Starting a Business in Kelso

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City of Kelso

Business License/Business & Occupational Tax



A City of Kelso Certificate of Registration is required for anyone conducting business within the City Limits of Kelso.  The City of Kelso partners with the state Business Licensing Service to support its city license program.  Businesses get convenient online registration and renewal services connected to other Washignton cities and public agencies.

Liceninsing helps public safety agencies to contact you in an emergency and improves resources to better support economic development in our city.

Am I required to get a city business license?

City businesses - companies and individuals - must obtain a city license if doing business within City limits.  Using the online service is the fastest way to apply.

Who is exempt from licensing?

Businesses exempt from local license requirements include:

  • Casual or isolated sales.
  • Common carrier delivery of goods and services within city limits.
  • Minors engaged in baby-sitting, newpaper delivery, lawn mowing, and car washing.

How Much Does It Cost?

Kelso general business license                    $50.00

Kelso home occupation businesses             $50.00

Kelso nonprofit business license                  No Fee

other Fees that may apply

State tax registration                                    No Fee

Register a trade name                                   $5.00

Application processing                                 $10.00 (non-refundable)

How do I get started?

All businesses operating in the State of Washington must register with the Department of Revenue.  File your application when you start business, ore when you change or update your business:

Business Licensing Wizard

Renew Business License online at

The Fee is $50.00 per calendar year and is non-transferable. The Certificate of Registration expires December 31st of each year. 

Business & Occupational taxes are also required. These forms will be sent out quarterly or annually based on your annual gross income. They are automatically mailed to all licensed businesses and must be submitted even if 'zero' tax is due.

Tax rates are:

  • $.001-Wholesale, Retail, Manufacturing and Contracting
  • $.002-Services and Other Activities

You only pay taxes on the 'gross income' for the business conducted within the City of Kelso.

Questions, please contact the City of Kelso, Finance Department at 360-423-0900, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm. You may also email Melissa Kemper.

Starting a Business: Community Development Fact Sheet