Chapter 5.05


5.05.010    Purpose and policy.

5.05.020    Definitions.

5.05.030    Business license required.

5.05.040    Exemptions.

5.05.050    Application process.

5.05.055    Renewal process – Penalties.

5.05.060    Sale or transfer of business.

5.05.070    Tax or fee constitutes debt.

5.05.080    License revocation.

5.05.090    Notices.

5.05.100    Violations – Penalties.

5.05.010 Purpose and policy.

For the city of La Center to carry out the duties and authorities delegated to it by the Washington State Constitution and the laws of the state of Washington as a noncharter code city, maintenance of current information with respect to business, trade, service, commercial and professional activities carried on within the city is necessary and essential for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. Such information can best be collected and maintained on a current basis through a business registration supported by the collection of a business license fee. The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the city to license for revenue. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.020 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, except where otherwise declared or clearly apparent from the context, the definitions in this section shall apply.

(1) “Business” includes all activities engaged in with the object of gain, benefit or advantage to a person or class, directly or indirectly.

(2) “City” means the city of La Center.

(3) “Engage in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in business, and 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. 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.

(4) “Person” means any individual, receiver, assignee, trustee in bankruptcy, trust, company, firm, partnership, joint venture company, joint stock company, business trust, corporation, association, or any group of individuals acting as a unit. “Person” shall not include clubs, fraternities or any other type of association of a benevolent, charitable, religious or fraternal nature, nor shall it include any public or private school or members of associations thereof.

(5) “Business Licensing Service” or “BLS” mean the office within the Washington State Department of Revenue providing business licensing services to the city. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.030 Business license required.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to engage in business, as defined herein, in whole or in part within the city without first having registered with and obtained a business license from the city. If more than one business is conducted on a single premises but by separate entities, a separate registration and license is required for each separate entity engaging in business within the city. If a business is engaged in from more than one premises in the city, a separate license is required for each. The definition of “engaging in business” will be broadly construed and the activities listed are illustrative only and are not intended to narrow the definition of “engaging in business.” If an activity is not listed, whether it constitutes engaging in business in the city must be determined by considering all the facts and circumstances and applicable law.

(2) The license is personal and nontransferable. In case business is transacted at two or more separate places in the city by one person, a separate license for each place at which business is transacted with the public is required, but for such additional locational licenses, no additional city fee is required. Each license must be numbered, and show the name of the business and the taxpayer, and the place of the business. The license must at all times be conspicuously posted in the place of business for which it is issued. Where a place of business of the person is changed, the person must notify the Business Licensing Service prior to beginning business at the new location. A change of location may require approval by the city, and may require submitting a new application as provided for in this chapter. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.040 Exemptions.

Some or all requirements of this chapter do not apply to the activities described in this section, even though they might otherwise qualify within the definition of “engaging in business” within the city.

(1) A seller of goods 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.

(2) Any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income from business conducted within the city is equal to or less than $2,000 per year, and who does not maintain a physical place of business in the city, shall apply for and obtain a business license but need not pay the city license fee. This threshold and partial exemption do not absolve any business from obtaining any other permit, license or approval that is otherwise required.

(3) Tax Exempt Organizations. Any organization, aside from those identified in subsection (5) of this section, having been granted a federal tax exemption under 26 USC 501(c)(3) must submit an application for a city business license as provided for in this chapter and provide proof of the tax exemption, but is exempt from both the city’s business license fee and annual license renewal requirements of this chapter.

(4) Municipal Corporations. Municipal corporations and other governmental agencies shall be exempt from the license and license fee requirements of this chapter.

(5) Religious Organizations. The nonbusiness activities of religious organizations are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. Such organizations are not required to but may nevertheless file an application with the city for informational purposes only, as provided for in this chapter but within the modified requirements described in subsection (3) of this section. Any religious organization which carries on any business activity for which it may be required by the laws of the United States to file a federal income tax return is, to that extent only, subject to the city business license and license fee requirements of this chapter.

(6) If a person engages in no other activities in or with the city but the following, that person 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 or on the internet from a location outside the city. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.050 Application process.

Application for a city business license is made through the Business Licensing Service (BLS).

(1) The application must include all information required for all licenses requested, and the total fees due for all licenses, as well as the application handling fee required under RCW 19.02.075.

(2) Upon receipt of information from BLS of the submission of an application and payment, the finance department will review the application and investigate any statements made therein, and approve or deny issuance of the license within 30 days of the date it was submitted.

(3) If an application is denied, the reason for refusal will be set forth in writing and mailed to the applicant at the mailing address provided on the application. The applicant may appeal a denial to the city council or the council may refer the appeal to a hearings examiner. Any such appeal must be submitted to the finance department within 14 calendar days of the date of decision. Upon receipt, the city will conduct a public evidentiary hearing within 28 days of receipt of the appeal. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.055 Renewal process – Penalties.

A license issued under this chapter expires on the date established by the Business Licensing Service (BLS), and must be renewed on or before that date in order to continue conducting business in the city.

(1) Application for renewal of a license is made through BLS. The renewal must include all information required to renew all licenses and the total fees due for all licenses, as well as the renewal handling fee required under RCW 19.02.075.

(2) Failure to renew the license by the expiration date will incur the late fee required under RCW 19.02.085 in addition to all other fees due.

(3) Failure to renew the license within 120 days after the expiration will result in cancellation of the license and will require a new application for the license in order to continue conducting business in the city. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019.]

5.05.060 Sale or transfer of business.

A license issued under this chapter is not transferrable. Upon the sale or transfer of a business, the new owner must obtain their own license for the business, as provided for in this chapter, before engaging in business therewith, and the prior owner’s license for the business is considered canceled without a refund due for any partial year of licensure. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.070 Tax or fee constitutes debt.

Any city license fee due and unpaid under this chapter, and all city-imposed penalties thereon, shall constitute a debt to the city of La Center and may be collected by court proceedings in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.080 License revocation.

The city may revoke the city license issued to any person who is in default in any payment of any city license fee hereunder, or who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter. Notice of such revocation shall be mailed to the person by the city, and on and after the date thereof any such person who continues to engage in business shall be deemed to be operating without a license and shall be subject to any or all penalties herein provided. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.090 Notices.

Any notice required by this chapter shall be sent by regular U.S. first class mail to the person and address listed in the business registration records maintained by the city pursuant to this chapter. It is the obligation of each business to maintain current contact information on record with the city and any omissions or mistakes shall be the responsibility of the business. Failure of the business to receive notice shall not release the business from any license fee, tax or penalties, nor shall such failure operate to extend any time limit set by the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]

5.05.100 Violations – Penalties.

Any person violating or failing to comply with any requirement of this chapter or any lawful rule or regulation adopted by the city’s finance department shall be guilty of a civil infraction and subject to civil enforcement under Chapter 2.15 LCMC or by any other lawful process. [Ord. 2019-21 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2019; Ord. 2018-14 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018.]