Chapter 5.04


5.04.010    Purpose.

5.04.020    Scope.

5.04.030    Definitions—Exemptions.

5.04.040    Business license—Required.

5.04.050    Separate general business license required.

5.04.060    General business license—Application.

5.04.070    License fees—Payment.

5.04.080    Duration of license.

5.04.090    License renewal—Filing date.

5.04.100    Delinquent charge.

5.04.110    Refund request.

5.04.120    Temporary or daily business licenses.

5.04.130    Denial, suspension or revocation of licenses.

5.04.140    Display of licenses—Transferability.

5.04.150    Notice of right to suspend or revoke.

5.04.160    Licenses subject to specific controls.

5.04.180    Schedule of license fees.

5.04.210    Violation—Penalty.

5.04.010 Purpose.

The provisions of this chapter shall be an exercise of the power of the city to license for the purpose of revenue and regulation. (Ord. 460 § 3, 1987)

5.04.020 Scope.

All persons who engage in business within the city as set forth in this chapter shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter, unless a specific business license is required to be obtained under the provisions of another ordinance of the city or unless specifically exempted from licensing under Section 5.04.030. (Ord 768 § 1(A), 2018: Ord. 460 § 4, 1987)

5.04.030 Definitions—Exemptions.

A.    Definitions.

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.    The term “person” means one or more natural persons, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, associations or other entities capable of having an action at law brought against such entity.

3.    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 (A)(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.

4.    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, or 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.

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.

B.    Exemptions.

1.    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 two thousand dollars ($2,000) (or higher threshold as determined by city) and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall be exempt from the general business license requirement in this chapter. The exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit or license.

2.    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 shall be exempt from the business license requirements of this chapter:

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.

h.    Any instrumentality of the United States, state of Washington, or political subdivision thereof with respect to the exercise of governmental functions.

i.    Any farmer, gardener or other person who shall sell, deliver or peddle any fruits, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats or other farm produce or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured by such person in this state as provided in RCW 36.71.090.

j.    Any person under the age of eighteen (18).

3.    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)(2) of this section.

(Ord 768 § 1(B), 2018: Ord. 460 § 21, 1987)

5.04.040 Business license—Required.

It is unlawful for any person to conduct, operate, engage in or practice any business in the city without having first obtained and being the holder of a valid and subsisting license to do so, to be known as a business license, and paying the fees prescribed. (Ord 768 § 1(C), 2018: Ord. 460 § 5, 1987)

5.04.050 Separate general business license required.

A separate license shall be obtained for each branch, establishment or location at which a person is engaging in business, and each license shall authorize the licensee to carry on or pursue, or conduct, only that business or business-related activity at that location. (Ord 768 § 1(D), 2018: Ord. 460 § 6, 1987)

5.04.060 General business license—Application.

A.    An application for a business license shall be made to the city clerk.

B.    The application shall be on a form prescribed by the city clerk and shall include:

1.    The name of the applicant;

2.    His or her residence;

3.    The address of the principal place of the business or residence of applicant;

4.    The nature and/or type of business to be conducted;

5.    The applicant’s state employer number, if applicable;

6.    The applicant’s state sales tax number, if applicable;

7.    The number of current employees;

8.    A statement, executed under the penalty of perjury, that the facts stated in the application are true and correct to the best of the applicant’s knowledge.

(Ord. 460 § 12, 1987)

5.04.070 License fees—Payment.

A.    There is levied to be collected from those persons engaging in business in the city annual license fees in such amounts as are established by city council resolution for the following types of license:

1.    Original License or Renewal License.

a.    Home occupation (business conducted within a home);

b.    Resident commercial business (business conducted from place of business located in the nonresidential zone);

c.    Nonresident commercial business (business conducted from place of business located outside city);

d.    Temporary business (original only for period of less than one month).

2.    Master Exhibitor’s License. This license is available for persons who sponsor carnivals, exhibitions or like events where such events do not extend beyond five days no more often than twice a year and where multiple individuals are participating. In such cases the master exhibitor must provide to the city a complete and accurate list of participants with names and addresses of those participating. If participants also do business in the city other than during the events covered by the master exhibitor’s license such participants are required to have a separate business license.

B.    Such annual license fee shall become due and payable on the first day of each calendar year as to any business required to have a business license under this chapter and in existence on said date. As to any business commenced during year, the annual license fee shall be due and payable on the first day that business is transacted or carried on. The business license fee shall not be prorated for any part of the year.

C.    Payments made by draft or check shall not be payment of the fee unless and until the same has been honored in the usual course of business, nor shall acceptance of any such check or draft operate as an acquittance or discharge of the fee unless and until the same is honored.

