Chapter 5.52
OCCUPATION TAXES—GENERAL

Sections:

5.52.010    Exercise of revenue license power.

5.52.020    Definitions.

5.52.025    Financial institutions—License fee imposed.

5.52.030    Persons subject to license—Fees.

5.52.040    Business located outside city.

5.52.050    Exemptions.

5.52.060    Business license required.

5.52.070    Business license regulations and procedures.

5.52.080    Employment records.

5.52.090    Payment of license fees—Penalty.

5.52.100    Over or under payment of license fee.

5.52.110    Failure to make application.

5.52.120    Appeals—Notice—Subpoena power.

5.52.130    Clerk to make additional rules.

5.52.140    Mailing of notices—Failure to receive.

5.52.150    False applications, testimony, etc.

5.52.160    License fee additional to others.

5.52.170    Tax constitutes debt.

5.52.180    Severability.

5.52.190    Time limit on action to collect.

5.52.010 Exercise of revenue license power.

The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the city of Yakima to license for revenue. (Ord. B-2014 § 1, 1957).

5.52.020 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, save when otherwise declared or clearly apparent from the context, the following definitions shall be applied:

(a)    “Year” means calendar year.

(b)    “Person” means any individual, firm, copartnership, 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.

(c)    “Business” includes all activities, occupations, trades, pursuits or professions located and/or engaged in within the city of Yakima, 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.

(d)    Engaging in Business.

(1)    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 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 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 (d)(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 employees, 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 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.

(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 for 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, where applicable.

(vi)    Conducting advertising through the mail.

(vii)    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 (d)(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.

(e)    “Employee” means any person employed at any business location within the city and/or any person furnishing or performing services within the city, and in addition includes all persons who are self-employed.

(f)    “Taxpayer” includes any person who engages in business or who is required to have a business license hereunder, or who is liable for any license fee or tax hereunder, or who performs any act, for which a license fee or tax is imposed by this chapter. (Ord. 2018-035 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2837 § 1, 1985: Ord. B-2014 § 2, 1947).

5.52.025 Financial institutions—License fee imposed.

Commencing July 1, 1974, there is levied upon and shall be collected from every national bank, state bank, trust company, mutual savings and loan association and every other financial institution engaged in business in the city, an annual license fee or tax for the act or privilege of engaging in business. The license fee shall be measured by the number of employees of each such business employed during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the year for which the license fee is payable according to the schedule and provisions of YMC 5.52.030. (Ord. 1627 § 1, 1974).

5.52.030 Persons subject to license—Fees.

Commencing January 1, 1988, there is levied upon and shall be collected from every person engaging in business in the city an annual license fee or tax for the privilege of engaging in business activities. Such license fee shall be measured by the number of employees of each business employed during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the year for which the license fee is payable as follows:

(a)    For every person employing one or two employees, forty-two dollars and ninety cents per year;

(b)    For every person employing three to and including five employees, eighty-five dollars and eighty cents per year;

(c)    For every person employing six to and including nine employees, one hundred fifty dollars per year;

(d)    For every person employing ten to and including fourteen employees, two hundred fourteen dollars and twenty cents per year;

(e)    For every person employing fifteen to and including twenty employees, three hundred twenty-one dollars and fifteen cents per year;

(f)    For every person employing twenty-one to and including thirty employees, four hundred twenty-eight dollars and forty cents per year;

(g)    For every person employing thirty-one to and including forty-five employees, six hundred forty-two dollars and sixty cents per year;

(h)    For every person employing forty-six to and including sixty employees, eight hundred fifty-six dollars and eighty cents per year;

(i)    For every person employing sixty-one to and including eighty employees, one thousand seventy-one dollars per year;

(j)    For every person employing over eighty employees, one thousand two hundred eighty-five dollars and twenty cents per year.

Employees working more than six hundred hours, including legal holidays and vacation time, during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the year for which the license fee is payable shall be considered permanent employees; employees working sixteen hundred hours or less, including legal holidays and vacation time, shall be considered temporary employees.

In determining the license fee to be paid hereunder by each business the total number of employees shall be computed by adding together the number of permanent employees and the number of temporary employees, the latter figure to be computed by dividing total man hours, including legal holidays and vacation time, worked by all temporary employees, by sixteen hundred. (Ord. 3060 § 1, 1987: Ord. 2836 § 1, 1985: Ord. 2565 § 1, 1981: Ord. 2473 § 1, 1980: Ord. 1877 § 1, 1975: Ord. 1269 § 1, 1970: Ord. 1194 § 1, 1979: Ord. B-2014 § 3, 1957).

