Chapter 4.25


4.25.010    Definitions.

4.25.020    Business registration required.

4.25.030    Application procedure.

4.25.040    Term of registration.

4.25.050    Procedure for renewing registration.

4.25.060    Ineligible activities.

4.25.070    Standards of conduct.

4.25.080    New location.

4.25.090    Change of ownership of business – New registration required.

4.25.100    Penalties for violation.

4.25.110    Exclusions.

4.25.010 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 registered pursuant to this chapter.

B. “Solicitor” means any person or agent on behalf of a corporation or other organization who goes from house to house or place to place in the city, selling, taking orders for or offering to sell, rent, lease or take orders for the sale, rental or lease of goods, wares, merchandise, services or for present or future delivery or for the making, manufacturing or repairing of any article or thing whatsoever for the present or future delivery, and any persons setting up a temporary or seasonal retail business within the city of Ritzville for the purpose of performing or selling goods or services.

C. “Temporary or seasonal” means a time period of operations not to exceed four consecutive months.

D. “Business” includes all services, activities, occupations, pursuits or professions with a physical address or conducting business within the city with the object of pecuniary gain, benefit or advantage to the person, or to another person or class, directly or indirectly or whether part-time or full-time.

E. “Business license” means that document issued by the city licensing the transaction of the indicated business by the person whose name appears thereon for the stated period.

F. “Business Licensing Service” or “BLS” means the program within the Washington State Department of Revenue providing business licensing services to the city.

G. Engaging in Business.

1. The term “engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in any business within the city, whether or not an office or physical location for the business lies within the city, 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 (lacking in significance or importance) 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 (G)(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 limits.

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 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 the incorporated city limits 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 board of directors member who attends a board meeting.

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

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, if relevant.

f. Conducting advertising through the mail.

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

5. A seller outside the city merely delivering goods into the city by means of a common carrier is not required to register and obtain a business license; provided, that it engages in no other business activities in the incorporated city limits. Such activities do not include those listed in subsection (G)(4) 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. (Ord. 2135 § 2, 2019; Ord. 2118 § 1, 2018; Ord. 2039 § 1, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.020 Business registration required.

It is unlawful for any person to conduct, operate, engage in or practice any business in the city without having first registered with the city and obtained a business license. If more than one single business is conducted on a single premises, a separate registration is required for each business owner. If a resident business owner conducts business in more than one location within the city a separate business license is required for each such location. Only one business license is required for a single business owner at one location regardless whether multiple types of business may be conducted at that location by the same business owner. The business license required under this chapter is separate from and in addition to any other registration or license required under any other ordinance of the city. (Ord. 2135 § 3, 2019; Ord. 2039 § 2, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.030 Application procedure.

A. Application for a business license is made through the Business Licensing Service (BLS) and must include all information required for each license requested as well as the total fees due for all licenses, including the application handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

B. No person may engage in business activity in the city without first having obtained a valid license to do so. Every license granted under this chapter must be posted in a conspicuous place in the place of business of the licensee. (Ord. 2135 § 4, 2019; Ord. 2118 § 2, 2018; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.040 Term of registration.

All city business licenses issued under this chapter expire on the date established by the Business Licensing Service, and must be renewed on or before that date to continue conducting business in the city. (Ord. 2135 § 5, 2019; Ord. 2039 § 3, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.050 Procedure for renewing registration.

A. Renewal of the business license issued under this chapter is made through the Business Licensing Service, and must include all information required to renew all licenses held, as well as the total fees due for all licenses, including the renewal handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

B. The city business license fee required by this chapter is as set on the fee schedule adopted by ordinance of the city council. The license term and respective city fee amount may be prorated as necessary to synchronize the license expiration with the expiration of the business license account established by the Business Licensing Service.

C. Failure to complete the license renewal by the expiration date will incur the late renewal penalty required by RCW 19.02.085 in addition to all other fees due.

D. Failure to complete the license renewal within 120 days after the expiration date will result in the cancellation of the license and requires submission of a new license application as provided for under this chapter in order to continue to conduct business in the city. (Ord. 2135 § 6, 2019; Ord. 2118 § 3, 2018; Ord. 2039 § 4, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.060 Ineligible activities.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, a registration 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 any ordinance of the city or the statutes of the state of Washington or any other applicable law or regulation. The granting of a business registration shall not authorize any person to engage in any activity prohibited by a federal, state or local law or regulation. (Ord. 2135 § 6, 2019; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.070 Standards of conduct.

Every registered business under this chapter shall comply with all federal, state and city statutes, laws, regulations and ordinances relating to the business premises and the conduct of the business thereon. (Ord. 2135 § 6, 2019; Ord. 2039 § 5, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.080 New location.

A registered business may change the location of the registered business. The registered business must notify the Business Licensing Service sufficiently before commencing business at the new location to allow the city to review and approve the change request. Some circumstances may require a new application be submitted as part of a change of location. (Ord. 2135 § 7, 2019; Ord. 2039 § 6, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.090 Change of ownership of business – New registration required.

Upon the change of ownership of any business, which is registered pursuant to this chapter, the registration issued to the prior owner automatically expires on the date of such change and the new owner must obtain a new business registration as provided for under this chapter prior to engaging in business activities in the city under the acquired business. (Ord. 2135 § 8, 2019; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.100 Penalties for violation.

Violations of this chapter shall be punishable in accordance with RCC 1.02.010, General penalty. (Ord. 2039 § 7, 2010; Ord. 1013, 2001).

4.25.110 Exclusions.

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

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 $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.

B. A business license shall not be required for:

1. Any activities of a temporary nature, such as contests, circuses, shows, auctions or other business licensed under another ordinance of the city.

2. Any agency of the United States, the state of Washington or political subdivision thereof.

3. Nonprofit associations, clubs, or corporations maintained for the purpose of organized sports, charity, public school-related activities, or municipal-related activities, including police or fire department reserve organizations provided they submit a copy of their tax exemption letter issued by the IRS to qualify under 26 USC 501(c).

4. Vendors not otherwise engaged in business in the city who rent a booth or space, or are otherwise a participant, at a city-sanctioned or sponsored event.

5. Minors doing business or operating a business where no other person is employed by the minor, such as babysitting or lawn mowing.

6. Individual real estate agents; provided, that the brokerage has a business license.

7. Farmer, gardener or other person selling, delivering or peddling any fruit, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats or other farm produce or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured by such person in any place in the state or to any person selling or delivering milk or milk products or bakery goods produced or manufactured in the state. (Ord. 2135 § 9, 2019; Ord. 2118 § 4, 2018; Ord. 2039 § 8, 2010; Ord. 1013 § 11, 2001).