SUN, APRIL 20, 2014
City Hall
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Business Licenses

All businesses and persons doing business within the City of Forest Grove will need to obtain a business license each year, beginning October 1, 2008.  This annual program applies to home occupations, rental properties, non-profits performing business-like activities on an ongoing basis, temporary business and business solicitors. Churches and certain non-profit endeavors will need to obtain an “exemption certificate” and are exempt from paying the fee, while still submitting emergency contact information to the City.

The fee for a business license is non-refundable. Therefore, it is recommended that businesses and home occupations ensure that they meet all zoning and other code requirements prior to applying for a business license. The fee for a business license is due upon application.  Cash, check, or money orders are accepted for business license fees.

 

Businesses are responsible for knowing and meeting all codes, regulations and laws that pertain to them. A business license is not a statement or waiver that these other codes, regulations and laws have been met; it is merely for the privilege of doing business within the city limits of Forest Grove. It is possible that a business may have a valid city business license but may be unable to operate because it has failed to meet other requirements. The business license fee is non-refundable.  For more information call 503.992.3269.

 

For more specific information regarding whether or not certain activities are subject to the annual business license, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.

  

More information on:

 

 

 Business Definition

Businesses are defined as any enterprise, trade, activity, profession, occupation, private educational facility, or any kind of calling carried on for profit or livelihood within city limits. This includes rental properties and year-round business-type activities that are operated by non-profits, such as a thrift store.  

 

For more specific information, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.   

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 Fees

There is a one-time set-up fee and an annual fee based on the number of employees.  The fees are non-refundable.  Payment may be made by cash, check, or money order only.

 

 BUSINESS LICENSE FEES (Effective Oct 1, 2008)

 First Time Application Fee

 $25.00
 ANNUAL RENEWAL

 Businesses with 0 to 2.5 employees

 $35.00

  Businesses with 3 to 4.5 employees

 $50.00

  Businesses with 5 to 10.5 employees

 $75.00

  Businesses with 11 to 50.5 employees

 $100.00

  Businesses with 51 or more employees

 $100.00 plus $1/employee over 50

 Capped at $250.00 annually
 TEMPORARY/TRANSCIENT BUSINESSES

 First Time Application Fee

 $25.00

 Up to 30 days of operation

 $15.00

Between 31 and 60 days of operation

 $30.00

 Over 61 days of operation

 Treated as a business

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 Employees

The fees for a business license are based on the number of employees. An employee is a person who works for or on behalf of a business in exchange for compensation, regardless of the number of hours worked or the type of compensation, and including sales agents or brokers, but does not include employees leased from another company, such as from a temporary agency. (Although that temporary agency would need to acquire a business license, and pay a fee based on the number of employees leased within city limits.)

 

To count the number of employees in order calculate the annual fee, the number of hours employees work becomes important. Those employees normally working thirty-two or more hours per week throughout the year are considered full-time and are counted as one full-time equivalent, or 1.0 FTE. Employees working less than that, or who work on a temporary or seasonal basis, are counted as one-half of a full-time equivalent, or 0.50 FTE. At the time of application, the fee is based on the number of FTEs counted when the first application is submitted. Thereafter, for annual renewals, the fee is based on an average count of FTEs during the previous year.

 

For example, a restaurant may have an owner and two people who work thirty-two or more hours throughout the year, plus have seven people who trade-off working three hours in the afternoons and weekends. This business would have a total of 6.5 FTEs for purposes of calculating the fee. (3.0 full time, and 3.5 part-time – the seven each counted as one-half.)

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 General Occupancy Permit

The General Occupancy Permits are being discontinued and will be replaced by the Business License.  All General Occupancy Permits issued prior to October 1, 2008, will expire in the month of their issuance in 2009. For example, if you received your General Occupancy Permit in July of 2003, it will expire in July of 2009.  You will need to obtain a business license by July of 2009.  As an incentive to encourage businesses with General Occupancy Permits to obtain a business license early, the City will waive the one-time set up fee of $25.00. Additionally, those businesses with a valid General Occupancy Permit who apply and obtain a business license between October 1 and December 31, 2008, will receive a prorated credit applied to the first two years the business license fee is owed. The prorated credit will be based on the time remaining on the General Occupancy Permit.  For example, if you obtained a General Occupancy Permit five years ago and so have five years remaining, you will receive a credit equal to about half of what you originally paid for the General Occupancy Permit, applied first against the annual business license fee for the first year, and any remaining credit will then carry forward to the second year and at the time of renewal will be applied against the second year fee, but will not carry on beyond that. No refunds of the General Occupancy Permit will be issued.  If the credit does not cover the full fee, you will need to make payment to the City for the difference.  Businesses are eligible for this credit only if a business license is obtained between October 1 and December 31, 2008. After December 31, 2008, the full annual fee will be charged.

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 Rental Properties

Renting property, whether a commercial building rental or residential rental property, is considered a business and, therefore, a business license is required. 

 

Some exceptions are made. A commercial building containing two businesses where the owner of the building has one of the businesses and rents out space to a second business is not considered a commercial building rental and, therefore, does not have to obtain a business license for the rental, but does need one for the business itself.  If a commercial building contains 2 or more businesses who lease space from the building owner, the building owner needs a business license for the commercial rental.

 

For residential rental properties, an owner-occupied home where one or two rooms are rented out is not considered a business and, therefore, does not have to obtain a business license.  Likewise, renting one or two single family residences in town, or one duplex, does not require a business license.  However, a person who rents out 3 or more single family residents, or 3 or more units, or combination of units, in the form of apartments or multi-unit housing (such as duplexes, triplexes, etc) does need to acquire a business license for those rentals.

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 Secondhand Dealers

Those businesses engaged in the selling of second hand goods, such as antiques, guns, coins and scrap, etc., must obtain a Dealer’s Permit, because these types of businesses can present an extraordinary risk of being used as a means of concealing criminal behavior involving the theft of property.  Issuing Dealer’s Permits to these types of businesses is also hoped to reduce criminal activity by providing more timely police awareness of business transactions involving materials which may have been obtained through illegal means.  Currently, there is no charge for a dealer’s permit. This permit is in addition to the business license.

 

For more specific information, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.

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 Solicitors

Those who solicit another person to purchase or trade any product or thing and are not otherwise exempt must obtain a business license. In general, door-to-door sales people must obtain a business license, while those who go door-to-door requesting political or religious donations or opinions are exempt.

 

For more specific information, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.

 

 Community Events

Community Events do not have to obtain a business license, though they may be subject to other permits and licenses. Community Events are events which provide an overall community benefit, are sponsored by a social or service organization, are open to the public, and are held not more than once a week.

 

For more specific information, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.

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 Exemptions

Certain activities, businesses and organizations will need to obtain an “exemption certificate” and submit the location, purpose and contact information for that activity, business or organization, but will not have to pay a fee. Those exempt activities, businesses and organizations are:

 

  • Churches;
  • Governmental agencies;
  • Publicly funded schools;
  • Civic leagues or organizations which operate exclusively for promoting social welfare;
  • Independent contractors who work in a building where the owner has obtained a business license covering those in the building who do a similar business, under the same name as the business on the license;
  • Community events;
  • Producers of farm goods sold by themselves or family members.

Other activities or businesses do not have to obtain a business license or an exemption certificate. Those exempt from both are:

 

  • A business operated by a person under 18 years of age;
  • Solicitations for religious, political, or other social welfare purpose;
  • Owner-occupied residences where two or fewer rooms are rented out;
  • Utility companies subject to the city’s franchise fee;
  • A household garage sale.

 

For more specific information, please refer to City Code Chapter Seven.

 

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