When you decide to start a company today, the process may appear complicated at first. You may be wondering what documents and permits are required to run a legal start-up business. A startup, as we all know, is a temporary structure that requires investments to turn its business idea into a ready-made unique product, as well as additional scaling, market-entry, and transformation into a full-fledged business.
So, first and foremost, you must have a great business plan, investment agreements, and, most importantly, a state permit. Residents of the United States must obtain a Business License from their home states. Almost every state requires it. Knowing how time-consuming it is to research each state separately, we have created a comprehensive guide for start-up businesses to get a license in 50 States.
The thing is, Alabama does not require sole proprietors to apply for an Alabama Business License unless they want to use a fictitious business name. That’s when you need to fill out the application and go to the nearest probate judge’s office.
Alabama is one of the few states in the U.S that requires having a license at the federal level. To do so, you have to have a registered business and a sales tax permit.
This permit is obligatory for all businesses in Alabama. To acquire one you are to register your company and later apply online for the permit on the My Alabama Taxes website.
If you run a business from home, you must register it with the local office and apply for a home occupation permit. Actually, there are some limitations based on the type of company and field you want to enter.
In short, no matter what type of company you run, you have to register your business as well as obtain an Alaska Business License at the state level. The license is issued by the Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing office of AK.
Alaska is one of the few states in the United States that requires a federal license. You must have a registered business and a sales tax permit to do so.
Businesses that make $100,000 or more in state sales must obtain a seller’s permit. It is required even for online businesses.
If you operate a home-based business, you must register it with the local county office and submit an application for a home occupation permit.
At a state level, Arizona doesn’t require having a business license as its definition kind of differs from the others. In Arizona, when operating a startup business the owner has to apply for one of these three licenses: Transaction Privilege (Sales) Tax (TPT), Business, and Regulatory. A business license is given at a state level.
In reality, Arizona is one of the few states that only requires county-level special licenses for businesses that produce or sell hazardous or healthcare products.
You need an AR Transaction Phoenix Privilege (Sales) and a Use Tax License if your company conducts taxable activity. To avoid fines, you must finish it within 30 days of your business’s launch.
Arizona allows its residents to operate a home-based business with a state permit. However, take into account that there are some restrictions such as you are to live in the house you want to use for your business.
In Arkansas, only businesses that are going to deal with insurance, taxes and are registered. However, it’s always a good idea to have legal proof of your company, especially for startups as it may be a great plus for the investors. As for a statewide permit, all the companies have to have a tax permit, often called a seller’s permit.
Arkansas is one of many states that do not mandate that all businesses acquire a federal business license at the state level. The Arkansas sales tax permit is the only statewide permit required.
According to the law governing the gross receipts tax, any seller who sells goods or services that are subject to sales tax in Arkansas must obtain Sales Tax Permit.
For now, Arkansas does not prohibit its citizens from requesting a home occupation permit and operating a business from their residence. However, you can clarify any applicable restrictions with your regional office.
Especially for startup businesses, California, doesn’t require a state-wide permit to operate your company. An individual who is an employee and whose compensation is documented on a Federal W-2 is not engaged in business and is exempt from the requirement to obtain a business license.
Actually, California does not require that every company hold a unique federal license. There are some business sectors, though, that requires at least a state level.
A seller’s permit is necessary if you are conducting business in California meanwhile planning to produce or sell actual personal property that is subject to sales tax.
In California, a home occupation permit is required for just any company that operates out of or is conducted at your own home.
A generic general startup business license is not issued or required by the state of Colorado. Permits are issued by various state agencies for specific types of businesses, activities, and professions.
In Colorado, the majority of small businesses do not require any federal licenses or permits unless they are selling or producing at the federal level.
If the retailer operating in Colorado delivers services or has sales revenue of $100,000 or more he or she must have a Sales Tax Permit.
