What will I need for the business license application?
Although business license applications vary by city,
the typical items asked for on a business license application
include the name of the business, the type of business
entity, the business address and phone number, the number
of employees, the general nature of the business, the
tax ID number, and your anticipated sales revenues.
Apply for a business license now by finding
your state using the map below.
This site will help you to easily find out how to
get a business license in your city. In most cities
and counties, if you are engaged in any trade, business,
occupation, or profession, you will need to apply
for a business license in the city or county where
your business is located. If you have multiple business
locations you will need a business license in each
city or county where your business branches are located.
Many larger cities now allow you to apply for a business
license online! Most cities have downloadable business
license forms that you can print and mail or hand-deliver
to the city office along with your application fee.
A business license may not be known as a “business
license” in every city, but may be called something
else. A business license may be called an occupational
license, business tax permit, general excise tax license,
gross receipts tax license or privilege license.
Business licenses are required by city ordinances
to regulate occupations and businesses in order to
protect the public and to collect tax revenues. If
you are engaged in any trade, business, occupation,
or profession, you will need to apply for a business
licence in the city where your business is located.
The cities also keep a record of your business in
the city’s database for various purposes, such as
regulation of business activities, law enforcement,
zoning, statistics, urban planning, and collecting
taxes. Most cities require business licenses from
every type of business, even home-based businesses.
A business license application is basically a tax
payment to the city for the privilege of doing business
in that city. Cities collect fees from the business
license applicants and place the majority of the fees
in to its general fund for the administration of city
services, such as police, fire fighters, road work,
parks and recreation and other community services
that benefits citizens and businesses. For retail
businesses, when a consumer pays sales tax on goods
it buys from a store, the business pays the sales
tax to the state or county and the city receives a
portion of the sales tax revenue for its general budget.
Business licenses help cities keep track of who should
be paying sales tax in their area.
County business licenses are usually required when
operating a business in an “unincorporated” area of
the county, meaning that you operate the business
in a small town or village that is run by the county.
Some counties only require business licenses for certain
types of industries and occupations. The types of
businesses for which county business licenses are
normally required include those that are believed
to concern the public health, welfare, or safety and
that the county believes need to be regulated. These
include such occupations as Auto Repairs, Body Piercing
and Tattoos, Gun Dealers, Health Spas, Locksmiths,
Massage Parlors, Pawnbrokers, Taxicab Drivers, and
Tow Truck Operators.
Unlike typical business license applications in a
city, a county’s business license form may vary greatly
by the type of business or occupation for which the
license is needed. The typical items asked for on
a business license application include the name of
the business, the type of business entity (partnership,
corporation, LLC, or sole proprietor), the business
address and phone number, the number of employees,
the general nature of the business, the business federal
tax identification number (FEIN), or your social security
number, and your anticipated sales revenues. Depending
on the type of business you operate, you may need
such items as a valid driver’s license or passport,
photographs, fingerprints, references, insurance or
bonds, diplomas or certificates, or other types of
information or documentation related to the type of
business being operated. Fingerprints are used for
criminal background investigations and are most commonly
required for highly regulated occupations or business
such as pawnshops, tattoo artists, and locksmiths.
A fee for the business license is typically charged,
but may vary based on the nature of your business
(such as if you are in a highly regulated business
and require a background investigation) and you may
also need to pay an annual renewal fee to sustain