Home  |   About us  |   Partner with AWC  |   Login      


Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, May 20, 2016

Task force to consider city business licensing simplification

The task force on local business tax and licensing simplification established by HB 2959 will have its first meeting this week. While the task force is expected to spend much of its time considering city B&O tax, the legislation also requires an evaluation of options for all cities to use the state’s Business Licensing Service (BLS).

As we’ve previously wrote, the legislation requires the task force to develop options for centralizing and simplifying the administration of city B&O tax and business licensing. The nine-member task force is chaired by the Department of Revenue and includes four business representatives and four city representatives. Representing cities on the task force are AWC’s CEO Peter King, FileLocal Executive Board Member Glen Lee, Finance Director Andy Cherullo of Tacoma, and Finance Director Kim Krause of Burien. The task force will meet at least monthly through the end of 2016 and must submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2017.

At its first meeting, the task force will consider city business licenses and hear presentations about BLS and FileLocal. Approximately 220 of the state’s 281 cities issue local business licenses. Nearly 70 cities participate in BLS, and the state is scheduled to release a new licensing system in early June. At the same time, four of the state’s largest cities have launched FileLocal, an online portal where businesses can get local licenses and pay local B&O taxes in one place. FileLocal is expected to expand to additional cities later this year.

AWC recognizes that individual cities have different perspectives on B&O taxes and business licensing. With that in mind, the task force’s city representatives are developing principles to evaluate any recommended solutions to centralization and simplification. At a minimum, these principles will include (1) revenue neutrality to cities; (2) maintaining local authority and flexibility; and (3) no increase in administrative costs.

AWC will continue to provide regular updates about the task force in our monthly Legislative Bulletin. If you have questions about the task force or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact AWC’s Peter King or Serena Dolly.

Categories: Budget & finance