One of the few US states with strict regulations for home-based businesses is Colorado. Most of the time, commercial structures cannot be built on your property, but there are some exceptions for home-based businesses.
A Connecticut business license is required for start-up businesses wishing to operate in the state. You must apply to the Secretary of State for a business license. Not only it’s required by the state but it is reassuring for investment enterprises to see that you are a legal business.
In Connecticut, the majority of small businesses do not require any federal licenses or permits. The state one is quite enough.
If you intend to sell in Connecticut at the malls, shops, supermarkets, and even in a handmade fair you must first obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit from DRS.
In Connecticut, most home-based businesses require a business license or permit. They do pay taxes and are subject to some restrictions based on their industry.
In Delaware, all startup businesses have to apply and get a Delaware Business License. The state doesn’t offer tax licenses. It’s a benefit, especially for online shops and companies that operate fully remotely as the only permit, in this case, is the state-wide one.
If your business operates in Delaware and gets involved in any federally regulated operations, you will need a federal business license.
For now, Delaware does not require a seller’s permit for any of the businesses because there is no sales tax here.
A home occupation permit from the Delaware Division of Revenue is required for anyone or any organization operating a home-based business in the state of Delaware.
The FL Department of Business and Professional Regulation office doesn’t offer a generic business license. However, such startups that deal with Alcohol sales, Weights and measures, and Waste discharge are to obtain a Florida Business License undoubtedly. As the state doesn’t have a unified licensing system, you are to apply via the nearest office in your county.
Most likely you are not required to have a federal license to run a business in Florida if you are a startup or small company.
All the companies engaged in tax or fee activities are to obtain a sales tax permit from Florida’s Department of Revenue.
In Florida, home-based business owners must also obtain a home occupation permit in addition to a sales tax permit.
For now, Georgia does not require a general business license for startups. However, some documents are still required for establishing a business. For example, in order to legally operate throughout Georgia, your startup must obtain a valid tax permit.
Depending on the industry in which your company operates, the Georgia Department of Revenue may require a federal license.
According to O.C.G.A. 48-8-2, anyone or any business (whether operating online or offline) must submit an application for a sales and use tax number.
A Georgia home occupation permit is required for all home-based businesses if you plan to operate them from your residence.
The state of Hawaii does not require that all new businesses, unlike some other states, obtain a general business license.
Hawaii does not require a federal business license for all businesses, in contrast to some other states. However, if your company operates at the federal level, you may need one.
No matter the nature of your business, you need a Hawaii GET License to run your business legally in the state of Hawaii.
All home-based businesses in Hawaii are required to have a state-issued Home Occupancy Permit.
The startup businesses are mainly a subject of state and county licensing in addition to federal occupational one. The fields in which you are to obtain the Idaho Business License differ and thus, it’s always best to check it out with the local Clerk’s Office.
A federal business license is not necessary for Idaho unless your company conducts business at the federal level.
All companies currently operating in Idaho are required to obtain a seller’s permit and collect the applicable local sales tax.
Anyone who intends to operate a business out of a home or other structure must obtain a home occupation permit from the state.
Business operating licenses and state-level business licenses are not issued in Illinois. But your company must acquire a Certificate of Registration or License, also known as a seller’s permit.
The federal government does not require a special business license from Illinois residents.
In order to sell anything in Illinois, you must first apply for and obtain a seller’s permit, also known as a sales tax permit.
Businesses run from the owner’s residence have to apply and get an Illinois Home Occupation Permit.
There isn’t a general, state-issued business license in Indiana. Nevertheless, the state does issue numerous licenses, permits, certifications, and other permissions that are particular to particular commercial activities.
If a company is not engaged in federal business, Indiana does not require it to obtain a special federal license.
You must obtain a seller’s permit and collect 7% sales tax in Indiana if your company sells goods or tangible personal property.
You must obtain a Home Occupation Permit if you plan to display a business sign while operating a home-based business.
