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Vancouver city license

To reduce impacts on Vancouver business license holders subject to COVID-19 state-mandated customer capacity limits, the city allows each eligible license holder to request a refund of the employee fee part of the city fees it paid for a new or renewing Vancouver business license, effective April 1, 2021 - December 31, 2022. For details, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense.

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 fee is determined by the gross annual income and number of employees (FTEs) who work within the city limits of Vancouver.

Method for calculating FTEs

Add up all hours to be worked in city (in 12-month period) by all “employees” and divide total by 2,080 hours; then round resulting number to nearest whole number. The minimum number of FTEs is one. See examples below.

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 $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

A business that expects to generate $12,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business license, but can be exempt from paying all city business license fees upon correctly completing the income estimate part of the business license application or annual renewal. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at 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 license 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 360-487-8410 option 3.

Nonprofit and other fee-exempt businesses
$200

An organization that qualifies for at least one city employee-fee exemption criterion can be exempt from city business license 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: $200

Renewal fee: $200

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

License fee is determined by the gross annual income and number of employees (FTEs) who work within the city limits of Vancouver.

Method for calculating FTEs

Add up all hours to be worked in city (in 12-month period) by all “employees” and divide total by 2,080 hours; then round resulting number to nearest whole number. The minimum number of FTEs is one. See examples below.

 FTE Calculation example. Example 1: 600 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 0.29 rounded up to 1 FTE. Example 2: 6000 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 2.88 rounded up to 3 FTEs. Example 3: 75000 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 36.03 rounded is 36 FTEs.

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 $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

A business that expects to generate $12,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business license, but can be exempt from paying all city business license fees upon correctly completing the income estimate part of the business license application or annual renewal. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.

Non-resident businesses
Variable

The license fee for a business operating in this city - whether based inside or outside this city - is determined by gross annual income earned within this city’s limits and number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees working within this city’s limits (see Requirements and Fee Calculation Instructions below):

License fee is determined by the gross annual income and number of employees (FTEs) who work within the city limits of Vancouver.

Method for calculating FTEs

Add up all hours to be worked in city (in 12-month period) by all “employees” and divide total by 2,080 hours; then round resulting number to nearest whole number. The minimum number of FTEs is one. See examples below.

 FTE Calculation example. Example 1: 600 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 0.29 rounded up to 1 FTE. Example 2: 6000 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 2.88 rounded up to 3 FTEs. Example 3: 75000 hours worked divided by 2080 hours equals 36.03 rounded is 36 FTEs.

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 $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

Renewal fee:

Reported gross annual income

License fee

$0 through $12,000

$0

Above $12,000

$200 + $90 per FTE

A business that expects to generate $12,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business license, but can be exempt from paying all city business license fees upon correctly completing the income estimate part of the business license application or annual renewal. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.

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 page 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.

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 Addendum

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