(Ord. 460 § 7, 1987)

5.04.080 Duration of license.

All licenses issued pursuant to the provision of this chapter, shall expire on the thirty-first day of December of the year for which they were issued, unless sooner suspended or revoked in the manner provided in this chapter. (Ord. 460 § 8, 1987)

5.04.090 License renewal—Filing date.

Applications for renewal of a license shall be made on or before the expiration date provided for in this chapter. All licenses issued subsequent to the original license shall be deemed renewal licenses if there has been no discontinuance of the licensee’s operations or activities. (Ord. 460 § 9, 1987)

5.04.100 Delinquent charge.

There may be assessed by the clerk an additional delinquent charge on applications not filed on or before March 1st as follows:

Days Past Due

Percent of License Fee







61 or more


(Ord. 460 § 10, 1987)

5.04.110 Refund request.

If pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant’s request for a license is denied, either upon original application or renewal, one hundred (100) percent of the fee tendered may be refunded to the applicant no later than ninety (90) days following such denial, provided that no refund shall be made where during the pendency of the original application the applicant has engaged in the business activity for which the license was intended, and in that case such amount shall be forfeited to the city. (Ord. 460 § 11, 1987)

5.04.120 Temporary or daily business licenses.

Any person operating from a fixed location, or who shall within the city travel from business to business, house to house, or approach individuals and solicit to purchase, order, buy or agree to purchase, buy or subscribe for any personal property to be delivered in the future, shall pay a temporary or daily business license fee, in such amount as set by resolution of the city council.

Before obtaining any such temporary or daily business license, the applicant shall have obtained a registration certificate from the Washington State Department of Revenue as required by RCW 82.32.030.

A temporary or daily business license may be revoked immediately by the city if issuance of such license is deemed to be a nuisance to businesses or citizens of Pateros. (Ord 768 § 1(E), 2018: Ord. 460 § 13, 1987)

5.04.130 Denial, suspension or revocation of licenses.

A.    Revocation by City Clerk. The city clerk shall have the right to revoke or suspend any license at any time on the following grounds:

1.    That the license was procured by fraud or false representation of facts;

2.    That the application or licensee or any of his or her servants, agents or employees, while acting within the scope of their employment, has violated or failed to comply with any of the ordinances of the city; provided, that this section shall not apply to traffic violations or to violations of ordinances when said violations are corrected within a period of thirty (30) days from the date of the violation or when said violations are deemed not significant by the city clerk; or

3.    That the licensee or any of his or her servants, agents or employees has been convicted of either a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or involving fraud or an attempt to defraud while acting within the scope of their employment;

4.    Conviction of a violation of any provision of this title shall be prima facie evidence to warrant or suspension or revocation of the license.

The city clerk, upon finding that one or more of the above cited conditions exist, shall suspend the business licenses for a period of thirty (30) days in case of a first violation and revoke the business license in cases involving a second violation. (Ord. 460 § 14, 1987)

5.04.140 Display of licenses—Transferability.

A.    LicensesTo be PostedException. All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter authorizing the maintenance or conducting of any occupation, business, trade or entertainment at a specified location, shall be posted in a conspicuous place at such location, and such license shall not be tampered with in any manner; provided however, that when the licensee has no established place or business and goes from place to place or from house to house, then such license must be carried on the person of such licensee while actually engaged in the licensed occupation, business or trade.

B.    LicenseUnlawful Use.

1.    It is unlawful for any person to use, or permit to be used, any license, except those issued by the city clerk in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.

2.    It is unlawful for any person to make, or manufacture, any licenses, except upon order of the city clerk.

C.    LicensesNot Transferable. No license issued under provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable, unless specifically provided otherwise. All licenses issued by the city clerk are and remain the property of the city and if found in the possession of any person other than the licensee or his or her servants, agents or employees, such license shall be immediately confiscated by officials of the city.

(Ord. 460 § 15, 1987)

5.04.150 Notice of right to suspend or revoke.

Every license issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall state on that substance that such license is issued in consideration of the fee paid and that the same is subject to suspension or revocation in the manner provided in this chapter. (Ord. 460 § 16, 1987)

5.04.160 Licenses subject to specific controls.

The issuance of a license pursuant to the terms of this chapter and all activities of any licensee granted a license shall at all times be subject to all ordinances and regulations of the city enacted in the exercise of its police power, and the prohibition or regulation of any specific activity or sale of commodity by specific ordinance may prevail over the terms and conditions of this chapter when they may be in conflict. (Ord. 460 § 17, 1987)

5.04.180 Schedule of license fees.

Annual license fees for business licenses shall be established by resolution of the city council. (Ord 768 § 1(F), 2018: Ord. 460 § 22, 1987)

5.04.210 Violation—Penalty.

A.    Violation of the terms of this chapter shall constitute a civil infraction with a monetary penalty of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00). For the purposes of this chapter, each day that a person is found to be in violation constitutes a separate violation.

B.    Principal Offender Defined. Everyone concerned in any act or omission in violation of this chapter, or aids or abets the same, whether present or absent, and every person who directly or indirectly counsels, encourages, hires, commands, induces or otherwise procures another to commit such violation is, and shall be a principal under the terms of this title and may be proceeded against and prosecuted as such.

(Ord. 98-571 § 3(D), 1998; Ord. 460 § 20, 1987)