Chapter 5.04



5.04.010    Business license required.

5.04.020    Utilities exempt.

5.04.030    Exercise of licensing authority.

5.04.040    Definitions.

5.04.050    Special sales.


5.04.060    Notification of exemption or termination of business activities.

5.04.070    Agents responsible for obtaining license.

5.04.080    Separate license for branch establishments.

5.04.090    Joint license.

5.04.100    Exemptions from license requirement.

5.04.110    Exemptions for nonprofit festivals.

5.04.120    Exemptions – Fee waiver.


5.04.130    Issuance – Fee collection.

5.04.140    Enforcement.

5.04.150    Forms.

5.04.160    Endorsement.

5.04.170    Investigations.

5.04.180    Examination of books and records.

5.04.190    Notification of applicant.

5.04.200    Information confidential.


5.04.210    Required.

5.04.220    Form.

5.04.230    Contents.

5.04.240    Fees.

5.04.250    Renewal – Procedure.

5.04.260    Renewal – Form.

5.04.270    Renewal – Contents.

5.04.280    Duplicate – Procedure.

5.04.290    Information required.

5.04.300    Criteria for denial or revocation of license.


5.04.310    Standards of conduct.

5.04.320    Display of license.

5.04.330    New location.

5.04.340    Record keeping duties.

5.04.350    Transfer – When authorized.

5.04.360    Transfer – Issuance.

5.04.370    Transfer – Terms of application.

5.04.380    Records – Examination.

5.04.390    Records – Audit.


5.04.400    Fees set.

5.04.410    Determination of employees.

5.04.420    Refunds.

5.04.430    License year designated.


5.04.440    Overpayment, underpayment of tax.

5.04.450    Late payment – Penalty.

5.04.460    Unpaid fees – Payment.

5.04.470    Violations.

5.04.480    Appeals.

*Prior legislation: Ords. 695, 777, 1132, 1176, 1203, 1229, 1261, 1306, 1329, 1414, 1415, 1455, 1641 and 1788.


5.04.010 Business license required.

Unless otherwise exempted by this chapter, no person shall engage in business in the city without first having obtained and being the holder of a valid business license, issued under the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.020 Utilities exempt.

It is not intended by this chapter to require a license or impose a license fee upon the business activities subject to the tax imposed by Chapter 5.08 BMC, relating to the licensing and taxation of public utilities. The business activities specified in said chapter are excluded from the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.030 Exercise of licensing authority.

This chapter is an exercise by the city of its authority to license business activities for the purpose of regulation and revenue pursuant to the provisions of RCW 35A.82.050 and 82.14A.010, et seq. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.040 Definitions.

Where used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings as defined in this section, unless, from the context, a more limited or different meaning is clearly defined or apparent:

A.    “Apartment” means a dwelling unit located in a structure containing three or more dwelling units. The purpose of this definition is to assist in identifying which dwelling units are subject to business license fees as set forth in the city’s fee resolution;

B.    “Business” means all activities, occupations, pursuits, or professions located and/or engaged in within the city, with the object of gain, benefit or advantage to the person engaging in the same, or to any other person or class, directly or indirectly;

C.    “City” means the city of Bothell, Washington;

D.    “City council” means the city council of the city of Bothell;

E.    “Employee” means any person who performs work, labor, or services for a business and is on the business’ payroll. For the purpose of this chapter, the term “employee” also includes self-employed persons, sole proprietors, owners, managers, partners, and all full-time, part-time and temporary employees or workers on the business’ payroll;

F.    “Engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in any business within the city, whether or not an office or physical location for the business lies within the city. “Engaging in business” includes the performance of services by contractors, consultants, representatives, agents, or other persons within the city, even though the office location of the contractor, consultant, representative, agent, or other persons is not within the city limits; the exercise of corporate or franchise powers, as well as the liquidation of business when the liquidators hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business;

G.    “License officer” means the person or his or her designee appointed by the city manager to act in such capacity;

H.    “Person” includes the singular and the plural and also means and includes any natural person, firm, corporation, association, club, partnership, society or any group of individuals acting as a unit. (Ord. 2099 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.050 Special sales.

This chapter shall apply to all business in the nature of special sales, and it is unlawful for any person, either directly or indirectly, to conduct any such sale except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter unless specifically exempt therefrom. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.060 Notification of exemption or termination of business activities.

A.    Every person who has obtained a business license required by this chapter and who thereafter ceases to engage in business within the city shall, prior to the end of the calendar year during which business operations have been terminated, notify the license officer in writing the business activities have ceased. Any business for which a license has been issued shall be presumed to continue in operation within the city unless notice of termination of business activities has been given as provided above, and enforcement proceedings may be commenced on the basis of such presumption.

B.    Every person who engages in business in the city which is exempt or becomes exempt from the licensing provisions of this chapter under federal, state, or local laws shall notify the license officer in writing of the exemption and the basis therefor.

C.    Any business which is exempt from the provisions of this chapter or has terminated its business activities in the city shall not be entitled to a refund of any license fee paid under this chapter if such business has failed to provide written notice to the license officer as required by this section. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.070 Agents responsible for obtaining license.

The agents or other representatives of nonresidents who are doing business in the city shall be personally responsible for the compliance with this chapter by their principals and of the businesses they represent. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.080 Separate license for branch establishments.

A license shall be obtained in the manner prescribed in this chapter for each branch establishment or location of the business engaged in, as if each such branch establishment or location were a separate business; provided, that warehouses and distributing plants used in connection with and incidental to a business licensed under the provisions of this chapter are not separate places of business or branch establishments. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.090 Joint license.

A person engaged in two or more businesses at the same location shall not be required to obtain separate licenses for conducting each of such businesses but shall be issued one license which shall specify on its face all such businesses. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.100 Exemptions from license requirement.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

A.    Any instrumentality of the United States, the state of Washington, or political subdivisions thereof with respect to the exercise of governmental functions;

B.    Any farmer, gardener, or other person who sells, delivers, or peddles any fruits, vegetables, berries, eggs, or any farm produce or edibles raised, gathered, caught, produced, or manufactured by such person within the state;

C.    Newspaper carriers under the age of 18;

D.    Any person who merely delivers within the city any property purchased or acquired in good faith from such person at his regular place of business outside the city where such persons are not otherwise subject to the licensing provisions of this chapter;

E.    Any person renting out a single-family dwelling, duplex, or individual condominium unit to another person;

F.    Any person, business, enterprise, firm, or corporation which the city is forbidden to tax under state or federal law. (Ord. 2099 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.110 Exemptions for nonprofit festivals.

A.    No license shall be required of any person who operates a business in conjunction with nonprofit community festivals, as approved by the license officer; provided all of the following criteria are met:

1.    The business does not operate within the city more than three consecutive days;

2.    The business does not operate within the city more than 12 days in a calendar year; and

3.    The business is authorized to participate in the community festival by the sponsor of the festival.

B.    Any person claiming the exemption set forth in this section shall register with the city, on a form prescribed by the license officer, each time he or she engages in business within the city to track the number of days said person does business within the city. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.120 Exemptions – Fee waiver.

The licensing provisions of this chapter shall apply to the following persons and organizations; however, the business license fees shall be waived for:

A.    Any person or organization engaged in a not-for-profit (i.e., nonprofit) enterprise, either regularly or temporarily, when it is without private profit, for a public, charitable, educational, literary, fraternal, or religious purpose when such persons sufficiently demonstrate their not-for-profit status through Internal Revenue Service documentation or other means acceptable to the license officer;

B.    Any person in business whose gross proceeds of sales or gross income from the business are less than $1,000 per month. Such persons shall provide the city with an affidavit at the beginning of each license year, confirming the income for the prior license year. A copy of the person’s Internal Revenue Service Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, or other applicable federal income tax forms shall be submitted as verification; and

C.    Any person engaged in business of family daycare as defined in BMC 11.02.007. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.130 Issuance – Fee collection.

The license officer shall collect all license fees and shall issue licenses in the name of the city to all persons qualified under the provisions of this chapter and shall perform the duties set forth in BMC 5.04.140 through 5.04.200. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.140 Enforcement.

The license officer may promulgate and enforce reasonable rules and regulations as necessary and convenient to the operation and enforcement of this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.150 Forms.

The license officer shall adopt forms and prescribe the information to be given therein as convenient and necessary for processing the application. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.160 Endorsement.

The license officer shall submit all applications to appropriate departments for their endorsements thereon as to compliance by the applicant with city regulations which they have the duty of enforcing. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.170 Investigations.

The license officer may investigate and determine the eligibility of any applicant for a license as prescribed in this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.180 Examination of books and records.

The license officer may examine the books and records of any applicant or licensee when reasonably necessary to the administration and enforcement of this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.190 Notification of applicant.

The license officer shall notify any applicant of the acceptance or rejection of his application and shall, upon his refusal of any license or permit, at the applicant’s request, state in writing the reasons therefor and deliver them to the applicant. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.200 Information confidential.

The city license officer shall keep all financial information furnished or secured under the authority of this chapter in strict confidence. Such information shall not be subject to public inspection and shall be kept so that the contents thereof shall not become known except to the persons charged with the administration of this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.210 Required.

Every person required to procure a license under the provisions of this chapter shall submit an application for such license to the license officer. New businesses shall submit an application within five business days of commencement of business activities within the city. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.220 Form.

The application shall be upon a form provided by the license officer executed by the applicant upon a declaration that the information contained therein is true and complete to the best of the applicant’s knowledge and belief. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.230 Contents.

In addition to such other information deemed necessary by the license officer, the application shall require the disclosure of the number of employees at each location and state whether the owner, or owners, work in the business at each specific location. If the applicant is claiming an exemption or deduction under the terms of the chapter, the application, in addition, shall include a full disclosure of those facts pertinent to the exemption or deduction. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.240 Fees.

The application shall be accompanied by the full amount of the fees chargeable under this chapter for such license. Business license fees shall be set by resolution of the city council, as amended from time to time and shall include an amount for the fire code inspection fees established by BMC 20.08.135(A). (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.250 Renewal – Procedure.

The applicant for the renewal of a license shall submit an application for such license to the license officer. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.260 Renewal – Form.

The application for renewal shall be upon a form provided by the license officer. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.270 Renewal – Contents.

The applications for renewal shall require the disclosure of the information required for an original application as set forth in BMC 5.04.230, in addition to any other information required by the license officer. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.280 Duplicate – Procedure.

A duplicate license may be issued by the license officer to replace any license previously issued, which has been lost, stolen, defaced, or destroyed, upon the filing by the licensee of a declaration attesting to such fact and the paying to the license officer of a fee set by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.290 Information required.

Each license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall state upon its face the following:

A.    The name of the licensee and any other name under which such business is to be conducted;

B.    The kind and address of each business so licensed;

C.    The dates of issuance and expiration thereof;

D.    Such other information as determined by the license officer. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.300 Criteria for denial or revocation of license.

The license officer may deny a license to any applicant or may suspend or revoke any license when such licensee, or any other person with any interest in the application or license:

A.    Knowingly causes, aids, abets, or conspires with another to cause any person to violate any of the laws of this state or the city which may affect or relate to the applicant’s or license holder’s business;

B.    Has obtained a license by fraud, misrepresentation, concealment, or through inadvertence or mistake;

C.    Is convicted of, forfeits bond upon, or pleads guilty to any offenses directly related to the operation of the license holder’s business;

D.    Makes a misrepresentation of, or fails to disclose, a material fact to the city;

E.    Violates any building, safety, fire or health regulations on the premises in which the business is located after receiving warning from the city to refrain from such violations;

F.    Is in violation of a zoning regulation of the city; or

G.    Fails to pay when due, or has failed to pay when due, any special assessment levied by the city or any entity created by the city as authorized by state law. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.310 Standards of conduct.

Every licensee under this chapter shall:

A.    Permit reasonable inspections of his or her business and reasonable examinations of his or her books by the city in enforcement of this chapter;

B.    Ascertain and at all times comply with all laws and regulations applicable to such licensed business;

C.    Refrain from operating the licensed businesses on premises after expiration of his license and during the period his license is revoked or suspended. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.320 Display of license.

Every licensee under this chapter shall:

A.    Post and maintain such license upon the licensed premises in a place where it may be seen at all times;

B.    Carry such license on his person when he has no licensed business premises;

C.    Affix any insignia delivered for use in connection therewith upon the outside of any coin, vending, or other business machine or device, so that it may be seen at all times;

D.    Not allow any license or special permit to remain posted, displayed, or used after the period for which it was issued has expired, or when it has been suspended or revoked, or for any other reason become ineffective;

E.    Not loan, sell, give or assign to any other person or allow any other person to use or display, or to destroy, damage or remove, or to have in his possession, except as authorized by the license officer or by law any license which has been issued to the licensee, subject, however, to the right to transfer as provided in BMC 5.04.350 through 5.04.370. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.330 New location.

A licensee shall have the right to change the location of the licensed business; provided he shall notify the license officer in writing prior to the change and pay a fee as established by a resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.340 Record keeping duties.

The licensee shall keep all records and books necessary to the computation of his or her license fee and to the enforcement of this chapter. The license officer shall make his or her own determination as to the financial statement for any business where the licensee has failed to keep books and records as required in this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.350 Transfer – When authorized.

A licensee under this chapter shall have the right to transfer his license to another person provided he shall:

A.    Obtain written permission from the license officer for such transfer;

B.    Execute the transfer in the form and under the conditions required by law and as prescribed by the license officer;

C.    Promptly report the completed act of transfer to the license officer;

D.    Pay a fee as established by a resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.360 Transfer – Issuance.

Upon the completion of a transfer of license in compliance with BMC 5.04.350, the license officer shall issue a new license to the transferee for the unexpired term of the existing license. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.370 Transfer – Terms of application.

The new license issued under this chapter shall authorize the transferee to engage in the same business at the same location or at such other place as is approved by the license officer and named in the new license. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.380 Records – Examination.

If any person fails to apply for license or make returns, or if the license officer is dissatisfied as to the correctness of the statements made in the application or return of any person, the license officer or his or her authorized agent may enter the premises of such person at any reasonable time for the purpose of inspecting his or her books or the records of account to ascertain the amount of the fee or to determine the correctness of such statements as the case may be, and may examine any person under oath administered by the officer, or his or her agent, touching the matters inquired into, or the license officer or his or her authorized agent may fix a time and place for an investigation of the correctness of the return, and may issue a subpoena to any person to attend upon such investigation and there testify under oath administered by the license officer or his or her agent in regard to the matters inquired into and may by subpoena require any person to bring with him or her such books, records and papers as may be needed. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.390 Records – Audit.

Upon the failure or refusal of the person to furnish the information called for by the license officer, the license officer may in his discretion employ a skilled accountant and such clerical assistance as is necessary to make an audit of the books and records of the person, and such expenses shall be collected from the person in the manner provided for the collection of the license fee or tax. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.400 Fees set.

License fees shall be established by resolution of the city council. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.410 Determination of employees.

For purposes of determining the number of employees for calculating the license fee, the following rules shall govern:

A.    Only those individuals working in the city shall be considered in the total number of employees. However, the fact an individual also works outside the city shall not exclude him or her from the total sum of employees for purposes of this chapter.

B.    The owner or officers of a business shall be included in the total number of employees.

C.    Individuals working less than 20 hours per week for a business shall be considered a fraction of an employee in such amount as their average weekly hours worked bear to 40 hours.

D.    Real estate and insurance agents or salespeople shall be considered employees of the agency from which they work, and shall not be required to obtain a license separate for such, but shall be included in the calculation of total employees. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.420 Refunds.

No rebate or refund of any license fee or part thereof shall be made by reason of the nonuse of such license or by reason of a change of location or business rendering the use of such license ineffective. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.430 License year designated.

The license period and time for license renewals shall be set forth as follows:

A.    The business license period shall be July 1st through June 30th of each year. License fees must be paid and the license must be obtained not later than July 31st of the license period. For renewals of those licenses expiring June 30, 2012, license fees must be paid and the license must be obtained not later than November 1, 2012. In cases in which a new business license is obtained after July 1st, the business license period shall be the date of approval through June 30th.

