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If you are about to launch a start-up, you have no doubt asked yourself, “Do I need a business license?”
No matter what type of business you own—whether it’s in a physical storefront or based online—and regardless if it’s a small or large company, you are going to need to obtain and maintain a business license (possibly more than one).
Business licenses can be complicated, so we have put together this article to address the often-confusing topic of business licenses.
Our partnership with LicenseLogix makes it easy for new and existing businesses to obtain all the licenses and permits your business may need. Their Client License Information Center, or CLiC, makes it easy for you to manage the business license renewal process, thus avoiding late charges and fines.
Keep in mind that it is not just new businesses that have to think about business licenses. Existing businesses must be mindful as well. Many situations could cause your company to fall out of compliance. The following are circumstances in which the requirements of your existing business license could change, and your company could need to update its business license:
Business license compliance is an important aspect of owning a company, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or tedious. However, some governmental agencies are easier to deal with and more efficient than others.
*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.
There are 11 comments left for Do I Need a Business License for My Company?Angel Espinoza said: Thursday, March 26, 2020
Hello, Good evening I would like to know if you can help me get information if I may need a license or a permit to operate as a Language Service Provider company, like an Interpretation and translation company for Example, Language Line Solutions, Cyracom, LSA and such and to be able to offer my services to clinics, Hospitals, schools, and government departments like Human Resources, 911, etc. Thank you.HBS Staff replied: Monday, March 30, 2020
We don't have information regarding specific types of businesses and what permits or licenses they require. You can contact out partner, www.licenselogix.com, and they may be able to assist. You can also try contacting your state's offices or a legal professional for assistance.Aran said: Sunday, January 5, 2020
I incorporated a single member LLC in Delaware. I have a foreign LLC in Georgia where my business is physically located. I have a business license from the local county in Georgia. Would i need to get a business license in Delaware as well?HBS Staff replied: Monday, January 6, 2020
Typically, you only need a state business license in the state(s) in which you are doing business. We can't advise on specific situations, but you can check with the Delaware Division of Corporations directly or consult our partner LicenseLogix (https://www.licenselogix.com/lp/harvard-business-services-and-licenselogix?referredbyaccountid=108978) for assistance.annita kaur said: Sunday, May 26, 2019
I am registering my Delaware company in New York. New York is where I will be operating my business. Do I need two licenses - Business & Esthetics/Cosmetology? Does every state require a business license? Does NY require a business license? and How do I determine which is the correct License - Cosmetology or Esthetics?HBS Staff replied: Thursday, May 30, 2019
While we can certianly help Foreign Qualify the Delaware company to do business in New York, we’re unable to assist with obtaining a business license as this is separate from a Foreign Qualification. Typically, the business license is registered in the jurisdiction where the company is physically operating often times at the county level. While we’re not able to assist with specific licensing, some of our clients have had success working with LicenseLogix for those services. Feel free to visit the website here: https://www.licenselogix.com/lp/harvard-business-services-and-licenselogix?referredbyaccountid=108978.
If your business will have a physical presence by operating, hiring employees, banking or even holding an asset in a State other than the State of Incorporation, clients will often qualify the business to operate in that State. The foreign qualification process enables a company to transact business in a jurisdiction other than where it was formed. Since each State has its own requirements, let HBS take care of this detail for you. For more information on the foreign qualification process https://www.delawareinc.com/blog/what-is-foreign-qualification/.Carl said: Thursday, January 31, 2019
Hi, if we are based outside the US and using a Delaware LLC for selling consulting services outside of Delaware do we need a business license?HBS Staff replied: Friday, February 1, 2019
Carl - Generally, our clients based outside the U.S. are not required to obtain a business license to conduct business outside U.S.Steven Morgan said: Monday, July 16, 2018
I want to establish an internet-based business in which I sell a service. Do I need a business license and, if so, how do I obtain one? I am based in California.HBS Staff replied: Tuesday, July 17, 2018
For business licenses and specific states' rules, it is best to contact the specific state in which you want to do business, in this case California. We suggest you contact the Small Business Administration office in California.