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Run a Business in Washington

Starting a new business is a lot of work. From business plans to branding, and financing to staffing, it is no easy feat. But, once you get through the hardest part of launching your company or corporation, there is so much more to learn. Find out more information about how to run a business below.

Run a Business Checklist

Once your business is operating, there are still several things you must do to meet both tax and regulatory requirements in Washington State. Note that those necessities often depend on the size of your business, your business activity and whether or not you employ a team of workers. Review the below checklist to ensure you are running your business as smoothly as possible:

  1. Pay your federal business income taxes – The total of federal income taxes due from your business is based on its net profit, which is your revenue, minus your business expenses. If you operate a partnership, a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company or an S-corporation, it is likely that you will pay these taxes through your personal tax return, also known as pass-through taxation. If you own a standard corporation, you should make estimated, quarterly payments.
  2. Pay your state business taxes – Because the state of Washington does not have a business income tax or personal tax, the tax structure requires you to handle Business & Occupation Tax, sales and use taxes, property taxes and industry-related taxes. Learn more about your state business taxes through the Department of Revenue.
  3. Pay your local business taxes – Cities and towns collect their own business and occupation taxes. Note that counties will determine property taxes.
  4. Pay your federal employment taxes – Refer to the IRS Employer’s Tax Guide to collect more information on this subject. Quarterly 941 forms, W-2 forms and annual 940 forms are all a part of your federal employment tax process.
  5. State employment taxes – The two types of taxes that fall into this bracket are unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation taxes, both of which are due on the following dates annually: April 30, July 31, October 31 and January 31.
  6. Renewal of licenses and permits – If you run a corporation, a limited liability company or a limited partnership, you are responsible for the upkeep of your annual filings. Note that your state business license does not require renewal.
  7. Regulatory compliance – If you do not comply with business regulations, you may be subject to citations and/or penalties, which are both complicated and costly. The best way to stay informed is to consult your attorney. You must follow all regulations as set on levels federally, statewide and locally.
  8. Be prepared – As the owner of a business, you must anticipate that there will be instances that occur which are either unexpected or out of your control. Consult the Department of Health to understand matters dealing with public health emergencies. Join an industry or business association to network with other professionals who can prepare you for unexpected events. Note that establishing a business continuity plan is the best way to get your business back after an unfortunate occurrence, like a flood, a fire, an earthquake or a storm.

If you are interested in seeking help regarding your business affairs, you can contact the State of Washington Small Business Liaisons.