Vancouver city endorsement

Requirements and fees

General business license
Variable

The city of Vancouver requires a license for all businesses located within city limits, or conducting business within city limits.

To confirm if your business location is within city limits, go to the city limits map or call the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for a city license.

If you will have more than one business located on a single property, you must complete a separate application for each business.

License fees are determined by a business’s reported gross annual income generated in the city, and by hours worked by its employees engaged in business in the city.

Method for calculating employee number for employee fee calculation
For a new business license, report estimated total employee hours to be worked in city in coming 12 months; and for renewing license holders, report total employee hours worked in city in previous 12 months or 4 quarters. (See definition of “employee” below.) Total hours are then divided by 1,664 hours, and result is rounded to nearest whole number before multiplying it by per employee fee; see examples below. Note: Resulting employee number may exceed business’s employee headcount.

Minimum employee number is one.

Examples
Example 1: 600 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 0.36, rounded to 1. Example 2: 6,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 3.6, rounded to 4. Example 3: 75,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 45.1, rounded to 45.

“Employee” definition: Pay-rolled employees, self-employed persons, sole proprietors, owners, managers, and partners that work in city limits.

Origination fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000 

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

A business that expects to generate $2,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business endorsement but is exempt from paying all city business endorsement fees upon reporting that income amount on the city part of the Business License Application. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.

REFUND PROCESS; CITY FEES ONLY: After applying, if you determine you obtained a city business endorsement in error or paid the incorrect employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of city license fees. See “How to Request Refund of City Fees” at: cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense  or contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8410 option 3.

Nonprofit and other fee-exempt businesses
$315

The city of Vancouver requires a license for all nonprofit businesses located within city limits, or that conduct business within city limits.

An organization that qualifies for at least one city employee-fee exemption criterion can be exempt from city business endorsement employee fee upon correctly completing the City Addendum part of the application.

The nonprofit organization must attach a copy of its IRS 501(c) tax-exempt certification letter to the license application.

Origination fee: $315

Renewal fee: $315

Home businesses
Variable

If your business has a location address that is a residence in city limits must hold a city business license; as well as, comply with city home occupation standards; see: Vancouver’s home occupation permit webpage.

To confirm if your residence is within city limits, go to the city limits map or call the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for a city license.

If you will have more than one business at the residence, you must complete a separate application for each business.

License fees for a home occupation business license are the same as for a general business license.

License fees are determined by a business’s reported gross annual income generated in the city, and by hours worked by employees engaged in business in the city.

Method for calculating employee number for employee fee calculation
For a new business license, report estimated total employee hours to be worked in city in coming 12 months; and for renewing license holders, report total employee hours worked in city in previous 12 months or 4 quarters. (See definition of “employee” below.) Total hours are then divided by 1,664 hours, and result is rounded to nearest whole number before multiplying it by per employee fee; see examples below. Note: Resulting employee number may exceed business’s employee headcount.

Minimum employee number is one.

Examples
Example 1: 600 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 0.36, rounded to 1. Example 2: 6,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 3.6, rounded to 4. Example 3: 75,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 45.1, rounded to 45.

“Employee” definition: Pay-rolled employees, self-employed persons, sole proprietors, owners, managers, and partners that work in city limits.

Origination fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

A business that expects to generate $2,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business endorsement but is exempt from paying all city business endorsement fees upon reporting that income amount on the city part of the Business License Application. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.

REFUND PROCESS; CITY FEES ONLY: After applying, if you determine you obtained a city business endorsement in error or paid the incorrect employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of city license fees. See “How to Request Refund of City Fees” at: cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense or contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.usor 360-487-8410 option 3.

Non-resident businesses
Variable

The city of Vancouver requires a license for all businesses that are located outside city limits which have employees that engage in business within city limits.

To confirm if your employees will engage in business within Vancouver city limits, go to the city limits map or call the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for a city license.

License fees are determined by a business’s gross annual income generated in the city, and by hours worked by its employees engaged in business in the city; including employees working remotely.

Method for calculating employee number for employee fee calculation
For a new business license, report estimated total employee hours to be worked in city in coming 12 months; and for renewing license holders, report total employee hours worked in city in previous 12 months or 4 quarters. (See definition of “employee” below.) Total hours are then divided by 1,664 hours, and result is rounded to nearest whole number before multiplying it by per employee fee; see examples below. Note: Resulting employee number may exceed business’s employee headcount.

Minimum employee number is one.

Examples
Example 1: 600 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 0.36, rounded to 1. Example 2: 6,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 3.6, rounded to 4. Example 3: 75,000 hours divided by 1,664 hours equals 45.1, rounded to 45.

“Employee” definition: Pay-rolled employees, self-employed persons, sole proprietors, owners, managers, and partners that work in city limits.

Origination fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $2,000

$0

Above $2,000 through $50,000

$51

Above $50,000 $315 license fee + $125 per calculated employee number

A business that expects to generate $2,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business endorsement but is exempt from paying all city business endorsement fees upon reporting that income amount on the city part of the Business License Application. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.

REFUND PROCESS; CITY FEES ONLY: After applying, if you determine you obtained a city business endorsement in error or paid the incorrect employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of city license fees. See “How to Request Refund of City Fees” at: cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense or contact the city at business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8410 option 3.

Special license

Some businesses may need a city special license in addition to obtaining a city business license. For more information, go to Vancouver’s Special Licenses webpage or contact city at 360-487-8410 option 3.

Businesses exempt from city licensing

Your business may be exempt from getting a city business license. For more information, please contact the city directly.

Average approval time

City approval time not available. Contact the city directly for more information.

Apply for a city license

State tax registration $0
Registering your business name as a trade name $5
Business license application fee Variable

Online

Need help?
Setting up your business licensing and tax account
How to add a city license endorsement


By mail

Complete the following and mail to:

Business License Application and City and County Addendum

Business Licensing Service
P.O. Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034