A sales tax permit is required for anyone conducting taxable business in Iowa from an Iowan location. A sales tax permit does not grant you the right to make tax-free purchases. Only sales tax may be collected under this permit.
There isn’t a state-level business permit in Iowa. However, you may need a license in some professions. Iowa Economic Development Authority encourages all the startups and small businesses operating in the state of Iowa.
Particularly for startups, Iowa does not require a general business license. However, you must obtain the permit if you want to expand your company’s reach to the federal level.
In Iowa, all home businesses must obtain a permit and meet the rules of the property’s residential use.
If you want to open a business in Kansas, you will need a business license. To obtain one, you must apply to your city and the Department of State. It is also a must for startups, especially in the healthcare system.
Although a state-level permit is needed in some fields, general business licenses are not required in Kansas.
Actually, you must obtain a Kansas Seller’s permit if your business satisfies the requirements for economic, affiliate, or click-through nexus and you are a resident of Kansas (Sales Tax Permit).
All home businesses in Kansas are required to obtain a permit and conform to the property’s residential use regulations.
In Kentucky, only a few types of businesses are to have a special license; there is no statewide business license that applies to all businesses. It primarily has to do with the healthcare system.
Currently, Kentucky does not require a general business license to operate a business there. However, you must obtain one if you intend to conduct business federally.
In Kentucky, almost every business that produces or sells tangible goods or property must apply for and obtain a sales tax permit.
In Kentucky, a home occupation license is required if the business provides services to customers and/or hires one or more non-residents.
There isn’t a single, state-issued license in Louisiana that all companies doing business in the state must have, however, the local authorities may require such permits as zoning, occupational, etc.
In Louisiana, it is obligatory for almost all businesses to a obtain general Louisiana Business License. It means you are to register your company and collect taxes.
All sellers who qualify as dealers in Louisiana are required to have a Sales Tax Permit and collect taxes, according to R.S. 47:301(4).
A home occupation permit is obligatory for all home-based businesses in Louisiana.
Before starting your business, you may need to obtain a general business license in some states. A general business license from the state is not required in Maine. However, some industries, like the sale and production of health and hazardous goods, may require general business licensing at the local level.
Maine residents are to hold a general business license to legally operate their business at the state level.
If you operate a store, office, storage facility, restoration facility, or any other type of business in Maine, or if you hire staff members such as salespeople, you must obtain a sales tax permit.
In Maine, a home occupation permit is required for every home-based business. You may, however, be exempt from the permit and run a small home-based business in some subdistricts if you follow all applicable rules.
Startup companies in Maryland are not always required to have a business license. At the neighborhood office, you can determine whether your company needs a permit or license.
To legally conduct business in Maryland, residents must possess a general business license.
If you operate a store, or office, hire staff or own any other kind of business in Maryland, you must have a sales tax permit.
Any occupation that offers a service or produces goods in a home-based office must have a Home Occupation Permit.
There is no general Massachusetts business license available for new businesses in the state of Massachusetts. However, operating a startup is frequently necessary for many counties. But keep in mind that you might need to register for sales and use taxes if you sell taxable goods or services.
Massachusetts requires holding a special federal business license only at the county level if the latter requires so.
Any business in Massachusetts that plans to rent, sell, or produce tangible goods, is a subject to Massachusetts Sales Tax Permit.
In Massachusetts, you need a home occupation permit to run any business out of the place where you live and plan to work.
A state-level industry-specific license, a municipal license, or a permit may be required for your business to operate in Michigan since there is no state-level general business license.
In Michigan, it is not obligatory to have a federal business license unless you run your company at the federal level.
All businesses that produce or sell goods in addition to providing services are required to have a Michigan sales tax permit.
If you want to run a business from your home in Michigan, you must obtain a home occupation permit.
The startup company operating in Minnesota does not need a state license. However, for such professional fields as contractors, tanning salons, food-related businesses, etc., you might need a license in some cities and counties.
