Chapter 4.72


4.72.010    Definitions.

4.72.020    Business license required.

4.72.021    Threshold exemption.

4.72.023    Repealed.

4.72.030    Procedure.

4.72.040    Fee – Terms – Penalty.

4.72.050    Ineligible activities.

4.72.055    Denial of license – Hearing.

4.72.060    Revocation or suspension.

4.72.065    Transfer or sale of business – New license required.

4.72.070    Penalty for violation.

4.72.010 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, save when otherwise declared or clearly apparent from the context, the following definitions shall be applied:

A. Person. The term “person” shall include one or more persons of either sex, corporations, partnerships, associations, or other entity capable of having an action at law brought against such entity, but shall not include employees or persons licensed pursuant to this chapter.

B. Business. The term “business” includes all services and activities engaged in with the object of pecuniary gain, benefit or advantage to the person, or to any other person or class, directly or indirectly, whether part-time or full-time.

C. Engaging in Business. The term “engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in business, and also the exercise of corporate or franchise powers, as well as liquidating a business when the liquidators thereof hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.

1. This section sets forth examples of activities that constitute engaging in business in the city, and establishes safe harbors for certain of those activities so that a person who meets the criteria may engage in de minimis business activities in the city without having to pay a business license fee. The activities listed in this section are illustrative only and are not intended to narrow the definition of “engaging in business” in subsection (C) of this section. If an activity is not listed, whether it constitutes engaging in business in the city shall be determined by considering all the facts and circumstances and applicable law.

2. Without being all-inclusive, any one of the following activities conducted within the city by a person, or its employee, agent, representative, independent contractor, broker or another acting on its behalf, constitutes engaging in business and requires a person to register and obtain a business license:

a. Owning, renting, leasing, maintaining, or having the right to use, or using, tangible personal property, intangible personal property, or real property permanently or temporarily located in the city.

b. Owning, renting, leasing, using, or maintaining an office, place of business, or other establishment in the city.

c. Soliciting sales.

d. Making repairs or providing maintenance or service to real or tangible personal property, including warranty work and property maintenance.

e. Providing technical assistance or service, including quality control, product inspections, warranty work, or similar services on or in connection with tangible personal property sold by the person or on its behalf.

f. Installing, constructing, or supervising installation or construction of real or tangible personal property.

g. Soliciting, negotiating, or approving franchise, license, or other similar agreements.

h. Collecting current or delinquent accounts.

i. Picking up and transporting tangible personal property, solid waste, construction debris, or excavated materials.

j. Providing disinfecting and pest control services, employment and labor pool services, home nursing care, janitorial services, appraising, landscape architectural services, security system services, surveying, and real estate services including the listing of homes and managing real property.

k. Rendering professional services such as those provided by accountants, architects, attorneys, auctioneers, consultants, engineers, professional athletes, barbers, baseball clubs and other sports organizations, chemists, psychologists, court reporters, dentists, doctors, detectives, laboratory operators, teachers, veterinarians.

l. Meeting with customers or potential customers, even when no sales or orders are solicited at the meetings.

m. Training or recruiting agents, representatives, independent contractors, brokers or others, domiciled or operating on a job in the city, acting on its behalf, or for customers or potential customers.

n. Investigating, resolving, or otherwise assisting in resolving customer complaints.

o. In-store stocking or manipulating products or goods, sold to and owned by a customer, regardless of where sale and delivery of the goods took place.

p. Delivering goods in vehicles owned, rented, leased, used, or maintained by the person or another acting on its behalf.

3. If a person, or its employee, agent, representative, independent contractor, broker or another acting on the person’s behalf, engages in no other activities in or with the city but the following, it need not register and obtain a business license:

a. Meeting with suppliers of goods and services as a customer.

b. Meeting with government representatives in their official capacity, other than those performing contracting or purchasing functions.

c. Attending meetings, such as board meetings, retreats, seminars, and conferences, or other meetings wherein the person does not provide training in connection with tangible personal property sold by the person or on its behalf. This provision does not apply to any board of directors member or attendee engaging in business such as a member of a board of directors who attends a board meeting.

d. Renting tangible or intangible property as a customer when the property is not used in the city.

e. Attending, but not participating in, a “trade show” or “multiple vendor events.” Persons participating at a trade show shall review the city’s trade show or multiple vendor event ordinances.

f. Conducting advertising through the mail.

g. Soliciting sales by phone from a location outside the city.

