department of Permitting and Environmental Services (DPER)

The Permitting Department 
35030 SE Douglas St., Ste. 210
Snoqualmie, WA 98065

Phone:  206-296-6600
TTY:  206-296-7217

Frequently Asked Questions about King County business licenses

How do I know if I need a King County business license?

You will need a King County business license only if you operate a business engaged in a regulated activity within unincorporated King County (see Title 6* of the King County Code). Unincorporated areas are those outside of any city limits. Examples of regulated activities are amusement parks and places, amusement devices, carnivals, go-cart tracks, video games, pool tables, outdoor and indoor entertainment, dances, adult entertainment establishments, massage and bathhouse businesses, process servers, secondhand dealers, pawnshops, charitable organizations, taxicabs and drivers, pet shops, kennels, grooming businesses, or theaters. For more information, go to types of licenses.

Note also that businesses operating in King County come under the jurisdiction of State, County, and, where applicable, City regulations. The location of the business, as well as the nature and scope of the business, determines what types of business licenses are required, and businesses must be in compliance with zoning code regulations.

The State of Washington requires that all businesses operating in the State get a State of Washington master business license (external link). Additionally, any business operating within the city limits of any city in King County may be required to have a city business license. If your business is located or operating within city limits, please consult your telephone directory to contact the appropriate city department.

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How do I get a King County business license?

Get business licenses for the following regulated activities within unincorporated King County at the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (Permitting), located in Snoqualmie:

Information and application forms for these business licenses also are available at the links above. For questions, contact the Permitting Department at 206-296-6600 or visit our office at 35030 SE Douglas Street, Suite 210, Snoqualmie, Washington 98065-9266.

Get the business licenses listed below through Records and Licensing Services, whose main office is located in downtown Seattle:

  • Pet businesses
  • Kennels
  • Hobby kennels
  • Guard dogs, trainers & purveyors
  • Process servers
  • Taxicabs and for-hire drivers.

King County Records and Licensing Services is in the King County Administration Building in Seattle at 500 - 4th Avenue, Room 401. For further information, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/RALS.aspx  or call 206-296-2710.

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Where do I go to apply for a King County business license?

The Department of Permitting, located at 35030 SE Douglas Street, Suite 210, Snoqualmie, Washington 98065-9266,  processes applications for the following business licenses. Please refer to the links below for application forms and instructions. Some have online applications available. Contact the Department of Permitting at 206-296-6600 for application assistance.

King County Records and Licensing Services in downtown Seattle processes applications for the following business licenses:

  • Pet businesses
  • Kennels
  • Hobby kennels
  • Guard dogs, trainers & purveyors
  • Process servers
  • Taxicabs and for-hire drivers.

The main King County Records and Licensing Services office is located in the King County Administration Building in Seattle at 500 - 4th Avenue, Room 401. For further information, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/RALS.aspx or call 206-296-2710.

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What activities are allowed with a King County business license?

Regulated activities are defined in Title 6* of the King County Code.

If your business premises will be located within unincorporated King County, outside the city limits of any city within King County, your business must be compatible with the zoning or permitted uses allowed. Regulated businesses must comply with the zoning requirements for their location. Zoning requirements may differ from location to location. Please contact King County Zoning at 206-296-6600 to determine if your business is allowed. See Title 6 of the King County Code for additional details about regulated activities.

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What is a regulated business activity in King County?

Examples of regulated activities for businesses in unincorporated King County include: amusement parks and places, amusement devices, carnivals, go-cart tracks, video games, pool tables, outdoor and indoor entertainment, dances, adult entertainment establishments, massage and bathhouse businesses, process servers, secondhand dealers, pawnshops, charitable organizations, taxicabs and drivers, pet shops, kennels, grooming businesses, or theaters (see Title 6* of the King County Code).

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How much does a King County business license cost?

Business license fees vary, according to the type of business activity. License fees are established by ordinance by the King County Council. Current license fees can be found in Title 6* of the King County Code. For business licenses issued by the Department of Permitting, also see the individual types of licenses and their application forms.

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Do I need to renew my King County business license?

Many King County business licenses require annual renewal. For those business licenses issued by the Department of Permitting, please refer to the individual license listed at types of licenses, or call the Department of Permitting customer service at 206-296-6600.

For King County business licenses issued by the King County Licensing Section, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/business/licenses.aspx or call 206-296-2710.

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What taxes will I be required to pay if I get a King County business license?

Businesses operating in unincorporated King County come under the jurisdiction of Washington State and King County. Business owners are responsible for compliance with current applicable tax laws.

All businesses in King County are required to file a personal property tax affidavit (see King County personal property tax information for more details).

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Do I need to get a King County business license if I already have a Washington state master business license?

If your business is engaged in a regulated activity within unincorporated King County, you will need a King County business license in addition to the Washington state master business license. King County does not require a general business license for non-regulated activity, however.

Examples of regulated activities include: amusement parks and places, amusement devices, carnivals, go-cart tracks, video games, pool tables, outdoor and indoor entertainment, dances, adult entertainment establishments, massage and bathhouse businesses, process servers, secondhand dealers, pawnshops, charitable organizations, taxicabs and drivers, pet shops, kennels, grooming businesses, or theaters (see Title 6* of the King County Code).

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What are the consequences if I do not license my regulated business activity in unincorporated King County?

If your business is located within unincorporated King County, outside the city limits of any city within King County, your business must be compatible with the zoning or permitted uses allowed. Regulated businesses must comply with the zoning requirements for their location. Zoning requirements may differ from location to location. Violations are subject to code enforcement action. For information regarding licensing requirements or zoning questions for unincorporated King County, please call the Department of Permitting at 206-296-6600.

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Can I find out if a business in unincorporated King County has a current business license?

Yes, contact the Department of Permitting at 206-296-6600 for the business licenses that the Department of Permitting issues for unincorporated King County, listed at types of licenses. Or, visit the the Department of Permitting office at 35030 SE Douglas Street, Suite 210, Snoqualmie, WA  98065-9266.  For business licenses issued by King County http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/RALS.aspx, call 206-296-2710.

Also, the State of Washington requires that all businesses operating in the State get a State of Washington master business license (external link). To inquire if a business is licensed by the State, please call the State Department of Revenue at 1-800-647-7706 or go online to www.dol.wa.gov/business/checkstatus.html (external link). Additionally, any business operating within the city limits of any city in King County may be required to have a city business license. To contact cities, please consult your telephone directory.

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To request information in alternate formats for people with disabilities, call 206-296-6600 or TTY Relay:  711.

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For more information

The Permitting Department can address questions only about the types of business licenses that it issues (see list).

For general business license questions, you must contact Washington State business licensing at 360-664-1400.

Related topics


External links

Washington State: