• 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


Summary

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

gFBASELFReportSeattle2.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle3.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle4.jpeg
gFBASELFReportSeattle5.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle6RJennyGirlFriday.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle7JennyGirlFriday.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle8.jpg
gFBASELFReportSeattle9JennyGirlFriday.jpg
gFBAFileLocalReport1.jpg
gFBAFileLocalReport2.jpg

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

With Annual Reports, choose December of the last year.

gFBAFileLocalReport3JennyGirlFriday.jpg

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.)

gFBAFileLocalReport4JennyGirlFriday.jpg

Fill in each box relevant to your business.

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

gFBAFileLocalReport5R1JennyGirlFriday.jpg

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

gFBAFileLocalReport5.jpg

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

gFBAFileLocalReport6JennyGirlFriday.jpg

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.....

gFBAFileLocalReport7RJennyGirlFriday.jpg

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

gFBAFileLocalReport9JennyGirlFriday.jpg

This example shows gross sales + taxes in three categories.

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

gFBAFileLocalReport10RJennyGirlFriday.jpg

gFBAFileLocalReport11JennyGirlFriday.jpg

gFBAFileLocalReport12JennyGirlFriday.jpg

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

gFBAFileLocalReport16.jpg

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.

gFBAFileLocalReport15JennyGirlFriday.jpg

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.  :)

• Renew Your Seattle (City) Business License - December 31st

Your first TAX season hoop is here!  Renew your Seattle business license by December 31st.  Cost is $55 if you earn under $20K, or $110 if over $20K (plus fees if you renew online).  

Read More

• How to Set Up Your Business in Seattle - as an LLC 

A Bigger Splash , David Hockney • Credit below.

A Bigger Splash, David Hockney • Credit below.

Setting up an LLC business doesn't take much time!  ….That is, if you know what to do, what you need, and the right order of steps.  Here's where I've got you covered.  

(Not sure if you want an LLC?  Read Sole Proprietor or LLC:  Which is Best for Me?)

Below is the quick and dirty list.  Detailed notes are at the bottom of the post.  

If you know your business name(s), the whole process takes about one hour.

Go ahead, take the plunge!


Pro Tip:  Get a journal to record all your log-ins, passwords, IDs, and various notes as you go through the process.  Use in the future for all research and calls related to taxes and licensing. Read more in Make Your Life Easier! - Simple Tips For Keeping Track Of License And Tax Stuff

 

1)  Register your LLC.

Through:  the Washington Secretary of State
Click here to go directly to registration.
Cost:  $200
Time:  10 minutes

2) Pause + wait for your UBI

You'll need your UBI to go on to the next steps.  (Unified Business Identifier.) It's a lot like your social security number, in that it's a tax ID number assigned to you ... and banks and other organizations will ask for it to identify you.  It'll be provided along with your LLC documents.  Most often, it's in a 9 digit format.  Sometimes it'll be in a 16 digit format, where there are 0s and 1s at the end, noting your "business ID" and "location ID".

3) Apply for your state business license.

Through:  Washington State Business Licensing Service (BLS)
Click here to go to the Apply for a State License page on the BLS.WA.gov site
Cost:  $19 plus $5 for each DBA
Time:  15 - 20 minutes

4) Apply for your city business license.

Through:  City of Seattle
Click here to go to FileLocal-wa.gov, register then apply for a new license
Cost:  $110 for standard, $55 if you plan to make under $20K.
Time:  15 - 20 minutes

That's it!  You're in business.  …but you're not quite done.  To be legal, you need to ensure that you have all of the special permits and licenses for your line of business. 

5) Optional ~ Apply for an EIN

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number.  It's a tax ID number assigned to businesses by the IRS.  If you are a sole prop or a single-member LLC, you are allowed to use your SSN for business purposes.  Having said that, banks and online forms will often required you to have an EIN.  The issue is that the number formatting is different.  With your social security number, it looks like 000-00-0000.  With an EIN, it looks like 00-0000000. 

Good news!  It's easy, free, and only takes 10 minutes.  Here's the link:  Get EIN on IRS.gov.  Or, go to IRS.gov and search for EIN.  Heads up, this web service is only available during the daytime.

6) Do your due diligence.

At the state level, check the List of Licenses 
This is a list by trade, with links to relevant licensing agencies.  
Here's the list of Endorsements required by some businesses.
Or, call the BLS:  1-800-451-7985

And, at the city level, check the Regulatory Endorsements page.
Or, call the City of Seattle:  206.684.2489

Another nice tool is the WA Business Hub.  It's created to walk anyone through the setting up a business.  There's a TON on there.

7) Celebrate!

