• For Retail + Combo Businesses ~ How To Make Your Annual Report To The City Of Seattle (For B&O Taxes)

Hello + Note from July 2, 2018: The state has a new portal, which looks a little different. I'm hoping to add screenshots of the new one sometime soon. Meanwhile, this post will still give you a good idea of the process. Thanks for your patience!

Does your work include: retail, retail-service, wholesale, manufacturing, or royalties. Or a combination?

Then this post is for you!

If your business is NON-retail SERVICE only, click here to see a different walkthrough.

Due: January 31st
Time Required: 2 - 8 minutes to file
Frustration Factor: If you use the SELF Portal, 3 out of 10.  If you use the FileLocal, 6 out of 10.
Cost/Taxes Due:  If you earned under $100K (gross sales), then you will not pay any taxes to Seattle.  To read about tax rates for over $100K with Seattle, click here.
Type of Tax:  B&O (business and occupation)
With: City of Seattle
Use:  Seattle SELF Portal (Recommended).........or FileLocal-wa.gov.

If you need help, call the city at:  206.684.8484


1.  Log in to Seattle SELF Portal or FileLocal-wa.gov
2.  Find that business categories that apply to you:  retail, wholesale, service, printing, manufacturing
3.  Fill in total sales for each category
4.  Hit next until the end, confirm
5.  If you earned over $100K in total gross sales, complete the payment screens

One Note:  The state collects sales tax for Seattle.  So if you have to submit sales tax, you'll do that through the WA state DOR, Department of Revenue.

Some Screenshots below.

How to Prepare - If You are NEW to This  :)

Reporting to Seattle is very similar to reporting to the WA state DOR. I recommend preparing for both at once.  Everyone's situation is a little different, so it's hard to give estimates or exact instructions.

Here's what I recommend:

1.  Schedule some prep time on your calendar in the next week
2.  Schedule a 20 - 40 minute block for tax filing, during the weekday, with a plan to call the city if needed (they will walk you through this). This is includes buffer time.
3.  Print out the Prep Sheet below
4.  During your prep time, fill out as many numbers as you can on the Prep Sheet
5.  On your scheduled day, give it a try.  If you have to call the city, be prepared to wait...have something fun to do while on hold.

A Prep Sheet for reporting to the City + State

Click on one of the images for a form to download.  2 pages.

If you understand these terms, then great. :)  Fill it out to get ready for your call to the city.

If you DON'T understand what these all mean.  It's okay!  Call the city to arrange to get some help.  (Or, get in touch for a one-time consult with me.)

Option One - Screenshots with the Seattle SELF Portal (Recommended)

This portal is being phased out...........scroll down to see Screenshots with FileLocal-wa.gov, the new portal.

Click here to go to the SELF Portal


The directions say to choose the last month of the period you're filing for.

With Annual Reports, choose December of the last year.


It took a few seconds for these drop down menus to work.  Choose "Seattle B&O tax form" and your Main branch.  (Or whatever you named it.)


Fill in each box relevant to your business.

The total sales in each category, NOT including any sales tax that you collected.


This is a second view of the same screen.  Note, this symbol means a (confusing) worksheet is about to pop up.

It includes boxes for Royalties and NON-Retail Services


Some questions.  Note:  you are NOT an employee.  You are the business owner.


Royalty information~ enter in the box circled in Orange.

Non-Retail Services, enter in two places.  

1.  Line 1 for Worldwide Gross Service Receipts.  (Worldwide!!!)

2.  Line 7 for Seattle Service Receipts

If you did all your work in Seattle, these should be the same.

Notice, the form will fill in some numbers for you.....


A shot after this screen is filled in.  You can only change the numbers in White.


This example shows gross sales + taxes in three categories.

Note, no tax is due............because this person earned under $100K.




Eventually, this screen pops up as a confirmation.  Hurray!  Success!!!!!


FYI - the first 3 times I tried, I got this error message.  I waited a few days, and tried again and it worked!  One good thing........FileLocal had kept all my numbers, so I just had to move through all the screens.


Well done!  Phew!  One thing about reporting to the city is that it forces us to know our total sales number.  I find that kind of rewarding, how about you?

One more hoop of tax season is all done.  Be sure to give yourself a little or even medium reward!  Perhaps some Theo's chocolate, some yummy juice from HeartBeet, or a trip to Ladywell's.  

: )  Jenny Girl Friday

P.S.  Did this help you?  Pretty please share with any friends, or post on Facebook.  I think self-employed folks are keeping the soul in Seattle.  I want to make the chores of business easier, so you all can keep being awesome.  

P.S. 2 Are you signed up for Sidekick Services via email?  Get reminders and links to how-tos delivered right to your email inbox.  :)