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new business check list
business type
LLC vs S-Corp
employee vs contractor
business development


Registering Your Business:
The state of Washington provides a one-stop business registration to assist in understanding and meeting federal, state and local licensing requirements. The one-stop registration process includes obtaining a Master Business Application, UBI number and registering a Trade Name. Designated offices are listed on page 15 as local resources to conveniently obtain a Master Business License. For further inquiries regarding licensing contact 360-753-4401.

Obtaining a City or County License:
When operating within a city limits a business may be required to obtain a city or county license. Contact the local Department of Licensing or city clerk's office.

Obtaining a Specialty License:
Many times a business owner may need additional licensing for landscaping, painting, shipbuilding or other purposes. For inquires regarding specialty licenses contact Business and Professions Division at 360-753-4401.

State and Federal Tax Requirements:
These vary with the form and nature of a business. For state tax assistance contact Department of Revenue at 1-800-667-7706. The IRS can assist with federal information, publications and forms. For general information, call 1-800-829-1040; for forms and a Business Tax Kit, call 1-800-829-3676.

Wage Regulations:
Questions concerning wage regulations may be directed to the Department of Labor and Industries, Employment Standards, P.O. Box 44510, MS-4510, Olympia, Washington 98504-4510,

Industrial Health and Safety Regulations:
For information on health and safety rules, contact:
Division of Industrial Safety and Health, P.O. Box 44600, MS-4600, Olympia, Washington 98504-4600, 1-800-423-7233 in Washington, 360-956-5500 in Olympia.

Industrial Insurance:
Questions concerning hiring employees and insurance and tax withholdings for employees, contact:
Division of Industrial Insurance, Employer Services, P.O. Box 44144, MS-4144, Olympia, Washington 98504-4144, 1-800-547-8367 in Washington, 360-956-4817 in Olympia.

Environmental Regulations:
Permits for air, water, or waste disposal may be required from the Department of Ecology. For further information contact Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, Washington

Employment Security

Local Fire Officials

Local Health Department:
Sewer, storm sewer, water and solid waste utilities.

CTED Business Assistance Center:
For general business information, start-up information or business assistance, contact the: Business Assistance Center hotline at 1-800-237-1233.

Small Business Development Centers:
The Washington Small Business Development Centers provide one-to-one counseling for small businesses to help develop a business plan, map out a business strategy, develop a bookkeeping system or assist in business start-up at no charge. Also at no charge, research and Market analysis. Through the statewide network of community colleges, SBDC sponsored education and training is provides at nominal fees. Contact 360-586-4854 in Olympia.

Accounting Concerns:
For information regarding bookkeeping systems, income tax planning, income tax returns, by the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Insurance Concerns:
You should consult your insurance agent about various forms of insurance; fire, automobile, employee health and life, fidelity (insuring your business against employee theft) burglary and vandalism, business interruption, and key person insurance.

You should consult an attorney regarding your form of business ownership, leases, and contracts. Attorney referral services are available from Washington State Bar Association by contacting:
Seattle 206-623-2551
Tacoma 206-383-3432
Lewis County 360-748-9121
Spokane 509-456-3655

Use of this checklist is not a substitute for judgment, and final responsibility for the proper licensing and compliance rests with the business owner.


icon Auto Expense Deduction
icon Employee vs. Contractor
icon Health Savings Accounts
icon Tax Tips Payroll Tax

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"Brian does an excellent job of personalizing his service. Whether I choose to work with him via email, phone, fax, mail or in person, Brian provides timely support based on my needs and schedule. I am sure he makes each of his customers feel like they are his most important client."

M.N. – Kirkland, WA

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How do I apply for an EIN?
To get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) form the IRS online you should go to then click on "Employer ID Numbers" under the Topics section. An EIN is issued after the successful submission of the completed Form SS-4 online. As your CPA I may request your EIN via the internet on your behalf. A copy of Form SS-4, signed by you as the taxpayer, must be maintained in the business files I hold on your behalf.

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Phone: 253.831.5009 | Fax: 206.577.5322 | email: | 34518 5th Place SW • Federal Way, WA 98023
copyright © 2006 Brian Berlage CPA Accounting Solutions PLLC. All rights reserved.