Registering to Pay Taxes

Once you have officially obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your business, you will be responsible for notifying Uncle Sam. In many cases, you can simply contact a central tax agency, which in turn will get you started with the appropriate forms and filing requirements. Once your business is listed in their database, you may receive periodic inquiries about your business or forms that you must complete to comply with state or federal laws, or both. The main taxes you will need to be aware of include:

  • Estimated federal personal income taxes;
  • Estimated federal corporate income taxes;
  • The business and occupation (B& O) tax;
  • A sales and use tax; and
  • Property taxes.

There is a single form or tax application that will get you registered with several agencies regarding several different taxes. The Business and Professions Division of the Washington Department of Licensing, or any one of the state agencies participating in the Unified Business Identifier (UBI) program, offer a single form that will help you determine for which taxes your business will be liable. This form is called the Master Business Application, Form BLS-700-028. Contact any one of these agencies:

  • Washington Department of Revenue,
  • Washington Employment Security Department,
  • Washington Department of Labor and Industries,
  • Washington Department of Licensing, or
  • Washington Secretary of State.

These agencies work together to make licensing and registration more convenient for you.

Get an Employer Identification Number

Unless you form a sole proprietorship, you must obtain an employer identification number (EIN), even if you do not have employees. The first registration you should make is to file Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, with the federal government. You will receive an employer identification number that you will need in many cases to complete other registrations. It is somewhat similar to your personal Social Security number, only it relates to your business.

You can obtain Form SS-4 from your local IRS office or your accountant. Once you have the form, you can apply for an EIN either by mail or by telephone. If you want an EIN immediately, call the Tele-TIN phone number for the service center for your state. If you are not in a hurry, you can apply for your EIN through the mail. Keep in mind, you will need to complete Form SS-4 at least four to five weeks before you will need your EIN.

Published on: Oct 19, 1999