* * Please note:  The intent of this post is to get you started!  And, to provide you with the required framework for every business.  Your field may require additional permitting or specialty licenses not covered here.  For best results, call the city or state.  

Happy Working,
Jenny Girl Friday


Some Helpful Details

With the LLC Registration

Some things you'll be asked:  
        • the legal name of your company
        • 2 alternate names
        • start date - day of filing, or a specific date
                              (Tip:  pick one that's easy to remember or has meaning for you.)
        • perpetual or specific time period

Mostly, you will have to put your name and address in a million times.  Because, as a single-member LLC, you are the member, the manager, the agent, and registrar.  You fill all the roles.

Even though you will be a limited liability company, LLCs are handled along with the corporations.  

For the State Business License

Some things you'll be asked:  
        • the UBI - you get this when your LLC goes through - it is your Unified Business Identifier
        • what bank you'll be using
        • your SSN and your partner's SSN
        • description of your business:  1- 2 sentences
        • trade name(s)
        • which cities you'll be doing business in (you need a license for each one)

For the City Business License

Some things you'll be asked:  
        • the UBI - you get this when your LLC goes through - it is your Unified Business Identifier
        • estimated income

• How to Set Up Your Business in Seattle - As a Sole Proprietor

gFADaVinciBlogSelfEmployedinSeattleJennyGirlFriday.jpg

Opening a business as a sole proprietor is the quickest way to achieve lift off!  ….Because, there is no business entity to create.  In legal and tax terms, you and the business are the same.  You simply to need to apply for some licenses, and possibly some permits.

(Not sure if you want to be a sole proprietor?  Read Sole Proprietor or LLC:  Which is Best for Me?)

Making things official is a great way to build momentum.  I encourage you to get your licenses at any time!  You can work on the other things later.  

Let your dream take flight!  (Is that too many metaphors?)


Pro Tip:  Get a journal to record all your log-ins, passwords, IDs, and various notes as you go through the process.  Use in the future for all research and calls related to taxes and licensing. Read more in Make Your Life Easier! - Simple Tips For Keeping Track Of License And Tax Stuff

1) Apply for your state business license.

Through:  Washington State Business Licensing Service (BLS)
Click here to Apply for a state license page on BLS.WA.gov
Cost:  $19 plus $5 for each DBA
Time:  15 - 20 minutes

2) Apply for your city business license.

Through:  City of Seattle
Click here to go directly to FileLocal-wa.gov, set up an account and then register your business
Cost:  $110 for standard, $55 if you plan to make under $20K.
Time:  15 - 20 minutes

That's it!  You're in business.  …but you're not quite done.  To be legal, you need to ensure that you have all of the special permits and licenses for your line of business. 

3) Optional ~ Apply for an EIN

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number.  It's a tax ID number assigned to businesses by the IRS.  If you are a sole prop or a single-member LLC, you are allowed to use your SSN for business purposes.  Having said that, banks and online forms will often required you to have an EIN.  The issue is that the number formatting is different.  With your social security number, it looks like 000-00-0000.  With an EIN, it looks like 00-0000000. 

Good news!  It's easy, free, and only takes 10 minutes.  Here's the link:  Get EIN on IRS.gov.  Or, go to IRS.gov and search for EIN.  Heads up, this web service is only available during the daytime.

4) Do your due diligence.

At the state level, check the List of Licenses 
This is a list by trade, with links to relevant licensing agencies.  
Here's the list of Endorsements required by some businesses.
Or, call the BLS:  1-800-451-7985

And, at the city level, check the Regulatory Endorsements page.
Or, call the City of Seattle:  206.684.2489

Another nice tool is the WA Business Hub.  It's created to walk anyone through the setting up a business.  There's a TON on there.

5) Celebrate!

 

* * Please note:  The intent of this post is to get you started!  And, to provide you with the required framework for every business.  Your field may require additional permitting or specialty licenses not covered here.  For best results, call the city or state, numbers above.  

Happy Working,
Jenny


Some Helpful Details

For the State Business License

Some things you'll be asked:  
        • what bank you'll be using
        • your SSN and your partner's SSN
        • description of your business:  1- 2 sentences
        • trade name(s)
        • which cities you'll be doing business in (you need a license for each one)

For the City Business License

Some things you'll be asked:  
        • the UBI - it is your Unified Business Identifier, you'll get this with your state license
        • estimated income
        • note:  your legal business name will be the same as your name, to get a different name, you need to by a DBA, doing business as, also called a trade name.  They are $5 each.

Photo Credit: Design for a Flying Machine by Leonardo da Vinci - http://www.drawingsofleonardo.org. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons