Hans Kasper, MS-CPA, PS

Washington Master Business License


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Once youíve decided on the legal form your business will take, then you will register with the government agencies .

Washington State wants to know about you.  The state agencies want to know what kind of a business you will be running, whether or not you will be collecting sales tax, and whether you will have employees. Every business in Washington is required to pay business and occupation taxes (B & O) to the state, whether or not you are required to collect sales taxes.  You can contact the Dept of Revenue  by phone, fax or email. They will send you a Master Business Application and a packet of information about state agencies to get you started.  The Master Business Application files your business name and entity with the state for a small fee, and through it notifies all the other state agencies (Employment Security  Department and Department of Labor & Industries) that have anything to do with employees or taxes.

Your business may also need some specialty licenses, for example, contracting or liquor licenses that can also be obtained through other departments within the state.

Although it looks intimidating, the form is actually quite easy to fill out.  (See the sample on the next page.)  Most of it is information regarding your business name and address, the type of products or services you will provide, and what type of business entity you will be.  If you donít anticipate hiring employees, you can disregard the portion on employment.

Once you have registered with the state you will be assigned a UBI  (Unified Business Identifier ).  The UBI is a nine-digit number that identifies your business and stays with you as long as you operate your business under the same business structure.  If you change your business structure from, say, a sole proprietor  to a corporation, you must apply for a new UBI number and complete a new Master Business Application.

You will need the UBI number to purchase materials and supplies for resale free of sales tax.  This number will also be used to generate your monthly, quarterly, or annual state Business & Occupation tax return, which includes sales and use tax.

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This page was last updated on 05/13/2010



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