Chapter 5.01
GENERAL BUSINESS LICENSES* Revised 12/18

Sections:

5.01.010    Title.

5.01.020    Definitions. Revised 12/18

5.01.030    Administration and enforcement.

5.01.040    General business license required. Revised 12/18

5.01.045    Threshold exemption. Revised 12/18

5.01.050    Separate business license required.

5.01.060    License not transferable.

5.01.070    License to be posted.

5.01.080    Disclaimer of city liability.

5.01.090    Application procedure, license fee.

5.01.100    License does not indicate legality of business.

5.01.110    Relicensing.

5.01.120    Overpayment or refund of license fee.

5.01.130    Grounds for denial or revocation of license.

5.01.135    Massage or reflexology businesses – Conviction for prostitution or fraud related activity – Conviction for violation of Chapter 9.04 KCC – Denial or revocation of business license.

5.01.140    Denial or revocation of license – Notice and opportunity to be heard.

5.01.150    Notice of license denial or revocation and scheduling of hearing.

5.01.160    Hearing to deny or revoke business license.

5.01.170    Authority of hearing examiner – Order – Appeal.

5.01.180    Corrective action prior to hearing.

5.01.190    Violations and enforcement – Penalties.

*Cross reference(s) – Police department, ch. 2.22; sales and use taxes, ch. 3.16; outdoor musical entertainment, rock festivals, ch. 4.05; recreational vehicle park licenses, § 12.06.210.

State law reference(s) – Authority to license, RCW 35A.82.020; alcoholic beverages share in proceeds, RCW 35A.66.020; license and tax on alcoholic beverages prohibited, RCW 66.08.120; authority to enforce state regulations on food, RCW 35A.69.010; food inspections, RCW 16.49A.010 et seq.; transient accommodations, RCW 70.62.200 et seq.

5.01.010 Title.

This chapter shall constitute the general business license code of the city and may be cited as such.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.020 Definitions. Revised 12/18

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

A. 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, and includes nonprofit enterprises. The term business shall also mean apartment and residential rental properties of two or more units, as well as rental housing and rental property as those terms are defined in Chapter 5.14 KCC, but shall not mean governmental agencies.

B. Business enterprise means each location at which business is conducted within the city. A business may have more than one business enterprise within the city.

C. Director means the finance director of the city or his or her designee.

D. Department means the finance department of the city.

E. Engaging in business.

1. 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.

2. 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 register and obtain a business license or pay city business and occupation taxes. The activities listed in this section are illustrative only and are not intended to narrow the definition of engaging in business in subsection (E)(1) 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.

3. 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.

q. Accepting or executing a contract with the city, irrespective of whether goods or services are delivered within or without the city, or whether the person’s office or place of business is within or without the city.

4. 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 and pay tax:

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 director 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.

5. 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 (E)(4) of this section.

6. The city expressly intends that engaging in business includes 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 licensee benefits from the activity that constituted the original nexus generating contact or subsequent contacts.

F. Licensee means any business or business enterprise that applies for or is granted a business license. The term licensee shall also mean the person who submits a business license for approval, the owner or operator of a business or business enterprise, and any corporation, partnership, nonprofit, or organization which owns or operates the business or business enterprise.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4069, § 1, 2‑19‑13; Ord. No. 4220, § 1, 11‑15‑16; Ord. No. 4287, § 1, 11-6-18)

5.01.030 Administration and enforcement.

A. The director shall have general charge of, and supervision over, the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

B. The director may call upon other city departments to aid in the enforcement of this chapter.

C. The licensee shall, upon reasonable request, provide or allow the director to inspect relevant documentation for verification of the information provided by the licensee on the business license application.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.040 General business license required. Revised 12/18

Except as provided in KCC 5.01.045, it is unlawful for any business to operate in the city without having first obtained a general business license for the current calendar year or unexpired portion thereof and paid the fees prescribed in this chapter; provided, that a business solely owned and operated by a person under the age of 18 years shall not be required to have a business license. A business with premises, primary places of business, or main offices outside the city limits must be licensed before conducting business within the city limits.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4287, § 2, 11-6-18)

5.01.045 Threshold exemption. Revised 12/18

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 $2,000 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.

(Ord. No. 4287, § 3, 11-6-18)

5.01.050 Separate business license required.

A separate license shall be obtained for each business enterprise within the city and each license shall authorize the licensee to carry on, pursue, or conduct business only at that business enterprise. A separate license shall not be required for a facility determined by the director to be an accessory facility to a business for which a license is issued. When the location of a business changes, the licensee shall return the license to the department and a new license shall be issued for the new place of business free of charge so long as no grounds exist for denial or revocation of the license as set forth in KCC 5.01.130.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.060 License not transferable.

