Business License Wizard FAQs

Who issues business licenses, permits and tax registrations?

These documents are typically issued at all levels of government—federal, state and local (as in city, county or town). Depending on your industry, location, and how your company transacts business, you may need to obtain licenses from several of these levels.

For example, if you decide to open a bar and restaurant in Atlanta, you need all necessary licenses and permits from the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the US government. So you will most likely need a federal Employer ID Number (EIN) from the IRS, a license to sell alcoholic beverages from the state of Georgia, a State Tax ID Number to collect sales tax and withhold payroll taxes, a health permit from the city of Atlanta to prepare and sell food, as well as a basic business license to operate the restaurant within the city. These are just some of the possible licensing requirements you may incur. There are over 19,000 separate licensing jurisdictions in the US and each has its own particular set of requirements. Be sure to review the requirements that are relevant to your business.

Back to Top

What types of licenses, permits and tax registrations does a business commonly need?

Any number of licenses, permits and tax registrations may be imposed on a business. The most common ones include:

  • Basic business operation license. This license is issued by the city in which your business operates. Or, if you operate outside the city's legal boundaries, it’s issued by the local county.
  • Federal Employer ID (EIN) number. Also called a tax identification number, the EIN is required for almost all types of businesses so that the IRS can individually identify each one. BizFilings can help you attain an EIN as part of our Complete incorporation package. It can also be purchased as a standalone service or added to our Standard and Basic incorporation packages. View our Federal Tax ID (EIN) Obtainment Service page to learn more.
  • State tax ID number. Also called a tax registration number, your state tax ID number is issued by your state’s department of revenue or taxation. BizFilings can also assist with the preparation of this form in states that require it. Our incorporation order form will include this option if it’s available in your desired state.
  • DBA/fictitious business name registration. The “Doing Business As” (DBA) or fictitious business name registration is necessary within the appropriate state and local jurisdictions. BizFilings prepares and files DBA registrations for businesses in all 50 states.
  • Home occupation permit. Your local government may require this permit if your business is home-based.
  • Zoning and land use permits. Local government zoning laws may prohibit certain business activity in designated areas.
  • Building permit. If you plan on remodeling or building a commercial space, you'll need a building permit.
  • Health department permit. Required primarily if your business involves the preparation and/or sale of food.
  • Sales tax license/sellers permit/resellers permit. This license/permit goes by many names, and they vary by state, but it’s required for the selling of almost all products and services.
  • Fire and police department permits. Required especially for businesses that will attract large numbers of customers (e.g. nightclubs and bars).
  • Alarm permits. Required for businesses with an alarm that’s connected to a monitoring service.
  • Special state-issued business licenses or permits. Required if your business involves the sale of liquor, lottery tickets, gasoline or firearms.
  • Special state-issued occupational licenses. Required if you will be offering a number of state-regulated services, including medical care, auto repair, real estate sales, tax services, insurance sales, cosmetology, and legal representation (attorneys). Please note this is in addition to the professional license required for the individuals practicing in these fields.
Back to Top

What are the consequences of failing to obtain the necessary licenses, permits and tax registrations?

Failure to acquire proper licensing could jeopardize your business, resulting in expensive penalties or leaving you without legal protection. Due to the continuous rise in traditional taxes, governments are always looking for alternative revenue streams, which prompts increased vigilance for business license evaders. Many governments resort to hiring third-party collectors. Other consequences include:

  • You may not be able to open your new location
  • You may not be able to add a new item, service or structure
  • Your location may be padlocked
  • You may be hit with costly penalties and interest, or even personal liens
Back to Top

Which licenses, permits and tax registrations do I need?

Requirements vary by industry in addition to how and where business is transacted. The Business License Wizard provides everything you need to attain proper licensing:

  • A complete overview of the licenses, permits and tax registrations that may be required for your business in a single city, county and state
  • The appropriate licensing authority’s contact information, including name, address, telephone number, etc.
  • The actual license, permit and tax registration applications and associated documents
  • Filing instructions on how and where to return your completed applications
Back to Top

What are “highly-regulated” industries?

Certain industries are highly regulated by government agencies. As a result, they’re often subjected to more requirements. In many cases, we recommend our Business License Application Package for businesses within these industries, which include:

  • Agriculture: pesticides & fertilizers
  • Animal related
  • Aviation
  • Collection/debt management
  • Cosmetics/vitamins
  • Daycare
  • Educational services
  • Explosives and firearms
  • Financial services
  • Gaming
  • Hazardous materials
  • Healthcare
  • Mining
  • Oil/gas
  • Social services

If we determine that additional charges are required, one of our specialists will contact you prior to proceeding with your order.

Back to Top

Will the Business License Wizard file and obtain the necessary licenses, permits and tax registrations on behalf of my business?

No. The Business License Wizard does, however, provide you with all the necessary documents and applications so that you may properly submit them to the correct federal, state, and local jurisdictions.

Back to Top

How long does it take for the Business License Wizard to complete the research and provide the necessary applications for obtaining the appropriate licenses?

We begin the research process immediately upon receipt of payment. You can view your report instantly as soon as you complete the remainder of the questions, and it usually takes just a few minutes to receive the confirmation email that contains the link back to your report.

Back to Top

What information is included in the business license applications?

The Business License Wizard includes the application forms, renewal schedules, cost breakdown, agency contact information and end-to-end instructions that are applicable to your business. The licensing information provided in your licensing results are based on the jurisdiction the business is located in and the business category selected.

Back to Top

The business category I selected is similar to the business category I am conducting but not exact, is the Business License Wizard still applicable to me?

Since most non-regulated activities (consulting, retail/wholesale etc.) require similar licenses, if you selected a business category similar to the category your business will be conducting, then the Business License Wizard is still applicable to your business. However, if you are operating a business that may be regulated and require industry-specific licenses (Food, Alcohol, Construction, etc.) AND you believe that the category you selected is NOT comparable to your actual business category, please contact our Specialists for further assistance.

Back to Top

How do I know that the forms and documents provided by the Business License Wizard are up to date?

We use proprietary technology and routinely schedule quality assurance audits with our team to ensure that the forms and documents listed in our Business License services are up-to-date and accurate.

Back to Top

What should I do if I have a question about a particular license or form?

Many of the licenses and forms provided by the Business License Wizard have supplementary documents and webpages included to help answer any of the questions you may have including:

  • Understanding the licensing requirements
  • Determining the licensing costs
  • How to fill out the applications
  • Many other questions you may have

For any additional questions not covered by the supplementary documents, we recommend that you contact the licensing authorities directly. They would be able to assess your particular situation and answer them directly. Each license provided by the Business License Wizard includes the full contact information for each licensing authority including phone numbers, fax numbers, etc.

Back to Top

Need Help?

800-981-7183

Chef Randall video

Tools to Help You Choose

We have resources to help you understand your options.

Guide to Incorporation

Learn what to expect when you're incorporating.

Guide to Incorporating - Download Free PDF