Some Shoreline residents receive letters about paying business taxes - when they don't have a business

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Recently, some Shoreline residents were puzzled to receive letters from the city, informing them that they needed to obtain a business license or file business and occupation (B/O) tax returns.

They knew that it had something to do with employing a nanny / long term babysitter, but didn't know why they would need to pay taxes on money they were paying out.

According to the city, the letters came from the Administrative Services Department and specifically B/O Tax Analyst Ally Kim. 

We appreciate that the letter can be confusing for people receiving it who have had to register as a domestic employer as a result of having a nanny or long-term babysitter. 
The State requires anyone that employs a nanny/babysitter and pays them more than $1,000 a quarter to obtain a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) for the purpose of reporting the "employees" wages to the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD). 

Recently, the city obtained a list of businesses from the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) with a Shoreline address and compared it to their list of businesses with a City business license.  

They then sent those businesses a letter informing them of the need to obtain a Shoreline business license. That letter asks the business to contact Ally Kim directly so they could update our records. 

In the situations with the nanny/babysitters, Ally reports that they do not meet the definition of engaging in business and, therefore, are not required to obtain a business license or file business and occupation (B/O) tax returns.

We did not know that such individuals would be included in the list from DOR before we sent the letters out. 

We don't know how many people are impacted by this, but we will continue to assess the situation and look for ways to clarify the issue. 

If you are in this situation, contact Ally directly at 206-801-2324 or

--Diane Hettrick


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