Chapter 5.76
BUSINESS LICENSES

Sections:

5.76.010    Authority.

5.76.020    License – Required.

5.76.030    Definitions.

5.76.040    License – Contents.

5.76.050    Application for new business.

5.76.060    Location change.

5.76.070    License – Term.

5.76.080    Fee schedules.

5.76.090    Exemptions.

5.76.100    Payment of fee – Time limit.

5.76.110    Payment by uncertified check – Extension of time for payment.

5.76.120    Failure to make application.

5.76.130    Appeals to city council.

5.76.140    Finance department to make rules.

5.76.150    Mailing of notices.

5.76.160    False applications, etc.

5.76.170    License fee additional to others.

5.76.180    Tax constitutes debt.

5.76.190    Violations.

5.76.200    General fund.

5.76.010 Authority.

The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the authority and power of the city to license for the purposes of revenue. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 1, 1994)

5.76.020 License – Required.

It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or association to engage in any kind of business, trade or profession at a permanent or temporary location or as a temporary/itinerant vendor as defined herein without first obtaining a license therefor in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. It shall be a condition precedent to the issuance of a business license hereunder that the business engaged in by the applicant be lawful under any applicable city, state or federal law. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2011-17 § 2; Ord. 3062 § 2, 1994)

5.76.030 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Year” means the calendar year.

(2) “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, company, corporation, association, receiver, assignee, trustee in bankruptcy, trust, estate, joint venture, club, joint stock company, business trust, society, or any group of individuals acting as a unit.

(3) “Business” includes all activities, occupations, trades, pursuits or professions located and/or engaged in within the city of Wenatchee, with the object of gain, benefit or advantage to the taxpayer, or to another person or class, directly or indirectly. Each business location shall be deemed a separate business.

(4) Engaging in Business.

(a) The term “engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in any 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.

(b) 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 (4)(a) 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.

(c) 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:

(i) 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.

(ii) Owning, renting, leasing, using, or maintaining an office, place of business, or other establishment in the city.

(iii) Soliciting sales.

(iv) Making repairs or providing maintenance or service to real or tangible personal property, including warranty work and property maintenance.

(v) 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.

(vi) Installing, constructing, or supervising installation or construction of real or tangible personal property.

(vii) Soliciting, negotiating, or approving franchise, license, or other similar agreements.

(viii) Collecting current or delinquent accounts.

(ix) Picking up and transporting tangible personal property, solid waste, construction debris, or excavated materials.

(x) 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.

(xi) 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.

(xii) Meeting with customers or potential customers, even when no sales or orders are solicited at the meetings.

(xiii) 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.

(xiv) Investigating, resolving, or otherwise assisting in resolving customer complaints.

(xv) 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.

(xvi) Delivering goods in vehicles owned, rented, leased, used, or maintained by the person or another acting on its behalf.

(d) 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:

(i) Meeting with suppliers of goods and services as a customer.

(ii) Meeting with government representatives in their official capacity, other than those performing contracting or purchasing functions.

(iii) 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.

(iv) Renting tangible or intangible property as a customer when the property is not used in the city.

(v) 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.

(vi) Conducting advertising through the mail.

(vii) Soliciting sales by phone from a location outside the city.

(e) 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 (4)(d) 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.

(5) “Taxpayer” includes any person who engages in business or who is required to have a business license hereunder, or who is liable for the collection of any license fee or tax hereunder, or who performs any act, for which a license fee or tax is imposed by this chapter.

(6) “Temporary/itinerant vendor” means all persons, partnerships, corporations and any legal entity of whatsoever nature or kind, and their principals and agents, who engage or conduct in the city of Wenatchee, either in one location or in traveling from place to place, a temporary or transient business for the purpose of selling, renting, or soliciting orders for the sale of services, goods, wares, merchandise or products of whatsoever nature or kind, with the intention of continuing in said business in the city of Wenatchee for a period of not more than 30 days, and who, for the purpose of carrying on such business, hire, rent, lease, use or occupy, in whole or in part, any room, including but not limited to rooms or halls in motels, hotels or other lodging houses, buildings, public auditoriums, civic centers, any lot or parcel of land, any motor vehicle or nonmotorized vehicle or cart, including but not limited to automobiles, trucks or boats, or who use or occupy any street, alley, road, park or public facilities or public space of whatsoever nature or kind, for the purpose of exhibition and sale or rental of such services, goods, wares and merchandise. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 3, 1994)

5.76.040 License – Contents.

(1) All licenses provided for in this chapter shall be issued by the city finance department upon paying the proper license fee as provided in this chapter. All licenses shall bear the name of the licensee, the nature of the business, trade or profession operated by the licensee, the location where the business, trade or profession is carried on, the owner(s) name(s), type of business, license number and the expiration date. Each licensee shall conspicuously post such license for inspection at his/her place of business or office and shall produce such license for inspection if required to do so by any authorized city official.

