Seattle

Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Seattle and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Seattle?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Seattle’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.

What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting business in Seattle and assistance available to Seattle businesses.

The Seattle business license tax is applied to the gross revenue that businesses earn. It is sometimes called the Seattle business and occupation tax (B&O tax) or gross receipts tax. The rate varies by business type and is only applied to businesses with gross revenue of $100,000 or more.

Business Type Tax rate
Service and Other Business Activities .415%
Retail Sales and Retail Services .215%
Wholesaling .215%
Manufacturing or Extracting .215%
Tour Operator or Processing for Hire .215%
Transporting Freight for Hire .415%
Printing or Publishing .215%
International Investment Management Services .150%
Businesses that require a regulatory endorsement

The City of Seattle regulates some business activities. These businesses require both a standard business license tax certificate and a regulatory endorsement on the license.

Review this list to see if your business requires a regulatory endorsement. Common businesses include cannabis, taxis, for-hire vehicles, and transportation network companies.

Washington State Taxes

The Washington State Department of Revenue has a guide to the state tax obligations of specific industries.

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimize risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labor that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

There may also be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

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Contact us

City of Seattle
Office of Economic Development
(206) 684-8090
oed@seattle.gov

700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104