4. A seller located outside the city merely delivering goods into the city by means of common carrier is not required to register and obtain a business license; provided, that it engages in no other business activities in the city. Such activities do not include those in subsection (C)(3) of this section.

The city expressly intends that engaging in business include any activity sufficient to establish nexus for purposes of applying the license fee under the law and the Constitutions of the United States and the state of Washington. Nexus is presumed to continue as long as the taxpayer benefits from the activity that constituted the original nexus generating contact or subsequent contacts.

D. Rental Unit. The term “rental unit” shall mean a separate room or apartment leased for human occupancy and contained within a single structure, and shall include the operations of rooming houses, boarders within private residences and the operation of bed and breakfast establishments.

E. Private Residence. The term “private residence” shall mean a separate, freestanding structure leased for residential purposes and human occupancy by one “family” as defined by ECDC 21.30.010.

F. Day. The term “day” when used in this chapter shall refer to days on which the city of Edmonds City Hall is open for business. Any day which is defined as a holiday by ordinance and any day on which City Hall has been closed by executive order shall not constitute a “day.”

G. Business Licensing Service. The term “Business Licensing Service” or “BLS” means the office within the Washington State Department of Revenue providing business licensing services to the city. [Ord. 4165 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 3900 § 2, 2012; Ord. 3834 § 3, 2011; Ord. 3439 § 1, 2003; Ord. 2562, 1986; Ord. 2536 § 2, 1985; Ord. 2315 § 1, 1982].

4.72.020 Business license required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate, engage in or practice any business in the city of Edmonds without first having obtained a business license from the city. If more than one business is located on a single premises, a separate license shall be required for each separate business conducted, operated, engaged in or practiced. [Ord. 4165 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 3282 § 1, 1999; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].

4.72.021 Threshold exemption.

To the extent set forth in this section, the following persons and businesses shall be exempt from the registration, license and/or license fee requirements as outlined in this chapter:

A. Any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business in the city is equal to or less than $12,000 and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall be exempt from the general business license requirements in this chapter. The exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit.

B. Nonprofit organizations or corporations with tax exempt status under 26 USC Section 501(c)(3) shall require a nonprofit business license but are exempt from a license fee. [Ord. 4165 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018].

4.72.023 Registration of transient accommodations.

Repealed by Ord. 3900. [Ord. 2566 § 1, 1986].

4.72.030 Procedure.

A. Application for the business license shall be made to the Business Licensing Service, and must include all information required for the licenses requested, and total fees due for all licenses requested, as well as the handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

B. The city clerk or designee shall receive all applications for city business licenses. The city clerk or designee shall cause an investigation of the completed application to be made by the proper city officials and shall grant or refuse to grant the license within 15 days of the date of receipt of the application information. If an application is refused, the reason for refusal shall be designated on the application. The application fee shall not be refunded, except under the following circumstances:

1. An applicant requests cancellation of a license application from the city within five business days of submitting an application to the Business Licensing Service. [Ord. 4165 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].

4.72.040 Fee – Terms – Penalty.

A. Business licenses required to be obtained pursuant to this chapter expire on the date established by the Business Licensing Service. The renewal application must be submitted to the Business Licensing Service, and must contain all information that may be required for all licenses being renewed, and the total fees due for all licenses being renewed, as well as the handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

B. The annual amounts of fees for the city business licenses issued hereunder shall be as follows:

1. The fee for an application for a new business license for any business that is not a home occupation, as provided in ECDC 20.20.010, to be operated from any real estate within the city of Edmonds shall be $125.00;

2. The fee for an application for a new business license for a new home occupation business, as provided in ECDC 20.20.010, to be operated from any residential real estate within the city of Edmonds shall be $100.00;

3. The fee for an application for a new business license for any other business conducted for, under contract with or by providing services to any person within the city, to be operated in locations outside the city limits, shall be $50.00; and

4. The fee for an application for an annual renewal of a city business license shall be $50.00 for any business operated within the city of Edmonds.