No license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable. In the event that ownership of a business changes, the license shall be returned to the department and a new license shall be applied for.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.070 License to be posted.

All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be posted in a conspicuous place at each business enterprise.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.080 Disclaimer of city liability.

Issuance of a license pursuant to this chapter does not constitute the creation of a duty by the city to indemnify the licensee for any wrongful acts against the public or any individual, or to guarantee the quality of goods, services, or expertise of a licensee. The issuance of a license does not shift responsibility from the licensee to the city for proper training, conduct, or equipment of the licensee or his agents, employees, or representatives.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.090 Application procedure, license fee.

A. The city council shall, by resolution, establish the fees to be assessed to implement and operate the regulations adopted in this chapter. In the event of any conflict or ambiguity regarding any fees established by council resolution, the director is authorized to interpret the fee schedule(s) to resolve the conflict or ambiguity.

B. All businesses operated not for profit or a qualifying participant in the STAR program established in Chapter 5.14 KCC shall be required to be licensed but shall be exempt from paying a business license fee upon satisfactory proof to the director of their not-for-profit or STAR qualified status.

C. The licensee shall make application for any business license required under this chapter to the director on a form prepared by the department, which application shall be accompanied by a receipt from the department showing payment of the required fee. A new business license shall be required annually. If the application for a new license is made within six months of the date fixed for expiration, the fee shall be one-half the annual fee.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4019, § 4, 12‑13‑11; Ord. No. 4064, § 2, 12‑11‑12; Ord. No. 4220, § 2, 11‑15‑16)

5.01.100 License does not indicate legality of business.

The issuance of a license pursuant to this chapter shall not be evidence of the legality of a business or that such business is conducted in conformity with any laws or regulations of the city of Kent, the state of Washington, or the United States. The issuance of a business license shall not prevent the city, the state of Washington, or the United States from taking any action relating to the conduct of the business or the licensee, including but not limited to action to revoke the license or deny an application for a future license, an action to cause the cessation of the business, or any action set forth in KCC 5.01.190.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.110 Relicensing.

A. A business license shall expire at the end of the calendar year for which it is issued.

B. The director may mail the forms for application for a new business license to business enterprises in the city to the last address provided to the director by the licensee. Failure of the business to receive any such form shall not excuse the business from securing the required license or from paying the license fee when due.

C. Failure to obtain a new business license for each subsequent calendar year shall subject the licensee to the penalties set forth in KCC 5.01.190, in addition to the required license fee.

D. Business licenses shall be obtained by January 1st of each subsequent calendar year that the person or business continues to engage in business within the city.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4220, § 3, 11‑15‑16)

5.01.120 Overpayment or refund of license fee.

Whenever a business makes an overpayment, and within two (2) years after the date of such overpayment makes an application for a refund or credit for the overpayment, the claim shall be considered by the director and, if approved, shall be repaid by the city.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.130 Grounds for denial or revocation of license.

A. In addition to other actions or penalties provided by law, the city may deny or revoke any license applied for or issued pursuant to this chapter for any of the following reasons:

1. The license application contains an omission or misrepresentation of material fact;

2. The license was procured by fraud;

3. The license is used, or is intended to be used, for a business materially different from that applied for;

4. The licensee or business fails to pay the licensing fee applicable to such license;

5. The licensee or business violates any of the requirements of this chapter;

6. The business engages in, or the licensee seeks a license to engage in, an unlawful business or activity;

7. The business operates in a manner that constitutes a nuisance pursuant to common law or the ordinances, codes, and statutes of the city of Kent or the state of Washington;

8. The licensee is not eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time the license is applied for;

9. The licensee or the business is delinquent in the payment of any fees, taxes, assessments, or fines owed to the city, including but not limited to permit fees, utility fees, gambling taxes, local improvement district assessments, and civil fines; or

10. The licensee or business has had a similar license denied or revoked and has not corrected the basis for the denial or revocation.

B. The issuance of a license that could have been denied pursuant to subsection (A) of this section shall not prohibit the city from taking action to revoke the license at a later date, and it shall at all times remain the exclusive responsibility of the licensee to ensure that the business complies with the requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.135 Massage or reflexology businesses – Conviction for prostitution or fraud related activity – Conviction for violation of Chapter 9.04 KCC – Denial or revocation of business license.

