Beginning December 31, 2008, the District of Columbia began requiring all businesses that pay business taxes to have a valid District of Columbia Basic Business License (BBL). Under the Business Licensing Processing Adjustment Act of 2008 passed by the DC Council, an estimated 10,000 previously unlicensed businesses will be required to obtain a General Business License.
The introduction of the new license will allow the District government to identify businesses now subject to licensure and take enforcement action against businesses operating without a license in the District. This will prevent illegal business from negatively influencing legitimate commerce and protect consumers in the District from poor business practices.
The General Business License fee is $200 per year and will be charged biannually. An application fee of $70 and a $25 activity fee will be due with your application; and the technology fee of 10% applies. In total, your cost will be $324.50 for your General Business License.
DCRA has also created the BBL EZ-FORM to speed up the application process. The new two-page form, which is included below, is easy-to-fill-out and has reduced the size of the BBL application by 60 percent.
What Do I Need to Know?
For nearly all cases, if you have a business tax identification number, you will be required to obtain a BBL General Business License. However, there are some exemptions. Business entities whose principals are required to maintain licenses issued by a local, state or national certification board or body will not be required to obtain a General Business License. Other exemptions include:
- Having a Basic Business License whose endorsements authorize all current business activities; or
- Having a current occupational or professional license for business activities
Here is a list of businesses and professions that most likely are exempt from having to obtain the General Business License.
If you feel you are exempt, please complete the exemption certificate (located below in related documents) and return to:
DCRA Business License Center
1100 4th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024