About us

Privacy Notice

Section A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Business Licensing Service (BLS) website and reviewing our Privacy Notice. This statement addresses collection, use of the information you provide, security of and access to information that may be obtained through use of this web site. This notice covers the following topics:

Section B. Information Collected and How it is Used

Information collected if you only browse this site

If you do nothing during your visit to our web site but browse, read pages, or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit. This information does not identify you personally. The following information about your visit is automatically collected and stored:

  1. The Internet Protocol Address and domain name used. The Internet Protocol address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the Internet Protocol Address to direct Internet traffic to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider (e.g. xcompany.com or yourschool.edu);
  2. The type of browser and operating system you used;
  3. The date and time you visited this site;
  4. The web pages or services you accessed at this site; and
  5. The web site you visited prior to coming to this web site.

The information automatically collected is logged and used by the Business Licensing Service only to improve the content of our web services and to help us understand how individuals are using our services. The Business Licensing Service analyzes this information to determine how our website is being used, so that we may continually improve the site's usefulness to the public.

What we collect if you volunteer information

If during your visit to our website you participate in a survey, send an email, or perform some other transaction online, the following additional information will be collected:

  1. The email address, and contents of email, for those who communicate with us via email.
  2. Information volunteered in response to a survey.
  3. Information volunteered through an online application or form for any other purpose.

The information collected is not limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us.

The Business Licensing Service uses your email to respond directly to you to address issues you identify in your email, to further improve our website, or to forward to another agency for appropriate action. Survey information is used to improve BLS's services to you. Information from other online forms is used for the purpose requested, and as authorized by agency statutes.

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Section C. Personal Information and Choice

You may choose whether to provide personal information online.

"Personal information" is information about a natural person that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes such things as an individual's name, address, and phone number. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not necessarily considered personal information.

BLS does not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us by sending us email, participate in a survey, or complete an online form. Your decision not to participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse the Business Licensing Service website and read or download any information provided on the site. If you choose to not use online applications, forms, or services, you still have the ability to contact BLS by mail, fax or telephone. Please refer to the Contact Information Section.

If personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, state law and the federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information is a public record once you provide it, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not protected by state or federal law.

If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact the Business Licensing Service Public Records Officer, as shown in the Contact Information Section of this statement.

Business Licensing Service website is a general audience site and we do not knowingly collect any personal information from children. Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children online or by e-mail will be treated the same as information given by an adult, and may be subject to the public access.

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Section D. Public Access to Information

In Washington, laws exist to ensure that state government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by state government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access public records that serve various needs, including the privacy of individuals. Exceptions are provided by both state and federal laws.

All of the information collected at this site becomes a public record that may be subject to inspection and copying by members of the public, unless an exemption in law exists. The provisions of RCW 42.17. 260(1) state that:

Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within the specific exemptions of subsection (6) of this section [RCW 42.17.260(6)], RCW 42.17.310, 42.17.315, or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records. To the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy interests protected by RCW 42.17.310 and 42.17.315, an agency shall delete identifying details in a manner consistent with RCW 42.17.310 and 42.17.315 when it makes available or publishes any public record; however, in each case, the justification for the deletion shall be explained fully in writing.

In addition, the Business Licensing Service is governed by the provisions of RCW 82.32.330. This statute states in part, RCW 82.32.330(2).

Returns and tax information shall be confidential and privileged, and except as authorized by this section, neither the Business Licensing Service nor any other person may disclose any return or tax information.

RCW 82.32.330(1)(c) defines returns and tax information as any information related to your business, including, but not limited to, the nature, source, or amount of income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability deficiencies, over or under payments, whether your account has been, is being or is scheduled for audit or other review, or subject to any other investigation or processing.

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or other law governing the agency's disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or other applicable law will control.

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Section E. Nondisclosure of Certain Personal Information

The Business Licensing Service may require you to provide certain confidential information in order to use specific online services. This information is required to verify a user's identity. You may choose not to give this information, but if you choose not, we will be unable to provide you access to these online services and you will have to use traditional methods such as personal contact, fax or mail.

The strict confidentiality standards set in RCW 82.32.330 prohibit the Business Licensing Service from disclosing personal information about you without express consent or statutory authority.

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Section F. Review and Correction of Personally Identifiable Information

You can review any personally identifiable information BLS collects about you by using the information in the Contact Information Section at the end of this Notice. You may recommend changes to your personally identifiable information you believe to be inaccurate by submitting a written and signed request that explains the inaccuracy. BLS will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. Please refer to RCW 43.105.310.

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Section G. Cookies

To better serve our users, BLS uses "cookies" to customize your browsing experience with the Business Licensing Service website. Cookies are simple text files stored on your computer by your web browser.

Cookies created on your computer by using this website do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security. We use the cookie feature only to store a randomly generated identifying tag on your computer.

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Section H. Security

The Business Licensing Service has taken several steps to safeguard the integrity of its telecommunications and computing infrastructure, including, but not limited to authentication, monitoring, auditing, and encryption. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation and day-to-day practices of the entire BLS operating environment as part of its continuing commitment to risk management.

These safeguards should not be construed in any way as giving business, legal, or other advice, or warranting as fail proof, the security of information provided via BLS supported websites.

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Section I. Disclaimer

The Business Licensing Service website has many links to other websites. These include links to websites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no longer on the Business Licensing Service website and this Privacy Notice will not apply. When you link to another website, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new site.

Reference in this web site to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the state of Washington, Business Licensing Service, or its officers, employees or agents.

Neither the state of Washington, nor any agency, officer, or employee of the state of Washington guarantees the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk, except as provided in SHB 2493 (Chapter 104, Laws of 2000).

To address concerns regarding emerging technology, SHB 2493 (Chapter 104, Laws of 2000), provides in part, that businesses that rely on technology developed and provided by BLS to calculate tax rates such as the Geographical Information System (GIS), shall be held harmless from errors resulting from such use.

The Business Licensing Service reserves the right to revise and update this Privacy Notice at any time without notice by posting such revised Privacy Notice at the Business Licensing Service home page.

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Section J. Business Licensing Service Contact Information

You may contact the Business Licensing Service as follows:

To review your personal information, or request correction of your personal information:

Public Records Officer
Department of Revenue
PO Box 47478
Olympia WA 98504-7478
Fax (360) 705-6655
Telephone (360) 705-6647

To offer comments about the Business Licensing Service's website, or about the information presented in this Privacy Notice:

Internet Content Manager
Department of Revenue
PO Box 47478
Olympia WA 98504-7478
Fax (360) 705-6625
Telephone (360) 705-6610

To inquire about the availability of this information in an alternate format, please call (360) 705-6715.

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