5.52.040 Business located outside city.

(1)    Threshold Exemption. 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 twelve thousand dollars and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall submit a business license registration to the director or designee but shall not pay a business license fee. The threshold does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit.

(2)    As to businesses located outside the city of Yakima and furnishing or performing services within the city that are not exempt under subsection (1) of this section, the license fee or tax herein shall be measured by the number of employees of such business who perform any part of their duties within the city. (Ord. 2018-035 § 2, 2018: Ord. B-20l4 § 4, 1957).

5.52.050 Exemptions.

In addition to the exemptions outlined in YMC 5.52.020(d)(4), the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(a)    Any person in respect to engaging in any of the following enumerated business activities: franchised electric power, telephone, gas and passenger transportation companies;

(b)    Fraternal benefit societies as defined by Section 48.36.010 of the Revised Code of Washington; fraternal mutual property insurers as defined by Section 48.36.410 of the Revised Code of Washington; and nonprofit corporations organized under or existing by virtue of Chapter 24.03 of the Revised Code of Washington if such nonprofit corporations provide in their bylaws for the assessment of each member of a fixed sum to be held by the corporation to be paid as death benefits on the death of a member for the purpose of assisting widows, orphans or other persons dependent on a deceased member;

(c)    Any religious society, association or corporation, through the operation of any hospital, clinic, resort or other institution devoted exclusively to the care or healing of human beings; provided, that no exemption is granted where the income therefrom inures to the benefit of any physician, surgeon, stockholder or individual by virtue of ownership or control of such hospital, clinic, resort or other institution;

(d)    Auctioneers licensed under Chapter 5.14;

(e)    Merry-go-rounds licensed under Chapter 5.02;

(f)    Any instrumentality of the United States, state of Washington, or political subdivision thereof;

(g)    Any farmer, gardener, or other person who sells, delivers or peddles any fruits, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats, or any farm product or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured by such person within the state of Washington;

(h)    Any person, who is the holder of a valid permit under Section 8.52.070 of the city of Yakima Municipal Code, engaged in the business of curb number painting and who devotes no more than six hundred hours per year to said business;

(i)    Newsboys engaged in the sale or delivery of newspapers and magazines or periodicals to the reading public;

(j)    Any blind person engaged in business activities in the city;

(k)    Any person, firm or corporation which the city is prohibited from taxing under the laws of the United States or of the state of Washington;

(l)    Any person meeting the following threshold exemption:

For purposes of the license by this chapter, any sole proprietorship without full- or part-time employees whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business in the city is equal to or less than twelve thousand dollars shall submit a business license registration to the director or designee but shall not be required to pay the license fee. The threshold does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit. (Ord. 2018-035 § 3, 2018: Ord. 93-72 § 1, 1993: Ord. 3272 § 2, 1990: Ord. 1627 § 2, 1974: Ord. B-2055, 1957: Ord. B-2014 § 5, 1957).

5.52.060 Business license required.

No person shall engage in any business or activity in the city of Yakima for which a license fee or tax is imposed by this chapter without first having obtained and being the holder of a valid and subsisting license so to do, to be known as a business license, issued under the provisions of this chapter, as hereinafter provided, and without paying the license fee or tax imposed by this chapter, which license fee or tax shall accompany the application for the license. (Ord. B-2014 § 6, 1957).

5.52.070 Business license regulations and procedures.

A.    Whenever there is a change in ownership of a business, the business license previously issued to the withdrawing owner, or owners, must be surrendered to the city clerk for cancellation. The new owner or owners shall apply and obtain a new business license upon the payment of a fee of ten dollars.

B.    Such license shall expire at the end of the year in which it is issued, and a new license shall be required for each year. The application for a license shall be made to the city clerk, on forms provided by said officer, which application shall set forth the name of the applicant, his residence, place of business, the nature of the business, the number of employees, and the amount of the license fee prescribed by this chapter, and shall be accompanied by the certificate of the city treasurer that the amount of the fee has been deposited with him by the applicant.

C.    Every license granted under this chapter shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the place of business of the licensee. 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 places by one taxpayer, a separate license for each place at which business is transacted with the public shall be required. Each license shall be numbered, shall show the name, place and character of business of the licensee, and such other information as the city clerk shall deem necessary.

D.    All license fees and penalties herein provided for shall be paid by bank draft, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check, or money order, or in cash. If payment be made by 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, nor shall acceptance of any such check or draft by the Treasurer be an acquittance or discharge of the tax or fee unless and until said check or draft is honored.

E.    The clerk is authorized, but not required, to mail to taxpayers forms for applications for licenses, but failure of the taxpayer to receive any such forms shall not excuse the taxpayer from making application for and securing the license required and payment of the license fee or tax when and as due hereunder.