In Minnesota, business permits are generally issued at the county or city level unless they are federally-run companies.
Within Minnesota, a sales tax permit is necessary if you have a physical presence in Minnesota or meet the requirements for economic correlation.
A Minnesota Home Occupation Permit is required to operate a business out of your main residence or another accessory property next to your home.
There isn’t a single state license that applies to all businesses in Mississippi. To account for, collect, and remit applicable sales taxes, it is necessary for all retail establishments to obtain a Sales and Use Tax permit.
You don’t have to submit an application for a general business license for your business located in Mississippi unless it operates federally.
Businesses in Mississippi that offer specific services or tangible goods must apply for a sales tax permit. It is issued by the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
You must obtain a Mississippi home occupation permit if you are in compliance with the zoning regulations and intend to operate your business from your residence.
Not all startups need a Missouri Business License unless it’s a healthcare or food-related business. It’s better to check the eligibility with your local clerk’s office.
Generally, there is no need for a general business license if you run your business in the state of Missouri.
If a company sells the tangible personal property or taxable services, it must obtain a sales tax license by registering with the Missouri Department of Revenue.
In Missouri, it is obligatory to obtain a home occupation permit if you intend to start up your business in the place you live in.
In Montana, there isn’t a typical state business license. Thus, startups are not required to obtain any kind of seller’s permit. However, at a county level, you may be required a local license.
No need to obtain a general business permit in Montana if you are conducting your business at a local level.
For now, Montana is one of the few U.S states that doesn’t have a sales tax permit requirement for any business.
It is a must to hold a home occupation permit in Montana when your startup or business is located in the same place you live in.
The state of Nebraska does not issue standard business licenses. Businesses don’t have to obtain it at the state level, but it may be required at the local level.
There is no need for a general business license for Nebraskans as the permit is only issued at the local level and for only some fields of operation.
Nebraska requires a sales tax license for nearly all businesses. You are to check the requirement with the Clerk’s office when registering your company.
If you are the owner of the house and plan to work and have your startup located there you are to hold Nebraska Home Property Permit.
The Nevada Secretary of State must issue a State Business License to every startup doing business in Nevada. It must be renewed every year.
Only businesses subject to federal regulation may be required to have a federal license in Nevada.
Every person or company in Nevada that conducts business as a seller of taxable tangible personal property is to hold a Nevada Sales Tax License.
You can obtain a Nevada Home Occupation Permit If you have a startup/business located at your house unless it is visible to the neighborhood.
In New Hampshire, there is no state-level business license. All new businesses must register, though, and submit annual business reports. For some fields, local authorities may also demand a county-level license.
There is no basic requirement for a general business license for New Hampshire residents.
A seller’s permit is not required in New Hampshire because the state does not require you to collect taxes.
You are to hold an NH Home Occupation Permit for businesses conducted from your main place of living.
Nowadays, the New Jersey government doesn’t require all types of startups to get a statewide business license. However, in some fields (such as healthcare, law, etc.) it is mandatory.
There is no special requirement for a federal business license in New Jersey unless you fall into the categories that need a special permit (healthcare, law, cosmetology, etc.).
If you have a physical office and satisfy the state’s requirements for economic nexus, you must possess an NJ Sales Tax Permit.
All the businesses run from the main place of living are to possess a valid NJ home occupation permit.
If you are establishing a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) in New Mexico, you need to get a state business license from the Secretary of State.
Generally, if your field of operation falls under the category subject to a federal license you have to hold the federal permit.
Gross Receipt Tax is obligatory for nearly all businesses in New Mexico unless they are doing a resale.
It is obligatory to have a home occupation license in NM if you run your business from your own residence.
The NY Department of State Division of Licensing Services issues state-level licensure for businesses working in certain occupations/professions.
New York Businesses operating at the federal level require holding a general business license.
Businesses selling tangible property in New York have to hold a valid Sales Tax License.
