Below are some links to resources that you may find helpful.
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Tax Information, Government Sites & Documents
Governor’s Office for Regulator Innovation and Assistance Small Business Guide
The Small Business Guide provides helpful information, links to valuable resources, and outlines the steps for starting and operating a business in Washington State. A wealth of information here!
Washington Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the state’s chief elections officer, chief corporations officer, and supervisor of the State Archives and State Library.
This website is helpful to research Washington state laws and look up the status of business license registrations.
Washington Department of Revenue
Here you can electronically file your business Combined Excise Tax Return, get information that affects your business – filing deadlines, legislative changes, tax reporting obligations, tax rate updates, rights and responsibilities, and more.
Washington State Labor and Industries
This website is a valuable resource for employers and business owners to research labor laws, look up contractor licenses, and file your Quarterly Report of worker’s hours.
Is your subcontractor really your employee? An important assessment that all business owners should make
Washington State Employment Security Department
Information on Business State Unemployment Tax and reporting, hiring, layoffs & reporting, and various small business resources.
The IRS website has many great tax resources for you
Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration administers retirement, medicare, disability and other benefits
Are You Hiring Employees?
Here is critical information you need:
- If you noted on the form that you would be hiring employees, information from your Business License Application will be forwarded to the Employment Security Department to set up a state unemployment tax account, and the Department of Labor & Industries to set up a workers’ compensation account and obtain your minor work permit, if applicable. You will have quarterly filing responsibilities with both agencies, plus the IRS (see the RUN Your Business chapter of the Small Business Guide).
- Every new employee will need to complete the federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form within 3 days of hire and the IRS W-4 Form. You’ll also need to report each newly hired and rehired employee through the Department of Social and Health Services New Hire Reporting Program (please use the following link here: within 20 days of hire. Reporting is done through a secure web portal, Secure Access Washington (SAW). If you don’t already have a SAW account, you’ll have to create one prior to doing your first reporting. To report you’ll need information from the employee’s W-4 Form, plus the hire date and the birth date.
- Be aware that employment is an area of significant regulation, including minimum wage, overtime pay, employment of minors and family members, workplace safety, etc.
- The use of independent contractors is a frequently misunderstood area. Unless an individual is truly in business for himself or herself, is licensed, actively markets, has multiple clients/customers, and is performing work that is outside your normal business activities, chances are state and federal laws will require that the individual be treated as an employee. Refer to the link provided above under “Is your subcontractor really your employee?”
- Employment is also an area of significant recordkeeping and taxation. It’s important that you understand those regulations and costs as you plan your business.
Useful resources for employers
- Wage and hour laws (such as minimum wage, overtime, breaks, etc.)
- Workplace poster requirements
- Employment of minors
- Non-Discrimination Laws
- Independent contractors (Labor & Industries)
- Independent contractors (Employment Security)
- Independent contractors (IRS)
- Federal payroll taxes
- State unemployment taxes
- Washington Health Benefit Exchange
There are resources to help you with employment planning, including Workforce Explorer. There are also programs to help you find and train qualified employees.
Useful resources for employment planning & training
- WorkSource can bring you applicants that are skilled and ready to work.
- Job fairs and free, online job posting can help increase your pool of applicants.
- Tax credits can help lessen the cost of new employees.
- Options for employee training assistance.
- On-the-job training wage subsidies.
- Employee training resources – Career Bridge
- Apprenticeship programs
IRS W4 Form
This form is used to determine federal income tax withholding. As an employer, this is one of the documents you will give to your new employee, or at any time that an employee wants to update their withholding or address information.
IRS W9 Form & instructions
This form is used to request Federal Tax ID and address information for service providers to your business so that you can provide them with a 1099 form at year-end when appropriate.
U.S. Small Business Association
Programs and services to help you start, grow and succeed
More Links & Resources to download
- Records Retention Guide
- Employer’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation
- Recommended Professionals
- Calendar of Tax Deposits & Filings