Liquor Licenses. Among the liquor licenses issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) are the following:
For the original issuance of a liquor license, LCB sets the expiration date of the license to the last day of the calendar month that is 12 months from the calendar month in which final approval of the license is granted. Upon renewal, the expiration of the license may be prorated as necessary pursuant to the Business Licensing Service Act.
LCB coordinates with the Department of Revenue (DOR) to process liquor license applications through DOR's Business Licensing Service (BLS). BLS is a one-stop system for businesses to acquire and maintain the necessary state licenses to conduct business. DOR assigns an expiration date, which is the last day of a calendar month. All renewable licenses endorsed on the business license must expire on that date. License fees must be prorated to accommodate the staggering of expiration dates. License fees received by LCB are deposited in the Liquor Revolving Fund.
Temporary Fee Waiver. In 2021, the Legislature passed ESSB 5272, which temporarily waived certain liquor license fees for one year. The temporary waiver applies to many liquor licenses including distilleries, wineries, breweries, spirits, beer, and wine restaurants, taverns, hotels, spirits, beer, and wine nightclubs, and caterers, among others. The temporary waiver applies until March 31, 2022.
Beginning April 1, 2022, and through December 31, 2023, the annual fee for the following liquor licenses is reduced by half:
The temporary license fee reduction expires December 31, 2023. Licenses set to expire or issued in January 2024 are subject to the full fee amount typically owed for the license.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This bill is back this year because the hospitality industry can still benefit from a license fee reduction to recover from the pandemic. Spirits, beer, and wine licensees pay the highest amount of license fees in the state. This is the largest annual fee these businesses pay each year. The average restaurant is about $160,000 in debt and the hotel, motel industry has seen a $2.6 billion drop in sales since 2019. Extending license fee relief through 2023 will have a meaningful impact on these businesses.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: Three years in to the pandemic the hospitality industry is still recovering and still shows a $2.6 billion drop in sales. These are the highest annual fees that are paid and this will have a meaningful impact on the industry.