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Plan to start a business? One of the first things you should do is check with your city’s business licenses, permits & tax agency to see what the steps are in applying for a business tax certificate or license. Often, you are required to apply for this business license within a few weeks of starting your business, so don’t let it slip through the cracks.

Why Do You Need a Business Tax License?

Rather than being a permit to operate, your business tax license is more a tax you pay for the privilege of operating your company within a city or town. The business tax license itself is proof that you have paid these taxes, and are an approved business.

Who Needs a Business License?

Every business, regardless of whether it’s an office or retail location, needs a business tax license. Every type of business needs one, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and corporations. Independent contractors, freelancers, and nonprofits are also required to have a business tax license.

What Happens if I Don’t Get a License?

Even if you work out of your home, you are still required to have one. Not having a license could cost you in fines, or you could be taken to court. It’s not worth the headache to save less than $100 on the tax license.

Do I Need Other Types of Business Licenses?

Likely. Whether that’s a building permit, a zoning license, or an amusement license, you need to ensure you’re legal in every way by applying for any business license you need before you start operating. Check your city’s business license website or call if you have questions.

What are the Benefits of Having a Business Tax License?

Often, in addition to being compliant with your city’s business license law, you can realize other perks, like automatic acceptance into your local business association. This can bring you new contacts, get the word out about your brand, and get you discounts on advertising and events. Check to see if your local business association provides free membership once you get your business tax license approved.