(2) Sponsors of multiple vendor events such as Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, street fairs, and other such like events, whose participants are required to obtain a temporary/itinerant vendor’s license, shall make application for a master license on behalf of the event participants. All licensing information required for each individual event participant along with the proper fee ($50.00 for a 30-day license; $25.00 for a three-day license) shall be paid to the city finance department by the sponsor of the event at the time the license application is submitted.

(3) Any license issued under and by virtue of the provisions of this chapter shall be personal and nontransferable. In case business is transacted at two or more separate locations by one taxpayer, a separate license for each location at which business is transacted with the public shall be required. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2011-17 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 §§ 1, 2; Ord. 3160 § 2, 1996; Ord. 3062 § 4, 1994)

5.76.050 Application for new business.

If the licensee is a new business, prior to the issuance of the business license, the city finance department shall submit the application therefor to the fire, planning and building departments of the city for approval of the location where the licensee is to carry on the business, trade or profession, and the business license shall be issued only if the location is in compliance with building, fire and zoning codes of the city as those codes relate to existing and/or new structures. Prior to the issuance of the license, licensee must supply to the city their Washington State retail sales tax (unified business identification) number. License will not be issued without this number. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 3; Ord. 3062 § 5, 1994)

5.76.060 Location change.

If an existing licensee desires to change the location of the business, trade, or profession from the location designated on the business license, application must be made to the city finance department prior to the change in location and the city finance department shall, prior to the issuance of a new business license, submit the application therefor to the fire, planning and building departments of the city for approval of the new location where the licensee is to carry on the business, trade, or profession, and the business license shall be issued only if the location is in compliance with building, fire and zoning codes as those codes relate to existing and/or new structures. There shall be no additional business license fee assessed an existing business changing its location, and the new business license issued shall carry the same expiration date. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 4; Ord. 3062 § 6, 1994)

5.76.070 License – Term.

All licenses shall be for a period of one year unless otherwise provided in this chapter. Such license shall commence on the date the business commenced operation, or when the license was granted, whichever occurs earlier, and terminate one year from that date. The license must be renewed annually prior to engaging in business. The term of a 30-day temporary license or three-day temporary license shall automatically expire at the end of said period. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 5; Ord. 3062 § 7, 1994)

5.76.080 Fee schedules.

(1) On and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, an annual license fee for the privilege of engaging in business activities shall be collected from every business, trade or profession, other than a temporary/itinerant vendor as defined herein. Such license fee schedule, payable in advance, is fixed in the amounts set forth as follows:

Effective January 1, 2011

Number of Owner(s) and/or Employee(s)

Amount

1 – 2

$75.00

3 – 5

$105.00

6 – 12

$150.00

13 – 25

$225.00

26 – 50

$375.00

Over 50

$570.00

WCC 5.76.090(15), Exemptions

No Fee

No business, profession, or trade conducted or carried on in a single location under one management or ownership shall pay more than one license fee, regardless of the multiple nature of the business carried on.

(2) Temporary/Itinerant Vendor Fee Schedule. On and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, there is hereby levied upon and shall be collected from every temporary business, itinerant vendor, stationary vendor, mobile vendor, door-to-door sales and/or concessionaire conducting business within the city of Wenatchee a temporary license fee for the privilege of engaging in temporary business activities. Such temporary license fee is fixed in the amount of $25.00 for a period of three days, and in the amount of $50.00 for a period of 30 days, payable in advance, and will automatically expire at the end of the three-day temporary license, or 30-day temporary license, respectively. Any temporary business, itinerant vendor, stationary vendor, mobile vendor, door-to-door sales and/or concessionaire conducting business beyond 30 days in any calendar year will be required to obtain a permanent license. The licensee must also supply a copy of the property owner’s permission for use of their property. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2009-38 §§ 1, 2; Ord. 3160 § 1, 1996; Ord. 3062 § 8, 1994)

5.76.090 Exemptions.

The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(1) Any instrumentality of the United States, state of Washington, or political subdivision thereof.