B.    For new licenses applied for between July 1st and December 31st of each year, the fee for the license shall be 100 percent of the business license fee schedule currently in effect at the time of application. For those new licenses applied for between January 1st and June 30th of each year, the fee for the license shall be 50 percent of the business license fee schedule currently in effect at the time of application. (Ord. 2098 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).


5.04.440 Overpayment, underpayment of tax.

If the license officer, upon investigation or upon checking returns, finds that the fees paid are more than the amount required of the person, he or she shall refund the amount overpaid by a warrant on the current fund. If the license officer finds that the fee or tax paid is less than required, he or she shall send a statement to the person showing the balance due. The responsible party shall within three days pay the amount shown thereon. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.450 Late payment – Penalty.

There shall be assessed a late payment penalty of five percent for each 30 days of delinquency after the date payment is due up to a maximum penalty of 25 percent. This penalty shall be added to the license fee as provided in this chapter. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.460 Unpaid fees – Payment.

If any person fails to apply for a license or to pay the fees therefor or to pay any penalties assessed, or the cost of any audit required by the license officer or any part thereof within three days after the same has become due, the license officer shall ascertain the amount of the fee, or penalty or installment thereof and/or cost of audit due, and shall notify such person thereof, who shall be liable therefor in any suit or action by the city for the collection thereof. The license officer shall also notify the city attorney in writing of the name of such delinquent person and the amount due from him or her, and the attorney shall, with the assistance of the license officer, collect the same by any appropriate means or by suit or action in the name of the city. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.470 Violations.

A.    It shall be unlawful for:

1.    Any person liable for a fee under this chapter to fail or refuse to make application for license or to pay the fee when due;

2.    Any person to make any false or fraudulent application or any false statement or representation in or in connection with any such application;

3.    Any person to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade payment of a fee imposed by this chapter;

4.    Any person to fail to appear and/or testify in response to subpoena issued pursuant hereto;

5.    Any person to testify falsely upon an investigation of the correctness of a return, or upon the hearing of any appeal;

6.    Any person in any manner to hinder or delay the city or any of its officers or auditors in carrying out the provisions of this chapter; or

7.    Any person to fail or refuse to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter.

B.    Violations of this chapter shall be punished in accordance with Chapter 1.24 BMC; provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall preclude the city from pursuing legal or equitable relief to enjoin any acts or practices and abate any condition which constitutes or will constitute a violation of the applicable provisions of this chapter or any license granted hereunder. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).

5.04.480 Appeals.

A.    Notification of Suspension, Revocation, or Denial. When the license officer determines that there is cause for denying, suspending or revoking any license issued pursuant to this chapter, the officer shall notify the person holding such license by personal service, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the decision. Notice mailed to the address on file shall be deemed received three days after mailing. The notice shall specify the grounds for the denial, suspension or revocation. The suspension or revocation shall become effective 10 days from the date the notice is delivered or deemed received unless the person affected thereby files a written request with the license officer for a hearing before the city council within such 10-day period.

B.    License Amount. Any person aggrieved by the amount of fee set pursuant to this chapter may appeal to the city council by filing a written notice request for hearing with the license officer within five days from the time such person was given notice of the amount.

C.    Hearing Procedure. Upon written request as set out in subsections A and B of this section, the city council shall schedule and hold a hearing as soon as practicable. During the pendency of the hearing and until action by the city council, the action of the license officer shall be stayed. At the hearing, both the applicant or licensee and the city shall be entitled to present evidence. Upon completion of the hearing, the city council shall:

1.    Accept the license officer’s recommendation as presented; or

2.    Determine no action is warranted; or

3.    Modify the recommended action.

D.    Appeal from City Council. Appeal from a decision of the city council shall be to the King or Snohomish County superior court, depending upon which county the business is located, and must be served and filed within 30 days of the decision of the city council. In the event that the business is not physically located within the city, venue for such actions shall be in the King County superior court. In the event the applicant or license holder does not follow the procedures within the time periods set forth in this section, the action of the city council shall be final. (Ord. 1806 § 1, 2000).