Actually, there is no need for a home occupation permit for your business at home if you meet the zoning criteria.
There isn’t a general business license available in North Carolina that will cover all startup businesses operating there. Depending on the products and services your business offers, you might require a business license.
Generally, some categories of business are subject to federal licensing. Contact your local office to precise your business type and required license.
Generally, all the businesses operating in NC, selling or producing taxable goods or services are subject to the seller’s permit.
In case you meet the zoning criteria and run your business from your place of living you are eligible for a home occupation permit.
There is no general license requirement for startup businesses in North Dakota. However, companies involved in the construction industry need to register with the North Dakota Secretary of State.
In North Dakota, there is no need to have your business license at the federal level unless it falls in a special category (healthcare, construction, etc.).
If you have a physical address and provide taxable services or sell retail goods you are to an ND and hold a seller’s permit.
If you run your business from your home and meet zoning criteria you can apply and get a home occupation permit.
To legally operate a business in Ohio, a company must register with the secretary of state. This is known as obtaining an Ohio business license.
In Ohio, you are to have a business license only at the state level.
All the retail sellers in Ohio are to hold a valid sales tax permit to conduct their business legally within the state.
Businesses that are run from home and meet zoning criteria are allowed to hold a home occupation permit and act legally.
Actually, the state doesn’t require to have a statewide permit to have a business. However, some types of startups and businesses may be required to obtain a city/county-level permit. It mostly concerns the healthcare field.
If your company based in Oklahoma provides services at the federal level, you need to hold a general business license.
Any business selling tangible property to its customers in Oklahoma has to have a valid seller’s permit.
Any business run from home must obtain an Oklahoma Home Occupational Permit and adhere to zoning regulations.
The startups in Oregon are not required to have a state-level license. You might need to apply for it in some circumstances, though, depending on the location and the nature of your business.
Unless your company operates at the federal level you don’t need a federal business license in Oregon.
Nearly all businesses in Oregon have to hold sales tax licenses and renew the permit annually.
In Oregon, you don’t need a home occupancy permit if you fall under category A and meet the zoning criteria.
Actually, the licensing requirements in Pennsylvania depend on the location and type of your business. Even though it might not be necessary to get a business license, you should register your company when you first establish it in the state.
There is no general business license for Pennsylvania companies. However, if your company provides healthcare services, or sells or produces hazardous materials there may be a requirement to get a federal business license.
All the companies and individuals selling goods or services within the state have to hold a valid seller’s permit (sales tax license).
All the businesses in Pennsylvania located at the owner’s house have to hold a valid home occupation permit.
There isn’t a general license available in Rhode Island that would cover all businesses doing business there. Instead, based on where your business is located and what it does, state, local, and federal governments issue licensing regulations.
You don’t have to hold a general business permit in the state of Rhode Island if your company is operating at the federal level.
All the retailers or those selling tangible property in Rhode Island are to hold a valid seller’s permit.
All the businesses located at the owner’s residence and meeting zoning criteria are to hold a RI Home Occupation certificate.
The businesses operating throughout the state have to provide their South Carolina Business License for 6 counties (Charleston, Beaufort, Horry, Dorchester, Jasper, Orangeburg, Richland, Marion, and Sumter). The others don’t require a permit.
Unless your business is at the federal level, you don’t have to apply for a federal business license.
Each retailer operating in the state of South Carolina has to hold a valid seller’s permit
Every business you run from your residence that meets the zoning requirements has to hold a valid SC Home Occupation permit.
In most cases, the state doesn’t require you to have a business license to operate legally within South Dakota. However, it may be essential at a county level or in the case of health-related or hazardous item-related businesses.
There is no need to hold a general business license in South Dakota unless your business operates at the federal level.
The sales tax license is the primary state-level permit or license in South Dakota. If your company maintains a physical presence in South Dakota, you must obtain a sales tax license. To obtain a seller’s permit, you have to go to the Department of Revenue.