(2) Any religious society, association or corporation which operates any charitable hospital, clinic or institution devoted exclusively to the care or healing of human beings; provided, that no exemption is granted where the income thereof inures to the benefit of any physician, surgeon, stockholder, or individual by reason of interest or ownership or in control of such hospital, clinic or other institution. In no event shall any such exemption be allowed, unless the hospital, clinic or institution is entitled to exemption from taxation under property tax law of the state of Washington.

(3) Fraternal benefit societies or fraternal fire insurance associations, as described in RCW Title 48; or beneficiary corporations or societies organized under and existing by virtue of RCW Title 24, if such beneficiary corporations or societies provide in their bylaws for the payment of death benefits.

(4) The activities of persons engaged in or carrying on the business of selling or furnishing electric light and power or natural gas or in carrying on telegraph and/or telephone business, or in carrying on the business of selling or supplying domestic water, sewer services or the collecting and disposing of garbage and/or sewage or other waste, including the sanitary service department and the sewer department of the city of Wenatchee; as well as any person in respect to a specific business activity for which a tax liability is specifically imposed by other ordinances of the city, and amendments thereto or reenactment thereof, the specific purpose of which is to tax.

(5) Any person in respect to insurance business upon which tax based on gross premiums is paid to the state of Washington; provided, however, that the provisions of this subsection shall not exempt any person engaging in the business representing any insurance company as an insurance broker.

(6) The selling of fruits, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats, or any farm produce or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured and sold by any farmer or gardener in any place in this state.

(7) Any person in respect to the business of conducting boxing contests and sparring and/or wrestling matches and exhibitions for the conduct of which a license must be secured from the State Athletic Commission.

(8) Any person in respect to the business of conducting race meets for the conduct of which a license must be secured from the State Horse Racing Commission.

(9) Any person in respect to his/her employment in the capacity of any employee or servant as distinguished from that of an independent contractor.

(10) Churches, schools, orphanages, nursing homes, humane societies and any other eleemosynary organization qualified for tax exempt status under the laws of the state of Washington or the Internal Revenue Service.

(11) Credit unions organized under the laws of the state or the United States.

(12) Sheltered work shops operated by nonprofit organizations. The term “sheltered work shops” as used herein shall be deemed to have the same meaning as set forth in RCW 82.04.385, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended.

(13) Any tax exempt nonprofit company, association, corporation, or copartnership or whatever kind as defined by the federal or state governments which operates or conducts a community festival or event.

(14) Anyone under the age of 18.

(15) For purposes of the license by this chapter, 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 (or higher threshold as determined by city) and who does not maintain a place of business within the city, shall submit a business license registration to the director or designee. The threshold does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit.

(16) Any person delivering newspapers on a retail basis to the end consumer.

(17) Marijuana-related businesses licensed pursuant to Chapter 5.12 WCC. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2014-31 § 1; Ord. 2006-51 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 9, 1994)

5.76.100 Payment of fee – Time limit.

(1) All persons, partnerships, companies, associations, or corporations who are engaged in business or in practice of their trades or professions in the city at the time this chapter shall be in full force and effect shall procure their license to operate for the year prior to commencing business within the city. In the event the license is not procured on or before commencing business, the following penalties shall be assessed:

(a) One – 30 days late, add 20 percent of license fee due;

(b) Thirty-one – 60 days late, add 40 percent of license fee due;

(c) Sixty-one – 90 days late, add 60 percent of license fee due;

(d) Ninety-one – 120 days late, add 80 percent of license fee due;

(e) Over 120 days late, add 100 percent of license fee due.

(2) Repealed by Ord. 2005-28.

(3) If any person required by the terms and provisions of this chapter to pay a license fee for any period shall fail or refuse to do so, he/she shall not be granted a license for the current period until such delinquent license fee, together with penalties, has been paid in full.

(4) Temporary/Itinerant Vendors. Penalty for noncompliance shall be $25.00 for the first 10 days and $50.00 for anything over 10 days. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2011-17 § 3; Ord. 2005-28 §§ 6, 7; Ord. 3062 § 10, 1994)

5.76.110 Payment by uncertified check – Extension of time for payment.

(1) All license fees and penalties herein provided for shall be paid to the city by bank draft, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check, money order, or in cash. If payment is made by bank draft or check, the tax or fee shall not be deemed paid unless the check or draft is honored in the usual course of business. The acceptance of any sum by the city shall not be an acquittance or discharge of the tax or fee due unless the amount of the payment is in full.

