Chapter 5.04


5.04.010    Definitions.

5.04.020    Business license required.

5.04.025    Exemptions.

5.04.030    Application procedure.

5.04.040    Term of license.

5.04.050    Procedure for renewing license.

5.04.060    Fees – Time for payment – Penalty.

5.04.070    Ineligible activities.

5.04.080    Revocation or suspension of license – Grounds.

5.04.090    Revocation or suspension of license – Process.

5.04.100    Sale or transfer of business – New license required.

5.04.110    Penalty for violation.

Legislative history: Ords. 25 and 93-300.

5.04.010 Definitions.

Except as otherwise expressly declared or clearly apparent from the context in which used, the following definitions shall be applied in construing the provisions of this chapter:

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

B. 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 below 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 (B)(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.

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:

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.

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 (B)(4) of this section.

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 taxpayer benefits from the activity that constituted the original nexus generating contact or subsequent contacts. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.020 Business license required.

It is unlawful for any person to conduct, operate, engage in or practice any business in the city of Mill Creek that is conducted, operated, engaged in or practiced in whole or in part from real property located within the city, without having first obtained a business license from the city. If more than one business is conducted on a single premises, a separate license shall be required for each separate business conducted, operated, engaged in or practiced. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.025 Exemptions.

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 fee exemption threshold provided by this section does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit.

B. Nonbusiness activities carried on by a religious, charitable, benevolent, fraternal or social organization.

C. Minors engaged in babysitting, newspaper delivery, lemonade stands, lawn mowing, and similar activities.

D. Common carrier delivery of goods and services. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.030 Application procedure.

A. No business license shall be issued or renewed except upon written application made to the city clerk. Such application shall be signed by the person who intends to conduct, operate or engage in the business for which the license is to be issued, and shall state the nature and address or addresses of the business or businesses, or proposed business or businesses, of the applicant, and such other information as may be required by the city clerk. A nonrefundable application fee in an amount equal to the first annual license fee for the business for which the license is sought shall accompany the application. In the event that the license shall be granted, the application fee shall be credited to payment of the said first annual license fee.

B. If the applicant is a partnership, the application must be made and signed by one of the partners; if a corporation, by one of the officers thereof; if a foreign corporation, partnership or nonresident individual, by the resident agent or local manager of the corporation, partnership or individual.

C. The city clerk shall forward copies of all applications for business licenses to the city manager. The city manager shall cause an investigation of the application to be made by the proper city officials and shall approve or deny the license in writing within 30 days of the date of the application unless, in the determination of the city manager, additional time is required for completion of the investigation process. If an application is denied by the city manager, the reason for denial shall be stated.

D. Neither the filing of an application for license, or the renewal thereof, nor the payment of any application or renewal fee, shall authorize a person to engage in or conduct a business until such license has been granted or renewed. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1; Ord. 2015-792 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2008-681 §§ 1, 2)

5.04.040 Term of license.

All business licenses issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be valid until December 31st of the year for which they are issued, and all renewals thereafter shall be for a period of one calendar year commencing January 1st of the year for which the license is issued and terminating and expiring December 31st of the same year. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.050 Procedure for renewing license.

All licenses to be issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be renewed by following the same procedure as required for original application. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.060 Fees – Time for payment – Penalty.

A. The fee for each license and renewal of same required by this chapter shall be provided in Chapter 3.42 MCMC.

B. All businesses required to obtain licenses under this chapter shall obtain the same and pay all fees required on or before February 15th of each respective year. Any business which fails to obtain and pay the license fees within said period of time shall, in addition to any other penalties provided in this chapter, be assessed an amount equal to 50 percent of the license fee for said business as a penalty for such late application and/or payment. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.070 Ineligible activities.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a license hereunder may not be issued to or held by 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 this code or the statutes of the state of Washington or any other applicable law or regulation. The granting of a business license shall not authorize any person to engage in any activity prohibited by federal, state or local law or regulation. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.080 Revocation or suspension of license – Grounds.

The city manager may, at any time, suspend or revoke any license issued under the provisions of this chapter whenever the licensee, or any officer or partner thereof:

A. Has violated any federal, state or city statute, law, regulation or ordinance upon the business premises stated in the license or in connection with the business stated in the license, whether or not the licensee, or officer or partner thereof, has been convicted in any court of competent jurisdiction of such violation;

B. Is or has conducted, engaged in or operated the business stated in the license upon premises which do not conform to this code;

C. Has maintained or permitted the business stated in the license to be conducted, engaged in or operated in such a manner as to constitute a public nuisance. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1; Ord. 2010-718 § 5 (Exh. E))

5.04.090 Revocation or suspension of license – Process.

Whenever the city manager determines that there is cause for suspending or revoking any license issued pursuant to this chapter, he shall notify the person holding said license by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, of his determination. Notice mailed to the address on the license shall be deemed received three days after mailing. The notice shall specify the grounds for suspension or revocation. The notice shall also specify that the licensee may appeal the city manager’s determination to the examiner using the procedures of Chapter 14.11 MCMC. The city manager’s decision shall be entitled to substantial weight. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1; Ord. 2010-718 § 5 (Exh. E))

5.04.100 Sale or transfer of business – New license required.

Upon the sale or transfer of any business licensed pursuant to this chapter, the license issued to the prior owner or transferrer shall automatically expire on the date of such sale or transfer and the new owner intending to continue such business in the city of Mill Creek shall apply for and obtain a new business license pursuant to the procedures established by this chapter prior to engaging in, conducting or operating the business. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)

5.04.110 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 of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a fine in an amount not less than $250.00 and not more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The minimum mandatory fine of $250.00 shall not be suspended or deferred. In addition to the penalties hereinabove provided, any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is a public nuisance and all remedies given by law for the prevention and abatement of nuisances shall apply thereto. Further, each day that such condition or violation continues shall be regarded as a new and separate offense and shall be punished accordingly. (Ord. 2018-843 § 1)