All the businesses operating in the place you live are subject to an SD Home Occupation permit.
Startup businesses in Tennessee must have a standard business license if their annual gross revenues are at least $10,000. If it is lower, the company just has to have a minimal activity license.
You are to hold a business license for your Tennessee company only at the local level.
When your business has a physical address or the service you provide requires physical presence you are to hold a Tennessee Sales Tax permit.
If you run your business at your home or an accessory building in the house area you are to hold a valid home occupation permit.
All businesses including startups register their company and get Texas Business License. The licensure process is not difficult, however, you have to provide your company’s registered name and tax permit.
You don’t have to apply and hold a general business license for your company operating in Texas.
All businesses have to have a TX sales tax license. It is free of charge. However you have to complete some basic requirements set by the state: complete a 6-hour course, obtain a $50.000 surety bond, etc.
All the businesses including online ones conducted from your house are subject to a home occupation permit.
A Utah business license, permit, or certificate will probably be required if you operate a business there. However, it doesn’t affect startups and small businesses. State registration is sufficient.
There is no general requirement for all businesses to hold a general business license, however, for some categories, it is obligatory.
Every company with a nexus in Utah must have a sales tax permit in order to collect and pay the state’s sales tax.
Utah requires holding a valid home occupation permit for all the businesses run out of your main place of living.
In reality, Vermont doesn’t have a so-called business license. The only mandatory license in the state is a sales tax license.
In Vermont, there is no need for a federal business license for businesses operating at the local level.
In Vermont, a sales tax license is necessary for the majority of businesses. Generally, 3 to 5 days after submitting your application, you can obtain a Vermont Sales Tax License.
In most cases, if you run your startup from the place you live in and it meets the zoning requirements it is a subject to home occupation permit.
Generally, Virginia doesn’t require a state-level business license. However, county or city authorities may require it.
The fact is Virginia is one of those states that doesn’t have a general business license requirement for its companies unless they are running at the federal level.
If you buy and mean to resell the goods or provide taxable services you are to hold a valid Sales Tax License in Virginia.
You will need a home occupation permit and zoning approval if you are operating a business out of your residence in Virginia.
You will require a license, permit, or another document from the state of Washington if you operate a business there. In fact, depending on the type of work you do and the location of your company, you may need more than one of these documents.
Actually, the federal government doesn’t demand licenses or permits from the majority of small businesses. However, some activities are required to obtain a federal license.
You are to hold a sales tax permit in Washington in case you provide services or sell goods at a physical location and/or service requires your physical presence.
If you run a startup or a small business out of your main place of living you are to hold a valid home occupation permit.
For now, West Virginia residents who want to engage in any business-related activities have to obtain a West Virginia Business License. WV State Tax Department issues the permit. The startups can, however, contact their county’s local office to get support or exemption if possible.
In reality, WV residents engaged in any business activity are to hold a valid general business license.
You must have a West Virginia sales tax permit if you operate a business out of a physical location or if your services demand it.
In West Virginia, you must apply for a home occupation permit if you intend to operate your business from your residence.
The state of Wisconsin requires all residents who own or operate a business in the state to have a Wisconsin Business License. This also applies to startups.
For local businesses based in Wisconsin, you do not need to obtain a general business license in addition to having your business licensed at the state level.
All the companies that sell or produce taxable goods or property have to hold a valid Wisconsin Sales Tax Permit.
There is no need for a home occupation permit in Wisconsin, however, you are to meet your county’s Zoning Ordinances.
In reality, Wyoming is one of the few states in the United States that does not require residents to obtain a Wyoming Business License for most types of startups.
In reality, there is no need for companies operating in Wyoming to possess a general business license.
Any seller falling under the category of “vendor” in Wyoming has to apply for a seller’s permit which is the same as a sales tax license.
In reality, the Wyoming businesses operated out of the owner’s residence are subject to the necessary licensing.