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Department of Small and Local Business Development

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Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

Smiling BID worker unloading green shrubs from a pickup truck

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a self-taxing district established by property owners to enhance the economic vitality of a specific commercial area. The tax is a surcharge to the real property tax liability. The tax is collected by the District of Columbia and all revenues are returned entirely to the nonprofit organization managing the BID. Business and property owners control the BID and how funds are spent. There are currently 11 BIDs in the District of Columbia.

The Department of Small and Local Business Development manages the certification of BIDs and the BID charter extension process.

BID Services

BID expenditures are used primarily for purchasing supplemental services, which could include:

  • Maintaining commercial corridors through litter and graffiti removal and landscaping to supplement city services;
  • Increasing security through the presence of ambassadors who walk the commercial district;
  • Promoting the commercial district and the businesses operating therein;
  • Providing homeless and youth services; and,
  • Making capital improvements (e.g., street furniture, decorative lighting) to supplement city services

Current BIDs and CIDs

Currently, there are 12 established business improvement districts that provide programs that address commercial District-wide issues, e.g., cleanliness, maintenance, safety, promotion, economic development, and other collective business issues in their coverage areas.

**NOTE: DSLBD does NOT accept BID applications from July 15th through October 15th**

Steps for Establishing a BID in Washington, DC
The first step is to meet with the Councilmember representing the Ward in which the proposed BID is located. If the Councilmember supports the BID initiative, then request the Councilmember consider introducing a bill to establish the proposed BID boundaries and the supplemental taxing rate. The bill should be introduced once steps 4 and 6 below are completed.

Step 1: Form a non-profit BID Corporation.

  • Designate incorporators
  • Designate the initial Board of Directors
  • Prepare and adopt articles of incorporation and bylaws
  • File incorporation documents with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
  • Apply for a federal employer identification number
  • Apply for IRS recognition as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation

Step 2: Establish the boundaries of the BID.
Step 3: Develop a database of property owners and commercial tenants in the BID area.
Step 4: Establish the mechanism for calculating supplemental taxes. Understanding why current BIDs chose their particular tax formulas may be helpful.
Step 5: Develop a business plan, including a budget and scope of services covering the first 5 years of operation.
Step 6: Prepare and submit the BID application to the Mayor through DSLBD for registration. The application is to include the following components:

  • Signed statements in support of the BID formation by the required number of commercial real property owners and tenants in the proposed district.
  • Business plan for the first 5 years of BID operation.
  • Map of BID area.
  • List of initial BID board members.
  • Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of BID Corporation
  • List of all commercial property owners in BID area
  • List of all commercial tenants in BID area
  • Tax formula used for the BID fee and proposed first-year charges
  • Other materials, as specified by DC Statue § 2-1215

Step 7: The Mayor, through DSLBD, makes a preliminary review of the BID application within 15 working days of submission.
Step 8: The Mayor, through DSLBD, issues a finding that application criteria have been met and schedules a public hearing to be held within 45 days.
Step 9: At least 21 days prior to the public hearing, the BID Corporation must submit a notice of the hearing to each commercial property owner and commercial tenant, each Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, the Council of the District of Columbia, and each major citizen association within the BID area.
Step 10: Within 10 days after the public hearing, the Mayor shall either register the BID or determine that the BID application requirements have not been met, in which case the BID has 45 days to correct the application.
Step 11: Once the BID has been registered, it can begin operations, including working with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue to collect assessments.


Service Contact: 
Lincoln Lashley
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
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Contact Suite #: 
850 North
Service Location: 

441 4th Street, NW

GIS Address: 
441 4th Street, NW