Business Licenses: What Information Do You Need?

Business License

You’ve been working hard, putting together a business plan in order to start your own business. You’ve carefully planned out everything that you will need for your business, down to the last paperclip. You’ve been able to secure the necessary funding and are ready to move onto the next phase of opening your business – obtaining your business license. Filing an application for a business license registers your business as a separate entity from yourself, providing you with important legal benefits, notes Marina Martin of the Chron.

When it comes to running a small business, there are a number of licenses and permits that you are required to obtain before you even start to conduct business. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of failing to do this right from the beginning according to Entrepreneur. Along with a standard business license, you may need to get the following permits in order to legally run your small business.

  • Fire Department Permit
  • Air and Water Pollution Control Permit
  • Sign Permit
  • County Permits
  • State Licenses
  • Federal Licenses
  • Sales Tax License
  • Health Department License

While just about every business will need some sort of license or permit to operate, the requirements set forth by your specific state may vary depending on the business that you are operating, explains the U.S. Small Business Administration website. Each state and local city and county will have different laws and regulations when it comes to what kinds of licenses and permits you will need to obtain in order to get your business up and running and accept your first payment from your customers.

Where to Go

When it comes to getting your business license, you will need to head to your local city or county building or local courthouse, explains the Know My Business website. You will need to get your business license in the city in which you will be operating your business. In order to track down the correct address, you can head online and do a simple search. Include your city’s name plus the keywords “business license” in order to find the right website for your local municipality.

What You Need

When it comes to filling out the paperwork for your business license, you’ll first need to know what business code you will need to use on your paperwork. The type of business license that you will have to apply to will be based on the kind of business you will be operating. These different businesses have a different code that is associated with them. You may have to fill out a number of different applications, or you may simply need a simple Doing Business As (DBA). Since every city has different requirements, you will want to check out your city’s website to find out exactly what forms you will need to fill out. You can also work with a company like LegalZoom, letting them help you figure out which forms are required for your specific city and state.

How to File

Once you have figured out what your business code is, you need to download, or obtain from your local government office, the appropriate forms for the licenses and permits that you will need to file for. Most cities have easy to use websites where you can find all of the forms that you will need to file. Once you’ve found the appropriate forms, they can usually be completed online and you can pay the fees associated with the forms, making your job of obtaining a business license quick and easy.

The Next Step

Once you’ve filed your application and paid your filing fees, the only thing that is left for you to do is wait. If you applied for a license for a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or an LLC, you can potentially have your business license in as little as a couple of days. If you are forming a more complicated S- or C-corporation, you may have to wait for up to two weeks before you see your official business license. If you want to check on the progress of your business license you can always contact your city or county office to find out when you can expect your business license to arrive.

Business licenses are relatively cheap and easy to file with your local city or county government. Along with being required by most states, licensing your business will help to protect you against certain liabilities explains the WAHM website. There are a number of great benefits that you can take advantage of by licensing your business with your local city or county. Before you can start your small business, make sure that you take the necessary steps to get your business licensed and obtain the appropriate permits that your local government may require you to hold as a business owner.

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