F.    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 shall not be granted a license for the current period until such delinquent license fee, together with penalties, has been paid in full. (Ord. 1201 § 1, 1970: Ord. B-2055, 1957: Ord. B-2014 § 6A, 1957).

5.52.080 Employment records.

It shall be the duty of every person liable for any license fee provided for by this chapter, to keep and preserve for a period of five years such suitable employment records as may be necessary to determine the amount of any license fee for which he may be liable under the provisions of this chapter; and such records shall be open for examination at any time by the city manager, or his duly authorized agent. In the case of an out of state person or concern which does not keep the necessary books or records within the city of Yakima, it shall be sufficient if it produces within the city such books and records as shall be required by the city manager, or bears the cost of examination by an agent authorized or designated by the city manager at the place where such books and records are kept, (Ord. B-20l4 § 7, 1957).

5.52.090 Payment of license fees—Penalty.

Each annual license fee herein provided for shall become due and payable on the first day of each year as to any business taxable hereunder and in existence on said date. As to any business commenced during any year, the license fee for the balance of that year shall be the full annual fee specified in Section 5.52.030 if the business is commenced during the period commencing January 1st through June 30th of any year, and one-half the annual fee specified by Section 5.52.030 if the business is commenced during the period commencing July 1st through December 31st of any year, which fee shall be due and payable on the first day that business is transacted or carried on. Failure to pay the license fee within thirty days after the day on which it is due and payable shall render the taxpayer subject to penalty of five percent of the amount of the license fee for the first month of delinquency; and an additional penalty of five percent for each succeeding month of delinquency, but not exceeding a total penalty of twenty-five percent of the amount of such license fee in any event. (Ord. 2473 § 2, 1980: Ord 1201 § 2, 1970: Ord. B-20l4 § 8, 1957).

5.52.100 Over or under payment of license fee.

If the city clerk upon investigation or upon checking applications finds that the fee or tax paid on any of them is more than the amount required of the taxpayer, he shall return the amount overpaid by a check issued by the city treasurer upon the current expense fund. If the clerk finds that the fee or tax paid is less than required, he shall mail a statement to the taxpayer showing the balance due, who shall within three days pay the amount shown thereon. (Ord. B-2014 § 9, 1957).

5.52.110 Failure to make application.

If any taxpayer fails, neglects or refuses to file his application and to pay any license fee or tax as and when required herein, the clerk is authorized to determine the amount of the license fee or tax payable, and by mail to notify such taxpayer of the amount so determined. The amount so fixed shall thereupon become the license fee or tax and be immediately due and payable. (Ord. B-2014 § 10, 1957).

5.52.120 Appeals—Notice—Subpoena power.

Any taxpayer aggrieved by the amount of the fee or tax found by the clerk to be required under the provisions of this chapter, may appeal to the city council from such findings 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 twenty days 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 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.

The city manager may, by subpoena, require the attendance thereat of any person, and may also require him 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 city manager or chairman appointed by him in charge of the hearing on appeal as to any matter required of him pertinent to the appeal, and it shall be unlawful for him to fail or refuse so to do. (Ord. B-2014 § 11, 1957).

5.52.130 Clerk to make additional rules.

The city clerk shall have the power, and it shall be his 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 rule or regulation. (Ord. B-2014 § 12, 1957).

5.52.140 Mailing of notices—Failure to receive.

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 city clerk, or if no such address is shown, to such address as the city clerk is able to ascertain by reasonable effort. Failure of the taxpayer to receive any such mailed notice shall not release the taxpayer from any tax or any penalties thereon, nor shall such failure operate to extend any time limit set by the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. B-2014 § 13, 1957).

5.52.150 False applications, testimony, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any person liable to license fee or 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 thereto, or to testify falsely upon any investigation of the correctness of any fee or tax, or upon the hearing of any fee or tax, or upon 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. B-2014 § 14, 1957).

5.52.160 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 Yakima except as herein otherwise expressly provided. (Ord. B-2014 § 15, 1957).

5.52.170 Tax constitutes debt.

Any license fee or tax due and unpaid under this chapter, and all penalties thereon, shall constitute a debt to the city of Yakima and may be collected by court proceeding in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. (Ord. B-2014 § 16, 1957).

5.52.180 Severability.

If any provision or section of this chapter shall be held void or unconstitutional, all other parts, provisions and sections of this ordinance not expressly so held to be void or unconstitutional shall continue in full force and effect. (Ord. B-2014 § 18, 1957).

5.52.190 Time limit on action to collect.

The collection of any license fee and penalty and the corrections of any tax may be made by the clerk at any time within four years after the close of the year for which required. (Ord. B-2014 § 19, 1957).