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UBI Number | Frequently Asked Questions

If you're a business owner in Washington state, then you will most likely need a UBI number. In this post, we'll discuss some of the frequently asked questions regarding a UBI number and why it's important.

What is a UBI Number?

A Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number is a unique, nine-digit number that is used across several Washington state agencies. It may also be called a tax registration number, a business registration number, or a business license number.

It is similar to your EIN, but it is used on a state level instead of a federal level.

Who Needs a UBI Number?

If you operate a business in Washington state, and any of the following apply, then you are required to get a UBI number:

  • Hire employees

  • Get a speciality business license

  • Register or change a trade name

  • Collect and pay Washington taxes

  • Buy or process specialty foods

  • Do business under a name other than your full legal name

  • Sell your business

  • Pay or change unemployment insurance or industrial insurance

How Do I Get a UBI Number?

There are a couple of different ways to obtain a UBI number.

If your business structure is an LLC, Partnership, or Corporation, then you will need to file your formation documents with the Washington Secretary of State and they will issue you a UBI number.

If you're a sole proprietor who doesn’t need to file with the Washington Secretary of State, you will be issued a UBI number when you apply for a business license with the Department of Revenue.

Note: If you file with the Secretary of State and the Business Licensing Service at the same time, then you may be issued two UBI numbers. Therefore, if you plan on filing formation documents with the Secretary of State, you should wait to apply for a business license until you receive your UBI number.

What is my UBI Number Used For?

State agencies such as the Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, Department of Labor and Industries, and Employment Security Department may require your UBI number for filing tax returns and reports. Some forms that you will need a UBI number for include:

When speaking with agencies over the phone, they may also require your UBI number to verify your identity. As you can see, having this number on hand is very important.

Where Can I Find My UBI Number?

There are various places you can find your UBI number if you misplace it:

Will My UBI Number Ever Change?

Your UBI number will remain the same unless there is a major change in your business, then you will need to be issued a new UBI number. Reasons you may need to apply for a new UBI number include:

  • If a new business ownership is formed

  • If a business entity changes structure (from a partnership to a corporation)

  • If a general partner adds or deletes partners and the change of partners is more than 50%

  • If the spouse of a sole proprietor opens a separate business and requests a new UBI


In conclusion, obtaining a UBI number is an important step for businesses in Washington State, as it is required for various purposes such as tax filings and reporting. We hope this post provided you with some clarity as you navigate being a Washington State business owner.


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