Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(360) 487-8410, Ext. 3
415 W. 6th St.
Vancouver, WA 98660
Business and Special Licenses
If you are conducting business in Vancouver (i.e., your business is located in the city, or it's located outside the city and you have employees that enter the city to conduct business), you must either:
- Hold a current city business license or,
- File a license exemption claim with the city, if qualified.
NOTE: Holding a city business license or claiming the license exemption does not authorize illegal activities.
Certain Vancouver businesses also need to hold a city-issued special license, in addition to holding a city business license or claiming an exemption (see Special Licenses).
ARE YOU WORKING IN CITY LIMITS?
Because some Vancouver addresses are located outside the city in unincorporated areas of Clark County, you should confirm if you are, or will be, working in the city before applying for a city business license or claiming a license exemption. See options below for checking whether or not your work address is in the city limits.
- Enter location address at: City Limits Map, or
- Enter location address & check "Jurisdiction" at: Clark County Property Information Center, or
- Provide location address to Vancouver Business Licensing at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 487-8410 option 3.
CITY BUSINESS LICENSE FEES
Annual fees for a business that holds a city business license (i.e., does not qualify for an exemption), include:
- BASE LICENSE FEE = $125 per location, plus
- SURCHARGE (EMPLOYEE FEE) = $60.00 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee* up to 400 FTEs, not to exceed a total surcharge fee of $24,000 per business.
MINIMUM PER YEAR = $185.00 per location
NOTE: Effective January 1, 2018, surcharge will increase to $70 per FTE* up to 400 FTEs, not to exceed a total surcharge fee of $28,000 per business.
* Definition of “employee” includes: (1) Any person on business’ payroll, including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees; (2) self-employed persons, sole proprietors, owners, managers, and partners; and (3) any person performing work, services, or labor at business, except independent contractors with separate city business licenses and employees of temporary employment agencies with separate city business licenses.
CLAIMING A CITY LICENSE EXEMPTION, IF QUALIFIED
1. Review the exemption criteria listed on the Determination of Exemption Checklist form to determine if you qualify for one or more of the criteria. If do not qualify, complete the steps under the "How to Apply for City Business License" section below.
2. If you do qualify, complete the following steps, for whichever applies to your business.
For an Existing Business - Already Registered with Washington, but not Vancouver:
If your business is already registered with the state, but is new to operating in the city, and your business qualifies for an exemption from the city business license -- claim the exemption, as follows.
- Complete Determination of Exemption Checklist; being sure to include WA State UBI number on form, and
- Submit checklist to city as directed on top of form.
For A New or Existing Business - Not Yet Registered with Washington or Vancouver:
If your business is not yet registered with the state or city, and your business qualifies for an exemption from the city business license -- first, register with the state via the paper application process and, then, claim the exemption with the city, as follows.
- Register with Washington State BLS using paper application process and paper Business License Application found at www.bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx,
- Do not register with state via online application process.
- Do not complete City Addendum when registering with state.
- Upon receipt of a UBI number issued by Washington BLS, complete Determination of Exemption Checklist (see link at right); being sure to include WA State UBI number on form, and
- Submit checklist to city as directed on top of form.
NOTES RE EXEMPTION CLAIMS:
- It is important to retain a copy of your Determination of Exemption Checklist for your records since the city will not send you any paperwork in response to your submittal of the form.
- The city does maintain an inventory of exempt businesses operating in the city.
- Claiming a city license exemption does not waive applicable licensing requirements of Washington State or other jurisdictions.
HOW TO APPLY FOR CITY BUSINESS LICENSE
Businesses that operate in Vancouver and are not qualified for an exemption from the city business license must apply for a city business license either using the online application provess or the paper application process, as described below.
NOTE: For faster processing, apply online.
Follow instructions for applying for a city license at BLS's City of Vancouver License website, or
Download and complete Business License Application and City Addendum forms at the BLS City of Vancouver License website, or pick up forms up at 1st Floor Customer Service Desk, City Hall, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660.
Mail completed application and addendum, along with check or money order for Total Amount Due, to address on application form.
NOTE: Applications and renewals are not accepted at City Hall.
HOW TO REQUEST A REFUND, IF APPLICABLE
After applying, for a city business license, if you determine you obtained the license in error or overpaid the employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the city license fees.
To request a refund, send an email to: email@example.com with the following information:
- Washington State UBI number,
- full business name,
- location and mailing addresses,
- date fees paid to Washington State BLS,
- requested refund amount,
- reason for error in applying for license or miscalculation of fees, and
- name and phone number of authorized contact person.
LICENSE APPLICATION QUESTIONS -- Contact Washington State BLS:
LICENSE EXEMPTION & SPECIAL LICENSE REGULATIONS QUESTIONS -- Contact Vancouver Business Licensing:
Phone: 360-487-8410 option 3