5. A nonprofit business license application shall be exempt from a license fee; provided, that the business provides proof of tax exempt status under 26 USC Section 501(c)(3).

6. The term and respective fee amount for a license may be prorated to accommodate synchronizing of the city license expiration date with the business license account expiration date established by the Business Licensing Service.

C. All businesses required to renew licenses hereunder shall obtain the same and pay all fees required on or before the expiration date established by the Business Licensing Service. Any business which fails to renew and pay the license fees within said period of time shall, in addition to any other penalties provided in this chapter, be assessed the penalty for such late application and/or payment required by RCW 19.02.085. Failure to renew a license within 120 days after expiration will result in the cancellation of the license. In order to continue business in the city, reapplication for the license is required as provided in this chapter.

D. Repealed by Ord. 3036. [Ord. 4165 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 3976 § 1, 2014; Ord. 3710 § 1, 2008; Ord. 3282 § 2, 1999; Ord. 3084 § 1, 1996; Ord. 3036 §§ 1, 2, 1995; Ord. 2191 §§ 1, 2, 1981; Ord. 1828 § 1, 1976; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].

4.72.050 Ineligible activities.

Notwithstanding any provisions hereof to the contrary, a license hereunder may not be issued to any person who uses or occupies or proposes to use or occupy any real property or otherwise conducts or proposes to conduct any business in violation of the provisions of any ordinance of the city of Edmonds or the statutes of the state of Washington. The granting of a business license shall in no way be construed as permission or acquiescence in a prohibited activity or other violation of the law. [Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].

4.72.055 Denial of license – Hearing.

In the event that a license is denied under this chapter based on the provisions of ECC 4.72.050, or for any other lawful reason, the applicant may request a hearing. Such request shall be in writing and filed within 10 days of the date of written denial by the city of a license application. A hearing shall be scheduled within 30 days before the hearing examiner. The hearing shall proceed in the following format:

A. The applicant/appellant shall present proof of the nature of the activities which it seeks to conduct pursuant to a business license in the city of Edmonds.

B. The city shall have the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the activities are in violation of a provision of any ordinance of the city of Edmonds, or the general statutes of the state of Washington.

C. The applicant/appellant may then present any rebuttal testimony which it wishes to present.

The hearing examiner shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. No motion for reconsideration shall be available to either party. Appeal of the final decision shall be to the Snohomish County superior court in accordance with the applicable laws of the state of Washington. [Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 3834 § 1, 2011].

4.72.060 Revocation or suspension.

The mayor or his designee may, at any time, suspend or revoke any license issued hereunder whenever the licensee or officer or partner thereof has been convicted in any court of competent jurisdiction of violating any statute of the United States or the state of Washington or any ordinance of the city of Edmonds upon the business premises stated in the license or in connection with the business stated in the license; where the business activity violates ECC 4.72.050; or where the place of business does not conform to the ordinances of the city of Edmonds. Prior to such suspension or revocation, the permittee shall be provided an opportunity for a hearing. The licensee shall be notified in writing by sending a written notice to the address stated on the license of the intention of the city to revoke or suspend said license. The applicant may then appeal by filing written notice with the city clerk within 10 days of the notice of revocation or suspension. The city clerk shall schedule a hearing within 20 days before the hearing examiner. The licensee may appear at that time and be heard in opposition to such revocation or suspension. [Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 3834 § 2, 2011; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].

4.72.065 Transfer or sale of business – New license required.

Upon the sale or transfer of any business licensed by this chapter, the license issued to the prior owner or transferor shall automatically expire on the date of such sale or transfer and the new owner intending to continue such business in the city of Edmonds shall apply for a new business license pursuant to the procedures established by this chapter. [Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 2315 § 2, 1982].

4.72.070 Penalty for violation.

Any person, as defined herein, and the officers, directors, managing agents, or partners of any corporation, firm, partnership or other organization or business violating or failing to comply with any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine in any sum not exceeding $250.00 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding nine months, or both, and each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense. [Ord. 4135 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1139 § 1, 1965].