A. No person convicted of an offense under Chapter 9A.88 RCW or a similar law of another state, and no person convicted of an offense under Chapter 9A.60 RCW or a similar law of another state when such violation of Chapter 9A.60 RCW or similar law of another state is related to the operation of a massage business or reflexology business, shall be authorized or entitled to obtain a city of Kent business license for a massage business or reflexology business.

B. The issuance of a business license for a massage business or reflexology business to a person previously convicted of an offense described in subsection (A) of this section shall be null and void.

C. In the event a person who has obtained a city of Kent business license for a massage business or reflexology business is thereafter convicted of an offense described in subsection (A) of this section, such business license may be revoked in accordance with KCC 5.01.150. Revocation may occur regardless of the jurisdiction or location in which the violation of the offense occurs. The bases for revocation of the business license pursuant to this section shall be in addition to the grounds for revocation provided in KCC 5.01.130.

D. For a two (2) year period following conviction, a business license application for the operation of a massage business or reflexology business may be denied in accordance with this chapter to any licensee convicted of an offense under Chapter 9.04 KCC. The bases for denial of the business license pursuant to this section shall be in addition to the grounds for revocation provided in KCC 5.01.130.

E. A business license for the operation of a massage business or reflexology business may be revoked in accordance with this chapter to any licensee convicted of an offense under Chapter 9.04 KCC. The bases for revocation of the business license pursuant to this section shall be in addition to the grounds for revocation provided in KCC 5.01.130.

F. For the purposes of this section, the terms massage, massage business, reflexology, and reflexology business shall have the meanings set forth in RCW 18.108.010 as now enacted or hereafter amended or recodified.

(Ord. No. 4156, § 2, 6‑16‑15)

5.01.140 Denial or revocation of license – Notice and opportunity to be heard.

In accordance with KCC 5.01.150 through 5.01.180, a licensee shall have the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard subsequent to the denial of a business license, or prior to the revocation of an existing license. As an alternative to the process set forth in KCC 5.01.150 through 5.01.180, the city may seek an injunction or other legal remedy in court.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4220, § 4, 11‑15‑16)

5.01.150 Notice of license denial or revocation and scheduling of hearing.

A. Denial of license. Any action to deny a license applied for or issued shall be commenced by notice of the denial. A notice issued under this subsection shall substantially comply with the following:

1. The notice shall be delivered, by first class mail or by personal service, to the business license applicant or the holder of the business license as set forth in the most recent business license application.

2. The notice shall describe the basis for the denial.

3. The notice shall describe corrective action, if any, that may be taken to eliminate the basis for denial.

4. The notice shall specify a date for which a hearing to contest the denial has been scheduled before the hearing examiner in order for the licensee to appeal the denial. Such date shall occur not less than fourteen (14) but not more than sixty (60) days after the date the notice is delivered in accordance with this subsection (A).

5. The notice shall provide that if the licensee fails to appear on the date specified in the notice, the appeal of the denial is waived.

B. Revocation of license. Any action to revoke a license issued shall be commenced by a notice of the revocation. A notice issued under this subsection shall substantially comply with the following:

1. The notice shall be delivered, by first class mail or personal service, to the holder of the business license as set forth in the most recent business license application or business license issued.

2. The notice shall describe the basis for the revocation.

3. The notice shall describe corrective action, if any, that may be taken to eliminate the basis for revocation.

4. The notice shall specify a date for which a hearing to contest the revocation has been scheduled before the hearing examiner. Such date shall be scheduled to occur not less than fourteen (14) but not more than sixty (60) days after the date the notice is delivered in accordance with this subsection (B).

5. The notice shall provide that if the holder of the business license fails to appear on the date specified in the notice, default judgment shall be entered, and the license shall be revoked upon the failure to appear.

6. The business may continue to operate until such time as the hearing examiner issues an order regarding the revocation unless the city obtains an order enjoining the operation of the business pending the hearing examiner’s order.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.160 Hearing to deny or revoke business license.

A. Parties to hearing. The parties to a hearing provided pursuant to this chapter shall be the city and the licensee. Either party may be represented by legal counsel properly licensed in the state of Washington.

B. Date for hearing. Hearings shall be scheduled to occur no less than fourteen (14) but not more than sixty (60) days after the date the notice is delivered in accordance with KCC 5.01.150; provided, additional hearings may be held after sixty (60) days as determined by the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall have discretion to grant continuances and reschedule hearings in the interest of the parties and justice.

C. Prehearing conferences. The hearing examiner may, at his or her discretion, or at the request of either of the parties, hold a prehearing conference to schedule additional hearings, order discovery, and to make other appropriate pretrial determinations. A prehearing conference may be held by telephone.

