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
Information and requirements for a City of Vancouver business license (or possible business license exemption), and special licenses, are presented below and in the menu at the left.
CITY BUSINESS LICENSE FEES
Per VMC Sections 5.04.090-095, for a business that is required to hold a city business license (it is not exempt), city business license fees include:
- BASE LICENSE FEE: $125.00 per business, 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.
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.
CITY-STATE PARTNERSHIP FOR CITY BUSINESS LICENSING
Vancouver is partnered with Washington State Department of Revenue, Business Licensing Service (BLS), to administer the city's business licenses. Benefits include:
- One point of contact for city and state business licensing.
- Online application and renewal processes.
- One license issued by Washington State reflecting all applicable local licenses and endorsements, including Vancouver business license.
BLS's online application system is experiencing technical difficulties; it is not allowing new Vancouver businesses to apply for a state license without also obtaining a city business license, even if the business qualifies for an exemption from the city business license, as described below.
Therefore, until further notice, if you are a new Vancouver business that is exempt from a city business license, you will need to apply for your state license via paper application -- see link to the paper application on the "Apply for a State Business License"link below. NOTE: Do not complete the Vancouver Addendum if you are exempt.
If you are a new Vancouver business that is not exempt from the city business license, requiring both a state and city business license, you may apply online for both licenses, as usual, at the "Apply for a State Business License" link below.
NOTE: City continues to process business license exemptions, special licenses, and home occupation permits, see below.
VANCOUVER BUSINESS LICENSE BASICS
Confirm if Business License or Exemption Claim is Required
- Conducting business in city requirement. Any person or entity conducting business in Vancouver city limits must either hold a current Vancouver business license or, if qualified, file a license exemption claim with the city.
- Vancouver city limits check. Some businesses with Vancouver addresses are outside the city limits in unincorporated Clark County and, therefore, may not need the city license or exemption. Before applying for a city license or claiming an exemption, confirm if your Vancouver address is, or is not, in city limits -- see city limits map, or check: Clark County Property Information Center, or call (360) 487-8410 ext 3.
- License exemption claim, if applicable. To determine if exempt from a Vancouver business license, check criteria listed on Determination of Exemption Checklist. NOTE: Claiming a city license exemption does not waive applicable licensing requirements of the State of Washington or other jurisdictions.
TO CLAIM EXEMPTION: If you meet one or more criterion, complete checklist (including WA State UBI #, if you have one) and return it to city at address on top of form -- do not apply for a city business license if you claim an exemption.
- Business license, if applicable. If you confirm you are conducting business in the city limits and do not meet any license exemption criterion, you must obtain a city business license by applying at the Washington State Business Licensing Service as described in next section.
NOTE: A city business license or license exemption does not authorize illegal activities.
Apply for City Business License, if Applicable
A Vancouver business license is applied for as part of the Washington State business registration and license application process or, if your business is already registered with the state, as an amendment to your Washington State business license. See below for two possible methods for applying for a city business license from Washington State Business Licensing Service.
- Online: Go to Apply for a State Business License, or
- Paper: Download application and addendum forms at: Apply for a State Business License, 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.
Questions re: Business License Application Process ???
Go to Washington State Business Licensing Service, or call 800-451-7985.
Request Refund, if Applicable
After applying, if you determine you obtained a city business license in error or paid the incorrect employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the city license fees. To request the refund, send a detailed email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Washington State UBI number,
- full business name,
- location and mailing addresses,
- date fees paid to Washington State Business Licensing Service,
- requested refund amount,
- reason for error in applying or miscalculation of fees, and
- name and phone number of authorized contact person.