Doing Business in Thurston County
Supporting a Strong Economy in Thurston County since 1982.
Below is a list of several county and municipal departments and agencies, and the specific business-related services they oversee. There are more operating considerations to be aware of than are included in this guide. The following information is intended to be a short primer for businesses to understand some of the primary procedures that apply to organizations doing business in in Thurston county and local municipalities. Because requirements and tax rates are subject to change, information provided here may become outdated. For more information, contact the county or city government and your accountant or legal counselor.
Property Tax on Business Property and Equipment. Property taxes are due to the county on all property (other than inventory) used in the conduct of business (includes land, buildings, furnishings, equipment, supplies, and even some intangible items such as franchises and trademarks). Upon registering for a state business license, the county will contact you to obtain a complete property listing. The county assessor values all property on market value and calculates taxes as a percent of value ($11 to $17 per $1000). Property taxes are due April 30 (one-half) and October 30 (other half). For more information, contact the Thurston County Assessor’s Office at 360.786.5410.
Building Permits. County building permits or other land use related permits are generally required if you plan to site your business outside an incorporated city or town, even if you plan to make only minor changes to an existing properly zoned facility. Although there is no county business license requirement, county laws regulate signage, parking, and other business concerns. Contact the Thurston County Planning Department, (360) 786-5490.
Home-Based Business Permits. Permits for home-based businesses are required when the business will be located in a residence in unincorporated Thurston County and it has one or more employees, signage, activity or storage outside of the house itself. Home-based businesses that don’t meet the county’s “exempt home occupations” criteria will have to pay either $200 for a “home occupation” permit or $800 for a “home-based industry” permit. Contact the Thurston County Planning Department,(360) 786-5490.
Food-Related Business Permits. Health department permits are required for businesses located anywhere in Thurston County that are food related, whether mobile or permanently sited (restaurants, caterers, street vendors, espresso cart operators). Contact the Thurston County Health Department, (360) 786-5455.
Health Department Permits. Health department permits are required for businesses located anywhere in Thurston County where there are sewer or septic system considerations. Contact the Thurston County Health Department, (360)786-5455.
Waste and Emission Permits. Permits are required for businesses that use certain chemicals or materials that generate air or water emissions or that generate toxic or other types of regulated waste. Contact the Thurston County Health Department, (360) 786-5455 or the Olympic Air Pollution Control Authority, (360) 438-8768.
City Business and Occupation Tax. City B&O taxes are due to each city in which business has been conducted. City B&O taxes are calculated as a percentage of gross revenue generated in that city, with the percentage based on the type of business activity (tax rates range from 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of gross revenue), and are generally due on a quarterly basis.
City Sales Tax Collection. Sales tax collections include a portion for each locale as well as for the state; however the entire tax is remitted to the state. You will report on your state excise tax return where your sales tax collections occurred, and the state will make the distributions to those locales.
City Business Licenses. Business licenses are required if you plan to “do business” within an incorporated area, whether you will be sited in a commercial area or in your home. Licenses are required for each city where you “do business,” not just where the business is based.
Building Permits. City building permits, occupancy permits, and other land use related permits may be required if you plan to site your business within city limits. Ordinances regulate signage, parking and other business concerns as well.