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City of Spokane Partners with State Business Licensing Service in November 2012.

Taxes and Licenses, under the Office of Management & Budget, functions as a license office for regulatory licenses provided in Division II of Title 10 and administers the various municipal taxes set forth in Title 8 of the Spokane Municipal Code. We are responsible for processing applications, registrations, returns and renewals; and billing, collecting, accounting and auditing of fees and taxes

City Licenses/Registrations/Permits

The following licenses may be required in addition to a business license.

Temporary Business Registration

SMC 8.01 and 10.40.010

No person may engage in business in the City or with the City without first having obtained and being the holder of a valid temporary business registration (PDF 37 KB).

Amusement device license

SMC 08.12

  • Every amusement device operator is required to have a current amusement device operator's license.
  • Every amusement device owner is required to have a current amusement device owner's license.
  • Before an amusement device is placed for use by the public, an amusement device operator must obtain an amusement device license for each amusement device. When two or more amusement devices each capable of independent operation are placed within one container, each is considered a separate device.
  • The licenses required by this chapter are Class IIA licenses as provided in Chapter 4.04.

Failure to obtain either an amusement device operator's or owner's license or an amusement device license is a class 3 infraction.

Amusement device application (PDF 106 KB)

Entertainment Facility license

SMC 10.23

“Entertainment Facilty” is any hotel, restaurant, café, club, tavern, or similar place where live entertainment involving music, singing, dancing, or other similar entertainment is presented to the public, together with food or alcohol.

An “amusement facility,” or “entertainment facility,” is any business, club, or location that is required to have a City business license or permit in accordance with Chapter 4.04 SMC where concerts, dances, carnivals, circuses, teen club, all-ages venue, or a cabaret is presented to the public as a regular course of doing business, not including:

  1. A government entity, public or private schools or college; or
  2. A facility operated by an organization which has been recognized as exempt from federal income taxation and when the entertainment activities are but an occasional activity not related to the facility's primary purposes; or
  3. Licensed businesses whose primary function is to provide products or services and where the entertainment provided is not material to the economic viability of the business.

Entertainment Facility license application (PDF 50 KB))

Charitable Solicitation permit

Chapter 4.04 SMC A permit is required for charitable solicitation.

  • “Charitable purposes” means any benevolent, philanthropic, educational, patriotic, civic, fraternal, or religious purpose, actual or purported.
  • To “solicit” means to request money, credit, goods, merchandise, time, or other assistance, financial or otherwise, upon the representation that it will be used for charitable purposes. Requests under this section may be oral or written and may include the offering for sale of articles and the making of announcements of and the invitation and sales of admission to events upon the claim that the proceeds shall be used for charitable or religious purpose.
  • A permit is not required for solicitation by members of a charitable or religious organization among its members or persons present at a regular meeting of the organization.

A charitable solicitation permit is a Class I license as provided in Chapter 4.04.

Itinerant Vendor Permit

SMC 10.40.060

A regular or temporary business registration issued under Chapter 8.01 SMC must have an Itinerant Vendor Permit under any of the following circumstances:

  • Where the person is eligible for a city registration, and is engaged in the business of selling or delivering goods or services within the city from a fixed or temporary location as an itinerant vendor. Examples are people selling food or wares from mobile carts on the sidewalk or roving vehicles in the streets.
  • Where the person travels from door to door as the principle means of conducting business offering, exposing for sale, or selling within the city any goods, merchandise, service, or product.
  • Where the person engages in any business in the city with no permanent location.

Businesses with an itinerant vendor permit are required to:

  • Refrain from using excessively noisy devices or methods to attract public attention to his wares or services and from shouting or calling his wares or services in a loud or boisterous manner;
  • Keep all conveyances and containers for foodstuffs and edibles clean and sanitary and to keep all consumables well covered and protected from all dirt, insects or other contamination;
  • Refrain from standing, by person or vehicle, upon any public way more than ten minutes in any one place;
  • Move from a location adjacent to another's place of business or residence when requested by someone in charge of such business or residence;
  • Move from a location included within the boundaries of a special event when requested by the chief of police or someone in charge of such special event;
  • Refrain from any illegal, fraudulent or deceptive practice;
  • Have upon his person for display upon inquiry by any person a copy of the City permit and, in addition, documents showing he is authorized by the copyright or trademark owner to sell the goods concerned.

Itinerant Vendor Application (PDF 25 KB)

For Hire Operator and Taxi Cab Licenses

Section 10.34.020 Activities Requiring License

  1. No person may own, operate, use, or drive a for-hire vehicle unless the vehicle is licensed under this chapter and no person may drive a for-hire vehicle without a driver's license issued under this chapter.
  2. The for-hire vehicle and driver licenses required by this chapter are class IIA licenses under chapter 4.04 SMC.
  3. An interim for-hire driver license shall be issued to new for-hire vehicle drivers at no cost to the driver, which shall be good for sixty days. After the sixty day interim period, the driver shall pay the driver license fees set forth in SMC 8.02.0210 A and D before permanent for-hire driver licenses are issued. All other requirements set forth in the chapter shall be met before the issuance of interim for-hire driver licenses.
  4. A violation of this section is a class one civil infraction. Each subsequent violation is a separate infraction.


Special Event Permit

SMC 10.39

You may need a special event permit if your event is a pre-planned activity that involves the use of, or has impact on, public property, facilities and/or needs the provisions of City public safety services. If your event is on private property, but may still impact public services or safety you may be required to obtain a special events permit.

Examples of special events include, but are not limited to, block parties, parades, demonstrations, concerts, run/walk events, celebrations, commercial or non-profit/fundraising forms of entertainment, amusement, and cultural recognition. This information is not all inclusive and only meant to be a general guide as to which events may require permits. Some events may require permits from more than one Department.

Please see FAQs regarding special events (PDF 34 KB), or contact the Special Events Coordinator to discuss your event idea.

Depending on where the event will be held, certain City department(s) will act as the main contact. Once applications are received, the originating department will notify all other City departments that need to be involved with the upcoming event. Each department will review the application for anything that may require special conditions, inspections, permits, or licenses. Once the Special Event Permit is approved, the event can occur.

See the table below to download the correct application for your event. Please note that some events overlap: for example, planning a foot race that begins and ends in Riverfront Park with a beer garden and live music at the end, but the majority of the race is on city streets. You would begin with the Special Event Permit application and the Permit Issuing Department (in this case, Police) will coordinate with the other departments involved. Please note this may require additional permits.

Criteria Permit Issuing Department Application
Is your event on the public right of way (roads, sidewalks)? Would it be considered a block party? Engineering Services Block Party Permit (PDF 62 KB)
Is your event on the public right of way (roads, sidewalks)? Examples: races, parades, marches Police Department Special Event Permit (PDF 79 KB)
Is your event in a City park, but not Riverfront Park? Parks Department Parks Special Event Permit (PDF 341 KB)
Is your event in Riverfront Park? Parks Department RFP Special Event Permit (PDF 127 KB)
Is your event on private or public property that will involve open flame, fireworks, cooking fuels, tents or canopies, amusement buildings, or involve a beer garden? Fire Department Fire Special Event Permit (PDF 111 KB)
Is your event on private property, such as parking lot, but could potentially create noise violations (amplification, music, etc.)? If a concert or dance, may need Temporary Entertainment License. Engineering Services Block Party Permit (PDF 62 KB)
Taxes and Licenses Temporary Entertainment License (PDF 64 KB)


Taxes & Licenses
1st Floor City Hall
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201


Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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