D. Hearing process. The parties to the hearing, or legal counsel for the parties, may call witnesses and present evidence and rebuttal evidence subject to the following:

1. The city shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there are sufficient grounds for the denial or revocation of the license pursuant to KCC 5.01.130.

2. The parties shall be responsible for securing the appearance of any witnesses they may call. Neither the city nor the hearing examiner shall have the burden of securing any witnesses on behalf of the licensee.

3. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The hearing examiner may allow hearsay evidence and may permit the admission of evidence without proof of the chain of custody of evidence. Notes, reports, summaries, notices, photographs, or other materials prepared by the parties may be admitted into evidence if requested without satisfaction of formal rules of evidence. Notwithstanding the admission of evidence, the hearing examiner shall determine the proper weight to be assigned to any evidence admitted.

E. Default judgment. If the licensee fails to appear on the hearing date specified in the notice, or at any other hearing set by the hearing examiner, the right to a hearing shall be forfeited, default judgment shall be entered, and the license shall be denied or revoked.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.170 Authority of hearing examiner – Order – Appeal.

A. Authority of hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall have the authority to determine whether or not there are sufficient grounds for the denial or revocation of the business license pursuant to KCC 5.01.130.

B. Order of hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall issue a written order that sets forth a procedural summary of the hearing, his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law, and his or her determination. In the event of a default judgment, the written order shall set forth whether notice was properly issued, the facts regarding the failure of the licensee to appear, and a determination of default in the event notice was proper. The written order shall be delivered to the parties by first class mail, deposited in the mail no more than twenty-one (21) days following the conclusion of the hearing. The order of the hearing examiner shall become effective on the third day following placement of the order in the mail.

C. Appeal. An appeal of the order of the hearing examiner must be filed with the King County superior court within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the effective date of the order.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.180 Corrective action prior to hearing.

In the event a licensee takes corrective action and the grounds for the denial or revocation are abated, and such corrective action and abatement occurs prior to the date set for hearing, the hearing shall be cancelled, and the license shall be issued or reissued.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11)

5.01.190 Violations and enforcement – Penalties.

Any violation of any provision of this chapter may be enforced as provided for in this section. Each separate date, or portion thereof, during which any violation occurs shall constitute a separate violation.

A. Civil infraction. A business, licensee, or person who violates any provision of this chapter commits a Class 1 civil infraction as set forth in RCW 7.80.120(1)(a), as currently enacted or hereafter amended. An infraction issued pursuant to this section shall be issued by law enforcement officers, filed in the Kent municipal court and processed in the same manner as other infractions filed in the Kent municipal court. If a business, licensee, or person cited for failure to obtain a business license appears before the Kent municipal court and provides written evidence that he or she obtained a business license prior to adjudication of the infraction, the monetary penalty shall be reduced to $100 and the court may assess court administrative costs of $25. The court administrative costs shall be in lieu of the statutory assessments referenced in RCW 7.80.120.

B. Civil code enforcement. A civil code enforcement action may be instituted pursuant to Chapter 1.04 KCC to effectuate the abatement or corrective action required as a result of a violation of this chapter. Failure to timely abate the violation or take the required corrective action may result in the issuance of a fine in accordance with KCC 1.04.080 and 1.04.200.

C. Criminal violation. A person who knowingly violates a provision of this chapter, or commits a repeat violation of this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to the maximum penalty established in RCW 9A.20.021(3), as now enacted or hereafter amended. For purposes of this section, repeat violation means either a prior committed finding by the Kent municipal court of an infraction issued under this chapter, or a committed finding by the hearing examiner of a notice of violation issued under Chapter 1.04 KCC, or a committed finding under KCC 1.04.130, that a violation of this chapter has occurred or has been committed by the same business, licensee, or person within a five-year period. To constitute a repeat violation, the violation need not be the same violation as the prior violation.

D. Injunction. In addition to or as an alternative to any other enforcement or penalty provided for in this chapter, and because a violation constitutes an actual injury to the community, the city may seek injunctive or other equitable relief to prevent any activity in violation of this chapter.

E. Collections. Any license fee or penalty due, unpaid, and delinquent under this chapter shall constitute a debt to the city. The city may, pursuant to Chapter 19.16 RCW, use a collection agency to collect unpaid license fees or penalties, or it may seek collection by court proceedings, which remedies shall be in addition to all other remedies.

(Ord. No. 4001, § 2, 8‑2‑11; Ord. No. 4220, § 5, 11-15-16)