(2) The finance department is authorized, but not required, to mail to taxpayers forms for applications for licenses or yearly renewal notices, but failure of the taxpayer to receive any such forms shall not excuse the taxpayer from making application or renewing and securing the license required and payment of the license fee or tax, when and as due hereunder.

(3) The finance department, for good cause shown, may extend the time for making and filing any application required under this chapter, and may grant such reasonable additional time within which to make and file such application as it may deem proper. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 §§ 8, 9; Ord. 3062 § 11, 1994)

5.76.120 Failure to make application.

If any taxpayer fails, neglects, or refuses to file his/her application and to pay any tax as and when required herein, the finance department is authorized to determine the amount of the tax payable, and by mail to notify such taxpayer of the amount so determined. The amount so fixed shall thereupon become the tax and be immediately due and payable. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 10; Ord. 3062 § 12, 1994)

5.76.130 Appeals to city council.

(1) Any taxpayer aggrieved by the amount of the fee or tax found by the finance department to be required under the provisions of this chapter may appeal to the city council by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within five days from the time such taxpayer was given notice of such amount. The council shall, as soon as practicable, fix a time and place for the hearing of such appeal, which time shall be not more than two weeks after the filing of the notice of appeal, and shall cause a notice of the time and place thereof to be mailed to the appellant. At such hearing, the taxpayer shall be entitled to be heard and to introduce evidence in his/her own behalf. The city council shall thereupon ascertain the correct amount of the fee or tax by resolution and the city clerk shall immediately notify the appellant thereof by mail, which amount, together with costs of the appeal, if appellant is unsuccessful therein, must be paid within three days after such notice is given.

(2) The mayor may, by subpoena, require the attendance thereat of any person, and may also require him/her to produce any pertinent books and records. Any person served with such subpoena shall appear at the time and place therein stated and produce the books and records required, if any, and shall testify truthfully under oath administered by the mayor or chairman appointed by him/her in charge of the hearing on appeal as to any matter required of him/her pertinent to the appeal, and it shall be unlawful for him/her to fail or refuse to do so. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 11; Ord. 3062 § 13, 1994)

5.76.140 Finance department to make rules.

The finance department shall have the power, and it shall be its duty, from time to time, to adopt, publish and enforce rules and regulations not inconsistent with this chapter or with the law for the purpose of carrying out the provisions hereof, and it shall be unlawful to violate or fail to comply with any such rules or regulations. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 12; Ord. 3062 § 14, 1994)

5.76.150 Mailing of notices.

Any notice required by this chapter to be mailed to any taxpayer shall be sent by ordinary mail, addressed to the address of the taxpayer as shown by the records of the finance department, or if no such address is shown, to such address as the finance department is able to ascertain by reasonable effort. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2005-28 § 13; Ord. 3062 § 15, 1994)

5.76.160 False applications, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any person liable to tax hereunder to fail or refuse to secure the license or to pay the fee or tax when due, or for any person to make any false or fraudulent application or any false statement or representation, in or in connection with any such application, or to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade payment of the fee or tax, or any part thereof, or for any person to fail to appear and/or testify in response to subpoena issued pursuant hereto, or to testify falsely upon any investigation of the correctness of any tax, or upon the hearing of any tax, or upon the hearing of any appeal, or in any manner to hinder or delay the city or any of its officers in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 16, 1994)

5.76.170 License fee additional to others.

The license fee and tax herein levied shall be additional to any license fee or tax imposed or levied under the law or any other ordinance of the city of Wenatchee except as herein otherwise expressly provided. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 17, 1994)

5.76.180 Tax constitutes debt.

Any license fee or tax due and unpaid under this ordinance, and all penalties thereon, shall constitute a debt to the city of Wenatchee 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. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 18, 1994)

5.76.190 Violations.

Every person charged with a violation of this chapter shall be subject to WCC Title 16. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 2014-02 § 2; Ord. 2010-08 § 8; Ord. 2005-28 § 14; Ord. 3062 § 19, 1994)

5.76.200 General fund.

All funds received by the city under the terms of this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the city and budgeted annually for any municipal purposes as authorized by law. (Ord. 2018-29 § 1; Ord. 3062 § 20, 1994)