Business License

Filing a business license application

Business License

With very few exceptions, operating a business, no matter what size and no matter what the industry, requires proper licensure. Your company can be fined or even shut down if you operate without a proper business license, so it's very important that you ensure your enterprise has all the federal, state/provincial and municipal permits that are required by law.

The fees levied for submitting a business license application are generally minimal. What's far more important is that you know all the different business licenses and permits you need to apply for and make sure you fill out the applications correctly. Some entrepreneurs find the help of experienced business lawyers to be well worth the investment, considering what can happen if errors or oversights are made during the business license application process.

Applying for a Business License

Municipal business licensure requirements vary, so be sure to check with City Hall to see what you need to appease the local authorities. Generally, though, local small business licenses demand that you have, at minimum, a zoning permit. If you're running a business from your home, you may need additional permits and small business licenses, especially if you need to make alterations or additions to the building to accommodate your operations.

There are many different licenses that apply at the state and provincial level. Some of them are required for certain professions (such as accountants, lawyers, contractors, appraisers, real estate agents and so on). You may also need state or provincial licenses to sell certain products, such as hunting or fishing licenses, lottery tickets, tobacco products, alcohol, fuel or firearms. Certain business activities also require state or provincial permits, particularly those which may have an environmental impact.

Federal business licenses are generally required only for companies that manufacture or sell items that are closely regulated by the government. Examples include meat, alcohol, firearms, tobacco, pharmaceutical drugs, investment advice, television and radio broadcasting, and freight.

In many cases, you can use the Internet to submit online business license applications, which can expedite the approval process and get your company up and running faster. The key is to ensure that you have any and all permits you need in hand before opening the doors of your new business.

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